- Courtesy Shades Brewing
We are now officially in the season of excess. All the food and drink that your doctor has warned you to avoid is suddenly fair game, and we both know you're going to take full advantage of all the treats out there. Sadly, reality will return come Jan. 2, when it's back to our normal routines. Generally, when you start your "resolutions," beer goes out the window.
However, I might have found a work-around, and it comes to us from our friends at Shades Brewing. The Shades team has spent the better part of a year developing a new brand called F.I.T. Brewing. As the name suggests, these beers are geared toward the more health-conscious craft beer drinker. Designed to be calorie- and carbohydrate-light, this new line might just be what the doctor ordered.
F.I.T. Blonde Ale: You'll first notice a brilliant, crystal-clear golden color with a lingering, moderate white head. The aroma has subtle notes of sourdough bread, lightly toasty, plus some cereal and a touch of fruity yeast. The hops are grassy, yet fairly subdued. One-dimensional malt sweetness hits your palate, with flavors of wheat toast and corn, followed by a light to moderate perceived bitterness. The finish is where the hops are more pronounced—long after the swallow and mostly herbal in nature.
Overall: Beautiful appearance, nice aroma for the style, but you're going to take a hit in the malt department, mostly due to the fact that the sugars are cut in half.
F.I.T. Brut IPA: It pours a crystal-clear straw color, with fine bubbles in the head and just a touch of rockiness. The aroma has a pretty strong kick of citrus with some guava; I'm also getting a touch of cracker hanging out in the nose as well. The malt profile leaves a touch of crackers on the tongue, but very little in the way of caramel sweetness. The hops are all citrus-peel driven, which creates a slight tartness due to the lack of sugars. The finish, as you can imagine, is bone dry.
Overall: This is a crushable and balanced beer. The hops it uses give off an impression of sweetness that balances the dryness extremely well. It's one of the few brut IPAs that actually lives up to its name.
F.I.T. Light Lager: It pours a profoundly clear golden hue with a fine, small head of white foam that lasts for a minute or two before disappearing. The first aromas feature light, grainy malt with notes of flowery noble hops, grass and hay and earthy yeast. The taste similarly represents light malt with a subtle hoppy character and a dry finish, followed by notes of grain, noble hops, grass and hay, faint spiciness, earthy yeast and stewed hops. It's well-attenuated, with a crisp, yet restrained, bitterness. The mouthfeel is smooth, dry and tingly, with pleasant carbonation and good body for the style. This one is mildly astringent, with an aftertaste of more earthy yeast and grassy hops.
Overall: A solid American lager with a satisfying aroma and flavor for the style.
F.I.T. beers dial in at 4.0% and boast a measly 97 calories and 5.6 grams of carbs; thanks to new enzymes, you can now reduce the amount of sugars in your beer without having to severely water them down. The F.I.T. Brewery sample pack can be found at Smith's, Fresh Market, Harmons, Whole Foods, Maverick, 7-Elevens, Walmart, Target and other independent locations. I'm feeling thinner already. As always, cheers!