Archive for the 'Fruit Ale' category
Here’s another new (to me) beer from the folks at Short’s. Again, I haven’t had *too* many beers from this brewery – each time has been in a pub while passing through Michigan. However, I also can’t claim to have ever tasted a bad Short’s beer. Like many Michigan breweries, they seem to float under the national radar while putting out fantastic beers. I hope this one lives up to my expectations!
The Soft Parade pours a lovely deep rose color – hazy with just a hint of brown in an otherwise pinkish glass of beer. The head on this is more-or-less white, though some caramel tints also present themselves. In the nose, this beer is fruity and acidic with hints of berries galore – it smells super refreshing. The flavor confirms this suspicion. Rather than being syrupy sweet, this beer leans more towards a tart acidity no doubt lent by the combination of blue, straw, rasp, and black berries that went into it. The initial sensation is a light burn on the tongue, followed by some sourness that makes you pucker up a bit. Shortly thereafter, however, the berry sweetness begins to shine through subtly, balancing the flavor of the beer. That sweetness sits on the tongue long into the aftertaste, while the acidic sourness blazes down the tongue and throat, diminishing quite fast after the beer is gone. This beer is just aching for a summer day (not the ‘severe snow conditions’ we’re currently experiencing here) – I’d place it right up there with a good saison ale on the refreshment level. In fact, this reminds me a lot of a homebrew that Matty and I did last summer – a witbier brewed with raspberries. To be honest, it didn’t come out as sweet or delectable as we’d hoped, but the sourness and subtle fruit made it a big hit on a warm day – I feel like the Soft Parade accomplishes much the same.
Did I mention both the label art and the name are swell? I’ll let you figure out the title reference…
I first saw this beer about 15 minutes ago at the Blue Light in Durham, and it was(is) on sale for $4.99/6-pack. Now, normally, I might shy away from a beer on that sort of blowout sale unless I was certain I liked it. However, this is practically half price for a Smuttynose beer, and every other beer of theirs I’ve tried has been great. So, despite the Japanese cherry blossom theme and the risky ‘beer brewed with malt and cherries’ description, I’m going to give it a go.
This beer sure pours like a cherry beer. It is a mix of dull brown and bright pinkish-red with plenty of dense debris. The head on this is fluffy and slightly off-white, puffing up rocky and course, before settling into a nice cake on the surface of the beer. The aroma here is mostly malt – sweet and biscuity – with just a little bit of noticeable fruit aroma. In the mouth, this is super interesting. Initially, it offers a big sour cherry blast with just the lightest fruit sweetness. Shortly, however, the malt begins to mediate the sourness, giving this some richer biscuity flavors. Look out, though – the cherry doesn’t like to be messed with – ’cause on the back of the tongue another blast of sour cherry unexpectedly hits, forcing me to practically pucker up. This sourness diminishes somewhat, leaving me with a light sweetness on the aftertaste, and a mouth coated with rich malt flavors. Very, very strange, but not bad at all. This toes the line of being a Flemish sour ale style, but the richness of the malt backs it off. I can certainly see why this stuff wouldn’t be flying off the shelves, but only because it is so abrupt and unique in its flavors. However, I’m very glad to have picked this up because, frankly, I like it a lot. I find it to be interesting, thirst quenching, and a great experiment with rich malt and sour cherry flavors. I’m liable to hit the Blue Light for a case of this stuff the next time I’m in the area, so you’d better go get yours now…
I wanted to review Atlantic Brewing Company’s Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale and Bar Harbor Brewing’s Peach Ale for this post. Unfortunately I took my time getting to the beers, and I have suffered the consequence for such “dilly-dally”. Though the beers have been sitting in my beer fridge the whole entire time, my beer samples seem to have passed their prime.
First up was going to be Atlantic Brewing Company’s Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale, which fortunately has already been reviewed by Ben. I believe his review does the beer more justice. Compared to Ben’s review of a “deep golden” body, my beer’s body was a hazy dark amber. Though the smell of blueberry was still present, it was followed by a spice aroma. This spice aroma, which resembled allspice to me, was also present in the taste of the beer and was noted as “spice: I didn’t like”. I do not remember this spice presence in the beer before (I had a six-pack but did not take notes from the rest of the pack), and Ben does not mention it either, so it leads me to believe the beer has past its prime. Ironically enough the beer’s label has a “Best Enjoyed Before:” section, but it seems to have gone unused by the brewery.
The Bar Harbor Brewing Peach Ale was going to be my next fruit beer review. Unfortunately this beer seems to have suffered a similar fate as the above Blueberry Ale. This beer too was a hazy, dark amber that possessed a head that quickly dissipated. Though a faint aroma of peach was present, it was followed by ash, and smoke. The beer review just went downhill from there. I only had one bottle of this beer, and having never had it before, there is the possibility the brewer meant for their Peach Ale to be smoky. However, I am leaning more to the conclusion of a beer past its due.
If there is one thing to learn from this post, it is: Do not try to age (purposely or not) these beers.