- Mike Riedel
I'm a huge sucker for citrus. I've never met an orange, lemon, pomelo, lime, grapefruit, mandarin, citrange, blood orange or kumquat I didn't like. So you can imagine my glee when not one but two citrus-infused ales hit my palate this week. Let's just say, they were sub-lime.
Shades - Kviek Lemon Meringue Pie: Shades has made it their mission to make unconventional beers, and the results seem to be overwhelmingly positive. Their pie-themed beers are a hit, and Shades' Kveik yeast seems to be one of the driving factors in this. This ale pours a very hazy lemony-blond color, with a small finger of head that fades slowly. The nose brings big lemon meringue pie, nice tart lemon, lemon zest and pie filling, with light lactose, plenty of vanilla, a touch of blonde graham cracker dough and cream soda-like notes.
Just as the aroma hinted, there's a taste of nice tart lemon—juicy fresh lemonade and zest, nice creamy meringue, big creamy marshmallow and raw vanilla. It's very much like that toasted layer of meringue and vanilla whipped cream. The finish has a little lactic thing happening, with built-in tart lemon essence with a little cracker and blonde creaminess. The mouthfeel has a medium body that is fluffy with light/medium carbonation and 6.5 percent alcohol.
Overall: This is so well executed—perfect lemon meringue pie flavors, fresh lemon zest and store-bought lemon pie creaminess. The vanilla and the subtle doughy graham cracker crust bring it all home with a little of the base malt coming through. No hops are discernible at all, and the focus seems to be solely on lemon. Heavenly stuff, but not vegan-friendly, due to lactose.
TF Brewing- Tangelo Berliner weisse: My mom used to buy us tangelos when we were kids, and many of my pals asked, "What's a tangelo"? My friends weren't exactly MENSA material. Apparently a handful of my contemporaries have no idea either, and are still ignorant of the gift of tangelos. This tangerine and grapefruit hybrid fruit beer pours fizzy and has a foamy white head that manages to maintain some froth. The body resembles grapefruit juice: a cloudy mix of hues within a peach-colored liquid. Aroma is tart and yeast-heavy, while the yeast imparts floral notes and touches of grapefruit that may emanate from the yeast or from elsewhere.
Whoa! That's a lot of tangelo in the flavor, like biting into a grapefruit and getting all the rind flavor, zestiness, tartness, acidity, pulp and chalky flavor with a hint of sweetness. It's like a grapefruit with a tiny amount of sugar sprinkled over it. Feel and taste really become one here. This beer 5.0 percent ale feels like the aftermath of a bite into a grapefruit (right through the peel), complete with zesty, floral bitterness and tart acidity. The finish is semi-dry despite all the previous juiciness.
Overall: This beer really captures the tangelo flavor and feel; it's pretty impressive how close this is to a citrus juice cocktail. This is like a radler, but the ale's tart base keeps it closer to beer territory, and it is vegan-friendly.
These are brilliant citrus-forward beers that could give a shit about your ability to taste the base beer. Normally, I prefer the base beer be present in any beer where adjuncts are used, but not in this case. These just light up the palate and make a citrus-lover's tongue squeal like tween at a boy-band concert. As always, cheers!