The SWMBO and I went out with some friends to Belmont Brewing Company last night for their "late night happy hour". $3.50/pint and $10.50/pitcher of their house brews.
SWMBO and I arrived a bit early and grabbed a couple pints to get ready. I had a Racer 5 (excellent) and she got the house Strawberry Blonde. Now, this is a beer we've had before. BBC bottles and sells this beer locally to restaurants and bars, and it's available at BevMo, etc. It's an OK brew.
However, last night's strawberry blonde on tap was just awful. The first clue that something was wrong was that it looked like a glass of apple juice when the server set it down on the table, especially with it sitting next to my Racer 5. There was no head whatsoever, and very little carbonation. You'd never think it was a pint of beer by looking at it. Second tip-off was the strong buttery aroma, laced with strawberry. The flavor and mouthfeel followed along with the aroma. To me, it was like drinking a stick of butter. I've never heard of a beer having this much diacetyl. I judged a few beers in competition that I *thought* had really strong diacetyl, but those were just a warm-up for this beer. SWMBO insisted that she liked it, or I would have made them take it back and bring something else.
Friends show up, and we ended up getting pitchers of their pale ale, amber, and Long Beach Crude (which I think is an oatmeal stout, but I see BearAdvocate have listed as a Baltic Porter) as well. The pale ale and amber had fairly strong diacetyl flavors as well, although not nearly like the strawberry blonde did, and otherwise were decent beers. Definitely drinkable.
The Long Beach Crude was by far my favorite of the beers we had last night. Nice roasted coffee flavors with hints of chocolate, and a creaminess to it. A really tasty, well-balanced brew. There may have been diacetyl in there, but it would be difficult to detect with everything else going on in the flavor department.
So, if you're going to BBC, I recommend that you avoid the Strawberry Blonde at any cost, and instead enjoy a wonderful Long Beach Crude.