Posts tagged ‘fruit beer’

Leinenkugel’s: Lemon Berry Shandy

By popular request (meaning my dad asked me to) I present to you my review of Leinenkugel’s newest (and year-round!) shandy: Lemon Berry Shandy. As my regular readers know I am a HUGE fan of Summer Shandy. The beginning of Shandy Season is the highlight of my May. Or as was the case earlier this year, the highlight of my February 29th. Despite my love of that lemonade beer from Chippewa Falls, I hadn’t yet picked up some of this new brew. Possibly because I had only been able to find it in 12 packs and I’m just not that interested in 12 beers I may or may not like. But I found a six pack two weeks ago, and now I’ve finally gotten some time to drink one!

Style: Fruit/Vegetable Beer. This is really an unfortunate category because it lumps Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (not that great) with New Glarus Raspberry Tart (amazing.) And it includes everything in between. Basically, these beers taste like the fruit or veggie added to them and there isn’t much else in terms of malt or hops to speak of.

Overall Impression: Do you like lemon? Do you like berries? Do you like them even more together? This is like the Powerthirst (warning-video link) of berry lemonade. Honestly, I didn’t like it as much as Summer Shandy but it wasn’t bad. Definitely more of a summer beer than a fall. Also, it tasted like a Honey Bear (Berry Weiss + Summer Shandy) and while this, being in one bottle instead of two, is certainly cheaper, I wanted something new and a little more different.

Appearance: Ooo! It’s pink! Okay, well, it’s pink-amber but hey, close enough. Head dissipates very quickly. Cloudy–basically looks like you put Berry Weiss and Summer Shandy together. I think Leinie’s might be trying to capitalize on the Honey Bear phenomenon.

Aroma: Kinda smells like lemon cleaner–same as Summer Shandy. It’s VERY lemony. And then you are hit with BERRY! (See what I mean about this being like Powerthirst? Read my all caps type in the voiceover style.) It also kind of smells like an Astro Pop shot (Smirnoff Ice + grenadine, drop in a shot of UV blue–awesome.)

Taste: Berry! And lemon! And….not much else.

Mouthfeel: Light, lots of carbonation. It pretty much feels like it should.

Try this if you like: Summer Shandy (I mean, they’re basically the same), Leinie’s Berry Weiss, Naked Dove Berry Naked (hands-down the best fruit beer I’ve ever had), New Glarus Raspberry Tart (not quite a beer…but SO GOOD)

3 stars

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New Glarus: Raspberry Tart

If I had to drink only one brewery’s beers for the rest of my life, hands down I would pick New Glarus. I’ve probably said this before, actually. Well it still holds true with this Raspberry Tart. This beer was a Christmas gift from my brother and sister-in-law and it’s just been ageing in our pantry ever since. (By the way, I cannot decide which spelling of “ageing” I like better…or is it “aging”? Gah!)

This Raspberry Tart may just be The Fruit Beer. It’s that good.

apologies for the poor quality

Google a better image of this beer. You’ll be able to see just how beautifully red it is. It’s like shining like through a ruby. Also, this is meant to be served in a champagne flute but apparently I don’t have any of those….

Style: New Glarus claims this is a framboise, which basically means a Belgian lambic beer that’s brewed with raspberries. BeerAdvocate gives it the highly generic term “Fruit/Vegetable Beer.” I’ll go with New Glarus because it sounds fancier. Basically, in these beers the fruitiness dominates over the malt and hops. The boyfriend wasn’t even sure it was beer. But believe me, it is.

Overall Impression: RASPBERRIES!!! You know that meme “Clean ALL the things!!!”? Well this is “use ALL the raspberries!!!” But it’s good. It is damn good. I really, really hope you like raspberries though. If you do not enjoy fruity alcoholic drinks, stay away and leave some for the rest of us.

Appearance: Ruby-red and clear. You can see the carbonation. It resembles a sparkling wine, actually.

Aroma: RASPBERRIES!!

Taste: RASPBERRIES!! There is a slight hint of bitterness in the aftertaste (barely.)

Mouthfeel: Like sparkling wine. Goes down smooth though if you can handle all the fruit. I probably could have drank the entire bottle myself.

Try this if you like: Naked Dove’s Berry Naked, Wisconsin Belgian Red, Blackbeary Wheat, just about any true fruit beer. Shandies do not count.

5 Stars

Long Trail Brewing Company: Blackbeary Wheat

And I’m back! Got internet on Friday, took off to Wisconsin for a friend’s wedding for the weekend, and now writing a beer review!

Today’s selection is from Vermont’s Long Trail Brewing Company. Blackbeary (yes, that’s spelled correctly) Wheat is an American wheat beer with a hint of blackberry flavor.

As you can see, it’s pale gold in color, and is basically clear. It has a mild blackberry aroma, and a slightly stronger blackberry taste. It’s not very bitter at all–mostly tastes like you squeezed blackberry juice into a typical American wheat beer.

Blackbeary Wheat, because it is light and not bitter, is a great thirst-quenching session beer. It went quite well with the baked salmon I was eating along with it, but I wouldn’t eat it with anything that had a very strong flavor. I bet it’s good with tilapia.

While this was a decent beer, it wasn’t particularly interesting or memorable, so it only gets a 3-pint rating.

Try this if you like: American wheat beers, Ithaca’s Apricot Wheat, or Southern Tier’s Raspberry Wheat.

Magic Hat: Wacko

My last “build-your-own-sixpack” adventure to Wegman’s ended with a good selection of summer seasonals, and here’s the first.

“Wacko”, by Magic Hat Brewing Company, is a very interesting beer. For starters, check out this beautiful red color!

Okay, so it looks a little less red here, but let me tell you, when I poured it, I was not expecting it to be the reddish gold hue that I got. The second interesting thing about Wacko is the taste. It is a fruit-hop duet almost in perfect balance. But I could not identify the fruit. Examination of the bottle revealed beet juice as an ingredient, so maybe that’s where the fruit taste came from.

Wacko finishes clean, with a crisp taste, and virtually no aftertaste. It was definitely a refreshing thirst-quencher, and isn’t that all you really want out of a summer beer?

Try this if you like: fruity summer beers, i.e. Ithaca’s Apricot Wheat, Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss, Naked Dove’s Berry Naked, or Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche

4 stars

Naked Dove Brewing Company: Berry Naked

Imagine my surprise to discover this excellent beer was from a tiny town not far from Syracuse: Canandaigua–where one of my coworkers just happens to be from. Naked Dove is a tiny, fairly new brewery (less than a year old!) And tonight’s selection is only their fourth beer.

Well, congratulations, Naked Dove, Berry Naked is awesome!

Ignore the Saranac glass. I was at a bar, what do you want?

Berry Naked is a black raspberry ale with a gorgeous reddish-purple color. It had a strong aroma of raspberries and a slightly less strong flavor of raspberries. The black raspberry flavor was a great choice–I’ve had raspberry beers before that just didn’t quite cut it (Southern Tier’s comes to mind.) This ale was a nice balance of fruit flavor and bitterness–smooth, crisp, and very tasty.

This ale is a tasty example of what fruit beer can be if done correctly.

Try this if you like: Great Divide’s Wild Raspberry Ale, Dark Horse’s Raspberry Ale

5 Stars

 

Southern Tier: Raspberry Wheat Beer

I don’t normally go for fruit beers. Most of them are not done very well: you get all the fruit flavor and none of the beer flavor. Sometimes, however, you get one that combines the fruit and beer flavors nicely. Today’s selection is a good example of the latter. Southern Tier is another New York microbrewery found in the city of Lakewood in the southwestern corner of the state.  This is my first taste of any of their beers.

The first thing I noticed about this beer was the scent. Holy raspberries, Batman. But I looooove me some raspberries (best fruit ever-hands down) so I was quite excited. Upon first taste I got raspberries + hops + wheat. Raspberries and hops is an interesting combination of flavors. I’m still not sure how much I like it. I did take a while to finish it though–maybe that’s my answer.

The beer itself is very effervescent–feels tingly on the tongue. I probably wouldn’t buy this again, but it wasn’t half bad. (I gotta tell you though–I haven’t had a better fruit beer than Ithaca’s Apricot Wheat. Hopefully a review of that comes soon.)

Try this if you like: Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss, Sam Adam’s Cherry Wheat, Sam Adam’s Blackberry Witbier, Ithaca’s Apricot Wheat