Tag Archive: Fruit


brewdog-omipollo-flat-pack-fruit-bat

Brewdog: Omipollo: Flat Pack Fruit Bat (Scotland: Fruit IPA: 6% ABV)

Visual: Cherry-aid red. Moderate carbonation. Large reddened froth head.

Nose: Musty hops and bitterness. Tart raspberry. Greenery hint. Slightly bready. Vanilla milkshakes.

Body: Tart raspberry. Gripping hops. Raspberry yogurt. Vanilla milkshake. Thick mouthfeel. Some bitterness.

Finish: Brown bread. Fresh raspberry. Good hop character. Vanilla and vanilla yogurt. Quite heavy bitterness. Charring touch. Resin. Slight earthy hops and greenery.

Conclusion: Recently in a set of notes I talked about the joy in a deep, complex ale versus the fun of a simple beer done well. This is most definitely in that second category.

This is very much fruit orientated – fresh in the raspberry – and with a good gripping mouthfeel which I’m guessing comes from the lactose that was used in brewing it. Definitely uses that thick mouthfeel to push the smoothie angle well – very fruity to match that. It is a much creamier texture than you would expect from an IPA because of that. Still mouth freshening from the light tartness of the raspberry – but tends towards the sweeter side of the fruit usage.

The IPA, hop side, of things is more shown in the bitterness and feel than in any fancy hop flavours. It feels kind of musty, slightly sticking hops, resinous and slightly charred in the finish. From the aroma through to the back end it is just (“Just” he says) a solid hop character – nothing too bitter, but with a kind of bready character and influenced mouthfeel backing the smoother front and raspberries. The finish is where it finally starts to really kick with high bitterness now mixing with those charred notes and a touch of greenery.

So, despite the flavour, mouthfeel and freshness wise being very much about the tart smoothie concept, it still manages a resinous, very bitter (in the finish) IPA like character to back it up.

So, not complex, but delivers on what it promises and what it sets out to do. A great balance of fruit and beer. You definitely feel both and in good quantities. A good general drinking beer with a big character and lots of quality.

Background: As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer – I am also quite a fan of Omnipollo, despite not trying much of theirs while I was in Sweden. This, bought directly from the Brewdog shop, is an attempt an an IPA raspberry smoothie. Whatever that would be. Apart from this it seems. It is made with wheat, oat, milk lactose, vanilla and raspberries and single hopped with mosaic. This was drunk while listening to some Zodiac Zoo – a band I got into due to one of their weird sounding tracks on the original guitar hero which sounded like a guitar hymn to Azathoth– the rest of their work didn’t quite live up to that, but it still strangely discordant rock.

de-molen-framboos-and-framblij

De Molen: Framboos and Framblij (Netherlands: Fruit Beer: 6.6% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown. Massive browned white loose bubbled head.

Nose: Cinnamon spiced raspberries. Strawberries. Raspberry Liqueur filled dark chocolate. Fresh and sweet. Light coriander.

Body: Earthy hop character. Peppery. Quite bitter. Very frothy feel and slightly wheaty. Raspberry yogurt. Malt chocolate. Vanilla.

Finish: Earthy notes. Wheaty and popcorn feel. Malt drinks. Hoppy bitterness. Pepper. Greenery.

Conclusion: Well, this is lively -the head keeps frothing on pour to a massive mound. No matter how gentle I tried to be, it always filled the glass. Maybe I should have used a glass with a bit more room, like the Tripel Karmeliet one.

I was expecting something more out of both the base ale and the raspberry infusion I have to admit – This feels like an solid, earthy, British style bitter that has then been subtly influenced by the raspberries to create a sweeter backing for that bitter style ale. It has a bit higher hop character and bitterness than that description would call to mind -but hopefully you should get the gist.

The raspberry is far more evident in the aroma – which leads you to expect a fruitier beer than the one you finally get. While the earthy, slightly greenery tinged hop character is much more what you actually get, laid over a malt chocolate drink bitter chocolate base. It actually feels like a hand pumped real ale in some ways – with that slightly bitty sediment touched texture – really grounded which the raspberry doesn’t challenge, but does enhance by the way of contrast.

So, you get a much more bitter led beer than expected – fairly simple in the flavours delivered but solidly done. Without the raspberry this would be a fairly middle of the road bitter. With the raspberry, well it give it a bit of sweetness and subtle tartness that it really needs to give it some depth.

An ok ale, considering who comparatively rare it is I wouldn’t say it is worth taking your time to dig it out – it is very similar to a group of raspberry dark ales that I have run into on a real ale tap around town over the years and it doesn’t really add much above that. If you run into it that this is fair enough, but hardly stand out, or probably even the best of what you would find in the style.

Background: Apparently this is a fairly rare one, originally for Borefts Beer Festival 2016, there has since been some bottled, of which I grabbed one from Independent Spirit. This is a dark ale made with raspberries. Drunk while listening to some Anthrax, after finding out they will be touring again next year. De Molen have been pretty darn reliable at turning out decent beers, especially kind of unusual ones, so I though this should be decent. Apparently the name is some kind of pun, but one that doesn’t really translate well. Ah well.


Dugges: Stillwater: The Tropic Thunder (Sweden: Sour Fruit Ale: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy yellow to lemon juice. Thin white dash of a head.

Nose: Peach to peach melba. Very fruity.

Body: Lightly tart. Peach. Apples. Slightly chalky. Mango, Gooseberry.

Finish: Apples and peach melba. Drying yet sweet. Mango juice. Gooseberry.

Conclusion: Man, it’s going to be hard to make this anything but a short set of notes. We are in tart alcoholic fruit juice territory again. So, first up – this is very fruity indeed. Predominantly with peach melba flavours, but with tarter apples and gooseberry at the edges, and some influence from the mango showing its head from time to time. While passion fruit is listed as being used in making this I didn’t really taste any present during my time with it.

The base is fairly light on the tartness, definitely there but just a refreshing character rather than anything harsh. Just a kind of mild gooseberry character, and a slight dryness from the acidity. It is also actually slightly chalky as well late on, so it manages to head out still feeling sweet from the fruit, but grounded quite dry in the texture.

So, those are the main elements – not the best sour I have had, and not too complex, but is is definitely the most peach melba styled though. On that I will also say the aroma for that is fantastic – if the entire beer was a big as the aroma, then, simple as it is in range, I would have no hesitation in recommending it. The rest of the beer, well it is solid, nothing too challenging, but it does feel like a drier backed alcohol fruit mix and not much more than that. Not bad in any way, definitely enjoyable with the slightly sharp fruit character – but nothing really stands out apart from the unusual fruit choice.

So, yeah, I made the notes manage to last this long but that is all I have to say. Peach melba fruit sour, slight chalk back. Ok, but not more than that.

Background: Another case where a new brewery to me caught my eye, at a sour beer with unusual fruit, and at sub 5% abv it seemed a interesting and easy one to slip into the tasting note list to have. Grabbed from Independent Spirit as is becoming slightly predictable these days. There is also a similar but lower abv version of this available called Tropic Folk – I was a tad confused – the description and fruit listed were identical, with only the abv changed. Then it was pointed out that in Sweden beers above a certain abv can only be sold in government shops, which despite my recent trip to Sweden I had forgotten. So I am presuming the lower abv one is so it can be sold in grocery stores in Sweden. Drunk while listening to Prodigy: Always outnumbered, Never outgunned. Not their best album, but one I haven’t listened to for a while.

Cantillon: Soleil De Minuit (Fruit Lambic: Belgium: 5% ABV)

Visual: Clear, still gold. Thin dust of a head. Hazy with bits evident in the body as you reach the end of the bottle.

Nose: Horse blankets. Ultra dry white wine and sour white grapes. Light gingerbread. Lightly musky. Honey.

Body: Very dry. Very light initially. Vanilla. Musky berries. Very smooth. Tart grapes. White wine. Champagne funky feel. Dried apricot. Nettles and prickling. Light honey. Mandarin orange. Passion fruit near the end.

Finish: Grapes. White wine. Oatmeal. Light charring. Light cloud-berry. Funky yeast feel. Vanilla. Lightly tart. Nettles. Dried apricot. Light vinegar. Orange juice.

Conclusion: Ok, this is absolutely nothing like what I expected. At all. I am used to super tart, dry, mouth puckering lambics coming from Cantillon. Also, with this having the unusual selection of cloudberry fruit to be aged on I was expecting that to be pushed hard.

Neither were true. Chilled down it tastes similar in style to their unblended lambic on the front, and full of subtleties. It definitely was white wine like, dry, very dry white wine like. Also the lambic character very much showed in the aroma with the horse blanket like character. By comparison the cloudberry was limited to the more funky edges of the beer around that white wine character.

Similarly there is nearly no acidity or harsh tartness – it is smooth as silk to drink, probably the easiest going Cantillon I have tried – my non Cantillon aware friend tried it and could easily enjoy it. It you are happy drinking good quality wine, then this is a similar experience.

That is not to say that this lacks subtlety, it has a very champagne like funky bready character (Admittedly this is going from my one true Champagne experience in Avery Bristol), the beer has a much more complex feel than it does taste.

Warming it really brings out the flavours though, it gives a lightly tart touch, and even a slight vinegar air right at the back of the throat, while still, generally, being smooth as heck. Much more cloudberry comes out, it never dominates, but it now has enough definition to distinctly complement the main wine like character. Soft apricot and an almost light vanilla sweetness then round it out, then delicious orange late on.

While chilled it is a far more easy to drink beer, at close to room temperature it gains much more to differentiate it from the unblended lambic it initially resembled. Then again, while I was not quite taken with Grand Cru, in general unblended lambic is hardly one to turn your nose up at. As is, chilled I was disappointed, especially considering the cost. It was good, but hardly above a standard lambic. As it warms it becomes another excellent quality fruit Cantillon, but with extra smoothness.

Is it worth the price? For the flavour, no. There are other lambics from Cantillon at far cheaper price that are of equal quality. As an intriguing event, as an experience, well, ouch, that is almost up to you – how much do you value trying a rarity?

For me, at the price I will not return to it, however looking at it just as a beer, I will have to admit, when you let it warm … Yes it is excellent, it builds up gently, and you get a different experience over several glasses. Not top 50 in the world good, but just, just comes in as one of my favourites.

Background: Holy crap, I did not expect to find this one. Now, to head people off at the pass – yes this is a Belgian beer, from the legendary lambic makers Cantillon. So why did I get it during the Sweden holiday? Well, simple, this was brewed for Akkurat bar in Stockholm and as far as I am aware that is literally the only place you can legitimately buy it. I found this, the Oct 2015 release (Drunk Aug 2016), in the vintage beers section of their bottle list and immediately checked that it was in stock. It was. Oh yes. It is a lambic made with cloudberrys, and at the time of writing, one of Rate Beers top 50 highest rated beers. It is also very expensive. Though the price of it did end up causing a conversation with two Russian teachers who were sat next to me at the bar, which was pretty cool. They asked us our views on Brexit then laughed at two synchronised, yet unplanned, facepalms from my friend and me. I offered some to them to try, and they politely referred to it as “Interesting”. I think they were not a fan. However my friend, who is not usually a beer fan, found it quite enjoyable. I also like that this was laid out in a wooden boat shaped container while we were drinking, very snazzy. Before drinking this I had some water to clean out the tastebuds from the previous beer so I could give this my full attention.

Good Chemistry: Morello Theory (England: Fruit Beer: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown with dark red edges. Moderate brown bubbled head.

Nose: Black cherries. Malt chocolate. Toffee. Red grapes. Slightly tart, but mainly sweet. Cream.

Body: Malt drinks and malt chocolate. Black cherry yogurt. Cherry aid. Light tomato.

Finish: Red grapes. Cherries. Toffee and malt chocolate. Cherry tomatoes.

Conclusion: Ok, I swear there is something about morello cherries in beer that make me think of tomatoes. I don’t know why. Admittedly it is far, far lighter here than the La Luna Rossa I had a short while back, but it still does have those very light tomato notes for me. Other people don’t seem to get them, just me.

However, that said, considering it is such a light note I think we should get straight on with it and look at the rest of the beer. The aroma promises pretty much what the base gives – a malt led beer, all toffee and malt chocolate drinks. If it wasn’t for the extra ingredient this would be an unassuming malt sipper that you would find hanging around on the cask tap. However we do have that second string for the bow – the cherries!

The cherries are a backing note, but not far behind, just settling in behind the malt, slipstreaming it as is washes down your throat. It opens with a slight tart grape to black cherry style, yet in the body goes from sweet yogurt to sparkling cherry-aid in emphasis. A bit artificial feeling in that last note, but it is generally very nice and natural styled.

Oh, and tomato notes, but I don’t want to dwell on them, they just add a slight savoury air to the thing.

That seems to be what you get from the beer throughout, I started chilled and let it warm up and, yep, pretty much the same notes at all times. Slightly easier drinking chilled but that is about it.

I would generally like a bit more play from a 6% and up beer, but the comparative simple malt led front does create a very good environment for the cherry play to work well. It is a far gentle sippable beer. At a lower abv I would call it a very good session fruit to beer balanced mix. As is it is a bit strong abv for its best use, but is still a gentle soother. While not the most complex base beer, this is still very evidently a beer, not just a fruit drink.

So, overall , the abv doesn’t quite match the flavour for usage, but generally uses the fruit well.

Background: This was recommended to me by Real Ale Tony, so despite the mediocre experience with the last Good Chemistry beer I had tried, I decided to give this a go. Grabbed from Independent Spirit this is a malt heavy beer, brewed with 60kg of Morello cherries in the batch, and fermented with Belgian yeasts. I last encountered Morello cherries in La Luna Rossa Cuvee, a beer which didn’t quite sit well with me. Drunk while listening to the funky Jet Set Radio OST,a fun blast of joy.

Wild Beer Co Squashed Grape

Wild Beer Co: Squashed Grape (England: Fruit Sour Ale: 5% ABV)

Visual: Strawberry red – small white head on first careful pour, but gains a large reddened head on the final pour. The main body is cloudy.

Nose: Musty. Gooseberry and sour yellow raspberry. Musky white wine. Strawberry. Rubber. Egg notes. Orange.

Body: Tart, acidic at the back of the throat. Mandarin orange. Apples. Strawberry. White wine. Red grapes. Tart raspberry. Peach. Grapefruit.

Finish: Sprizty white wine. Sharp lemon. Light wood. Orange. Tayberry.

Conclusion: Ok, as is pretty much to be expected, this is pretty wine like, though with an acidity level that reminds me of Rodenbach Grand Cru, which makes it a thing out on its own. What I find odd is that, despite its colour, it reminds me more of white wine than red. It is dry in the finish and main character in that white wine way. Despite that there is a mix of red grapes and strawberry, however they are not delivered in a way that makes me think of red wine.

It takes a bit of time to open up, early on the acidity overrides everything. As it softens it reminds me of the strawberry sour beers that people seem to often fail when they try to make, but here actually working, and made without strawberries. Maybe that is where everyone else is going wrong, actually using the fruit. Go figure.

It is a weird contradiction this beer.

It is pleasant but a tad expensive for just pleasant – it has some of the harsh edge of the grand cru, but while it has a lot of fruit flavours it doesn’t match the sheer shimmering complexity of that beer.

It is pleasant and actually gentle underneath the harshness, with an almost peach melba character matched by grapefruit. Somehow the over harsh and very smooth seem to swap places every now and then just to mess with you.

Most of the complexity it gains is from as it warms – you get tart berries converting into fresh orange and the acidity reduces to more manageable levels. Despite my retained enthusiasm in the notes this is a good beer and an unusual one. However as it is a tad costly I feel the need to hold it to equally increased standards.

It isn’t like much else out there – very much many different tart fruit juices infused with wine character. It is softer than most fruit lambics which is the closest comparison, and yet with a more blatant Rodenbach style tartness. So, only good and not great, but definitely stands out and stands on its own two feet. As something unusual it is interesting in itself, but not quite worth the cost of it.

Background: Ok, Wild Beer Co have done some odd beers over the past years, but this is still a surprise. Made with Grape Must, which is packed with the yeast normally used for wine, this was mixed with their base beer to create this beer wine hybrid thing. Drunk while listening to my Bad Religion selection on random – hey, its nearly Christmas, so why not? This was picked up at Independent Spirit, my ever reliable Wild Beer provider.

Tree Mellow Moon Pineapple Hefeweizen

Tree: Mellow Moon: Pineapple Hefeweizen (Canada: Fruit Hefeweizen: 5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy banana to apricot. Thin white head.

Nose: Pineapple. Light peach. Banana and cloves.

Body: Wheaty. Banana and cloves. Fresh tart notes. Apricot. Pineapple. Vanilla sweetness. Blueberry as it warms.

Finish: Dry feel but still light pineapple freshness. Cloves. Vanilla and light blueberry.

Conclusion: I have often found it difficult finding a good hefeweizen outside of Germany. Other places seem to be able to make good beers, but they often don’t quite feel like they match the style – pushing too big hops or too sweet base, and they lose the natural balance that I love in the best examples of the style. The balance that make them just so very drinkable.

This, with the extra of infused pineapple, had me nervous but intrigued. I love odd twists, but wondered if it would further move it away from the elements I love in a good weisse. I shouldn’t have worried, they have got the balance on this spot on.

Initially I was actually disappointed instead in how little the pineapple was shown – it was just limited to the aroma, but did finally show itself as the beer warmed. What this did was allow a lovely crisp wheaty hefeweizen to establish itself first – showing lots of banana and cloves, all used to good and just slightly dry affect.

Though good as just a well made hefe, it is the pineapple that is added as it warms that gives it the lovely summer thirst quenching character. Even better it lets the contrasting flavours mesh to create the almost hallucinatory flavours I love so much – in this case a light blueberry like note.

While it is predominantly quite traditional in how it approaches the base, there are still some, mild, calls to the sweeter interpretations, here using a subtle vanilla. It seems, used very carefully that extra sweetness can enhance rather than hurt the style.

Overall this is a very impressive first beer of the trip, and a great mix of hefe and fruit. Definitely check it out if you get the chance.

Background: First beer of the Canada trip! Hefeweizen and fruit infused beers both seem popular during the hot Canada summer, so this seemed an appropriate first one to sample. Drunk at Beer Revolution craft beer and pizza bar. By the way, not only are their staff awesome and friendly as hell – their pizza is fucking amazing. Seriously. Try it. Notes will be a tad shorter for these notes than usual as I was spending time chatting a lot with other people in the bar during the holiday. Not my greatest photo, still getting used to using new camera out in the field as it where.

Drygate Outaspace Apple Ale

Drygate: Outaspace Apple Ale (Scotland: Fruit Beer : 4% abv)

Visual: Clean gold. Some carbonation. Large sudden mound white head that leaves trails.

Nose: Apple. Vanilla. Bitter and wheaty. Lemon.

Body: Smooth. Golden syrup. Banana syrup. Apples. Hop oils. Syrupy texture. Floral touches. Honey. Dried apricot. Dessert wine.

Finish: Hop oil bitterness. Golden syrup and hops. Apple. Mead. Rising hop feel.

Conclusion: Holy shit this is so bloody sweet. Like, pass me a syringe and some insulin level sweet. This thing is thick, like a mix of honey and golden syrup – then dosed with hop oils, so kind of like a hopped mead.

No it doesn’t really work – with a description like that did you really expect it to? I mean it is odd, and fascinating as all get out. Fresh apples dropped into the mead mix, fresh notes all on top of the thickest, sweetest thing I have run into for a while. Fascinating, but for once fascinating can’t win me over.

It is just too sweet, too one note – the big difference is the hop oils but they seem to flow separately from the sweet mead flavours – so instead of getting one integrated beer you get two disjointed ones.

That said, while pretty much every note was wrong I didn’t, ya know, hate this. Each element was done well – the brewing led to a clear delivery of the elements – nothing is indistinct. It is just, well, none of the well made elements are the ones that should be there. They managed to brew just right all the wrong elements to put together.

Probably the best crafted beer that I just plain don’t get along with. Yes that is damning with faint praise.

Background: Grabbed this from Independent Spirit as it looked interesting, an apple ale made with Calypso, Nelson Sauvin and Citra hops. Was drunk to try and refresh me during the absurdly muggy heat we have had recently. Well absurd for a Yorkshireman anyway .. bloody heat. Drunk while listening to Scroobius Pip’s Distraction Pieces album.

Brewdog Celt Home Of The Fruitcakes
Brewdog: Celt Experience: Home Of The Fruitcakes (Wales: Fruit Saison: 6% ABV)

Visual: Strawberry red to peach. White dash at the edges but no real head. Clear. Almost looks like rose wine in light.

Nose: Strawberry yogurt. Raspberry ripple ice cream. Cream. Ice cream syrup. Peach.

Body: Sparkling and evanescent feel. Some oak. Light strawberry and peach. Slight funky yeast feel. Light grapes.

Finish: Cheese puffs. Dry oak. Wet air. Funky yeast. Peach. Malt chocolate.

Conclusion: You know, for collabfest this year, this is almost normal. By which I mean it is full of peach melba spritzer notes that is in fact a saison. With strawberries. and raspberries.

My definition of normal is fucked.

The aroma is wonderful – creamy and full of varied red fruit notes, mixing to create calls to strawberries and cream and raspberry ripple ice cream. The body is simpler, and less full bodied. It pulls peach elements from somewhere, and I honestly couldn’t tell you where, and uses some of that funky Belgian yeast character in feel to remind you it is a sasion, but doesn’t pull in more of the base saison than that. It means that the beer really doesn’t progress beyond feeling fun – which is not bad thing in itself, but doesn’t make for a classic beer. It manages to avoid a lot of the flaws of similarly fun fruit beers, it never feels cheap or syrupy however it is dominated by a few flavours and doesn’t really round itself out which means it misses its chance to really shine.

As mentioned the base saison really doesn’t push through – you get some rustic character, a bit of funky yeast, but it really doesn’t make the most of that part. It is light fun, and despite not having any peach in it, It does seem like a peach melba or strawberry ice cream beer. Simple and fun, but not much to come back to

So, a fun experience, but not a great one.

Background: Beer six of Collabfest 2014! At this point another drinker joined us as we had a seat spare – I love Brewdog pubs for stuff life this, you get a chance to just chat with fellow craft beer fans. Anyway, this one is a sasion made with raspberry and strawberry with, and- i quote – “a literal ton” of fruit. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers.

Boon Kriek Mariage Parfait

Boon: Kriek: Mariage Parfait (Belgium: Fruit Lambic: 8% ABV)

Visual: Large fizzy bubbles for a black cherry yogurt coloured head. Dark black cherry body.

Nose: Lightly tart. Wet oak. Tart apples. Sour cherries. Musky. Lemon cleaner air.

Body: Black cherry yogurt. Sour cherries. Sulphur. Fizzing texture. Charring. Tart apples. Wet oak. banana yogurt under notes. Cheese boards.

Finish: Drying. Wet oak and sour cherries. Malt biscuits. Oats. Tannins. Slight peanuts.

Conclusion: This is an interesting mix, or marriage if it will, and it seems they will. This really pushes a proper sour cherries and wet oak character, something that feels like it should be very deep and still, and yet it is played over an invigorating, fizzing lively main body.

The flavours and textures are remarkably complex in the body, it uses tartness, but the main character has such a solid weight that keeps it a much more restrained beer. There is oak and nuttiness that grounds it, so the tartness is used more to create refreshing edge into that drying lambic feel. Yet for all that it still sparkles and shimmers, it manages to mix dark depths and decadent dances of style, contrasting each other then diving into each other.

It is nowhere near the sweetness over those syrupy fruit lambics, nor that sheer mouth breaking sharpness of the hardcore lambic crowd. It is almost yogurty fruit in how it uses that lovely thick flavour that contains multitudes.

This, for me, ranks up with the greats of the fruit lambics. There isn’t any twist, trick, or gimmick to its quality they have just worked out to take the style to its natural apex, emphasising each characteristic without making any one the overwhelming focal point.

This is a beer that needs time and dedication, it never hits the easy pleasing buttons, but instead creates an overall experience of an excellent beer.

Background: Regular readers will know that Michael Jackson’s “Great Beer Guide” is one of the few beer ticker books I have time for. This is one of the beers from it, found at Brewdog’s Guest Beer selection. So I was excited. This is the 20111 bottling, drunk 2014. This is, according to that book, a mix of fresh young lambic, and a large proportion of older lambic, which is then aged in the bottle. Drunk while listening to Rise Against: Endgame. Holy shit that is a good album – I seriously don’t think there is a bad track on there.

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