Wylie’s Good Neighbor Brews Is The Latest Brewery On The North Texas Scene. But, Like The Jingle Goes, Its Slim Sweetness Blonde Ale Is Just Kinda… There.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Good Neighbor Brews’ Slim Sweetness.

Fast Facts on Good Neighbor Brews’ Slim Sweetness.
Style: Blonde Ale.
ABV: 5.5 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): Not available.
Color: Deepest gold.
Availability: Draft.

Good Neighbor Brews popped up on the the DFW beer scene pretty suddenly, huh? I am very much generalizing here; I am no brewery owner nor employee, but I do understand and empathize with the immense amount of permits, finagling, construction, pain, soul-selling and back-alley handjobs it takes to open up a new brewing operation in DFW. But, still, this crew definitely feels like it came up out of nowhere. Well, not nowhere: Good Neighbor Brews hails from the fine town of Wylie, and it’s great to see another suburban operation pop up. I hope to visit this place soon! For now, though, I’ll just settle for a taste of what they’re brewing.

Background on Blonde Ale.
The Blonde Ale style is supposed to be an everyday driver sort of style. Its low to moderate malt aroma is inviting, the hops are generally subtle and dialed down. Some citrus, spice or floral notes are also common in the aroma. Its color ranges from light yellow to deep gold, and the beer should show good head retention. A blonde ale should show some soft sweetness, with an optional malty note in the flavor department. Overall, the sensory experience should be balanced. Of beer styles, the blonde ale style is what people reach for as a gateway beer to the craft side of the industry; it’s somewhat comparable to the ale version of a standard American lager.

Slim Sweetness pours deep gold into the glass. A thin layer of foam is present just after presentation, but it fades too soon for me to get photos of it. Dang! But the clarity on this beer is excellent after it warms a touch, and I do expect to see a clear to brilliant level of clarity on a blonde ale.

The amount of malt on this beer is intense! In its own literature, Good Neighbor states that this beer shows aromas of grapefruit and citrus. I get a tiny amount of citrus peel, which is nice. But make no mistake: The malt dominates the aroma profile on this beer.

This is an uber-malty blonde ale. I don’t dislike the malt base on this beer, though. I just wish the hop aroma was turned up a little bit more in order to balance the malt situation. Or perhaps less intensity on the toasty malt situation would bring this beer back in balance? There’s something in the flavor profile that just doesn’t quite work for me. It’s a metallic sort of sensation, like sucking on a couple of house keys. There’s also a hint of something grapefruit-ish, like the peel part, that kicks in at the end of the swallow, and I definitely like this feature of the beer.

The mouthfeel is decent on Slim Sweetness, and its medium body is held up by the malty backbone of this beer. I get an initial bite of carbonation on this beer, but it seems a touch low for the style. There is a small amount of residual sweetness after the sip. All in all, the beer drinks a touch thin. But hey, it’s a 5.5 percent ABV beer, right? Well, yes. It is. But there’s something missing on the finish for me.

Overall Impression.
I think Good Neighbor Brews has the capacity to brew outstanding beer. But Slim Sweetness sort of misses the mark. There’s just something that doesn’t quite jive with me. Is it the malt and chinook combination? I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s like how some people taste cilantro and get a weird taste in their mouth that other people don’t get, and then those other people wonder what’s up with those weirdos. This beer is my cilantro! (For the record, and metaphor aside, I am a cilantro junkie.) The malt backbone on this beer is nice, but it’s a bit over the top for what I think of when I think of a blonde ale. The overall balance is missing from Slim Sweetness. Maybe something’s up with Wylie water? While trying this beer at Craft & Growler, I also tried the brewery’s Nickelville IPA, and it had that same sort of metallic-ish bite and super-intense malt that I sensed on the blonde ale. That’s kinds nuts! Regardless, I believe that Good Neighbor Brews will get things dialed in here pretty soon, and I look forward to seeing what their brewery blossoms into.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’ll give Good Neighbor Brews Slim Sweetness a 3.

What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Friday, March 31-April 2: Big Texas Beer Fest at Fair Park.
• Saturday, April 8. Second Anniversary Party at Bitter Sisters Brewery.
• Saturday, April 15. Eastside Tour on the Dallas Brew Bus.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Collective Brewing Project’s Boysenbarrel: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
• Collective Brewing Project’s SMaSHY: 9.2
• On Rotation’s Lingonberry Sahti: 9.25.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Small Brewpub’s Black Pepper Pils: 8.5.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Prime Minister: 8.25.
Community’s Texas Helles: 8.
On Rotation’s Moar Blackberry: 8.
Lakewood’s Thread Spinner: 8.
Texas Ale Project 50 Ft. Jackrabbit: 8.
Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
TUPPS Full Grown Man: 7.75.
3 Nations American Wit: 7.75.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Dapper Apple: 7.75.
Chimera Dirty Dog: 7.5.
Legal Draft’s Accused Amber Lager: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Reserve Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse: 7.5.
Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Cedar Creek Brewery Clover Kicker: 7.25.
Noble Rey Sex In A Canoe: 7.25.
Oak Highlands Brewery’s Oktoberfest.: 7.25.
3 Nations Mango SMASH IPA: 7.
Legal Draft Chief Justice Stout: 7.
Manhattan Project’s Plutonium-239: 7.
Backcountry’s Texas IPA: 7.
Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Queen of the Mist (Prickly Pear): 6.75.
Three Nations Texas Xmas Hazelnut Ale: 6.5.
Martin House’s The Juice: 6.5.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Four Corners’ Celebración: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Wild Acre’s Tarantula Hawk: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s Troll Toll: 5.5.
Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Woodcreek’s Lakeside Cerveza: 5.
Martin House Cuvee Pumpkin Latte: 5.
Intrinsic’s Crunktoberfest: 5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
TUPPS’ Day Off: 4.75.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Audacity’s Checkered Past: 4.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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