It’s hot. I’m not complaining because it has not been hot much this summer. I’m just stating a fact.
On a hot, sticky day, I think of beer: casual, cold, and refreshing.
I was sent some new beers to try a few weeks ago. Innis & Gunn, the Scottish brewery about whom I have written about before, have a line of fruit beers under the name Melville’s Craft Lager, and I was sent two to try. It’s unclear to me if Melville’s is a truly independent brewery given its association with Innis & Gunn but, not matter, I was happy to try the beer.
Here is where I make a confession: I was never a big beer drinker in my university years or early 20s. In fact, I hated the stuff. But I lived in France and got to know Belgian fruit beers and those I really liked. While I have since come to love beer in most of its incarnations, I have kept a soft spot for fruit beer, nostalgia for those hitch-hiking, no mortgage paying, no kid-raising days perhaps.
The Beau and I chilled and poured both the strawberry and the raspberry beers on a particularly hot Friday afternoon and sipped them in the garden while reading (me with my old-fashioned paper book, he with his new-fangled iPad). Scotland is not a place one usually associates with beer, let alone fruit beer, so I braced for the worst. I need not have.
With 20% fruit juice added post-fermentation, both beers clearly showed pink in the colouring, the raspberry quite brightly so. Neither beer is a bitter so the hops are not very pronounced. However, there is enough acidity to the drink to make it refreshing and tone down the juicy flavours. In other words, they taste like lemony, slightly yeasty, fruit juice with a kick of alcohol; very refreshing.
Of the two. we both found the raspberry to be too sweet, not crisp or refreshing enough for our taste. However, if you are someone who prefers a sweet cooler to a beer, this is the one for you. It’s a lively pink colour and tastes exactly like fresh, ripe, late summer raspberries.
We loved the strawberry beer best. We found it to be just sweet enough without being too candy-like. There was the distinctive taste of a light lager, but the whole fruit-beer flavours balanced nicely. The Beau had no trouble finishing the bottle.
Conclusion: we both enjoyed the strawberry beer so much that we have purchased a few four packs of them… there may or may not be any left if you drop by. If we’ve run out, not to worry, you can pick up both the raspberry and strawberry Melville’s Craft Lagers at the LCBO ($9.95 4 x 275mL)
PS If you’re interested in enjoying some beer and supporting a good cause, why not head to Watson’s Mill Craft Beer event tonight? There will be local breweries, nibbles from Indulge Kitchen, and live jazz. You can mingle with friends and support a good cause (tickets are $30 and include a chance to win a beer and food pairing event at The Mill).