Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Rambling Reviews: 7.15.2015: Fruit Beers from Anchor, Lagunitas and Altamont Beer Works

More rambling reviews for the second time this week. This time, the theme is beers with fruit in them.

First up, Anchor Brewing Zymaster Series No. 8. Luxardo Cherry Ale.  Anchor took a base amber ale and aged in a bed of Luxardo Marischino Cherries, which accorrding to Anchor, aren't those bright, artificially colored fruit-like things that top sundaes but are instead some sort of heirloom cherry. Whatever these cherries are in real life, they make this beer really work. The toasty and smokey flavors from the base amber blend really well with the cherries, all the flavors well balanced. I'm not usually one to get into beer and food pairings but I could see this beer really working well with certain desserts, or the cherry flavors playing off various meats. One of those beers to carefully sip to fully appreciate.
A far less successful example of using a fruit additions is Lagunitas Citrusinensis Pale Ale. Lagunitas took their Dog Town Pale Ale, tweaked the recipe to add more wheat into the grain bill, then added blood orange juice into the mix. The blood orange addition is too heavy handed, dominating the brew rather than creating an interesting twist. The tangy blood orange flavors battles the bitter hoppiness of the underlying Pale Ale and things aren't pretty. Flavors clash and muddle, and when the dust clears, there's this chalky flavor. And what are these weird precipitates collecting at the bottom of the pint glass? An interesting beer, but not in a good way. Big misfire.

Finally, I really dug Berry White, a cream ale with raspberry and cranberry additions from Altamont Beer Works which was pouring on Nitro at San Jose's Original Gravity. Great name, it's almost as smooth and luscious as a Barry White ballad. The raspberry and cranberry work well together creating a nicely rounded berry flavor with a pleasant tartness. Nice off-beat summer beer I found to be a guilty pleasure. Can't get enough of your love, baby!

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