Written by Tom Becham
Things have been somewhat quiet on the beer front for me lately, for various reasons. But I am still in the game, and have two short reviews for the readers of Professor Good Ales.
Now, these might seem like gimmick beers to many. But they are so well done that they are worth trying, even if you don’t like odd twists on more traditional styles.
The first is The Bruery’s Arrrggghhh! (Yes, that is the actual name of the beer.) This beer with a piratical twist is billed by The Bruery as an Imperial Pilsner at 7.7% ABV. It is modified by the use of rice and coconut. My general experience with coconut beers is that the coconut is seldom discernible on the palate (I’m looking at YOU, Maui Coconut Porter!). Not so with Arrrggghhh! (Oh, dammit, it’s just fun to say and type.)
Arrrggghhh! has the typical appearance of a pilsner: golden yellow, with a huge, dense white head. The coconut is very obvious on the nose. The rice lightens the palate considerably, making the beer a bit more tropical in feel. While the coconut is a lighter flavor, but gives a richness to the mouthfeel that is entirely unexpected in a pilsner, and more akin to a hefeweizen. The finish is clean and abruptly short.
In all, Arrrggghhh! will be ideal for warmer weather, or for any day here in Southern California.
Next on my list is Hawaiian Sunburn from Elysian Brewing of Seattle. Elysian has been a name in craft beer for some time, being one of the stalwart originals. But it came to prominence for most after Budweiser’s Super Bowl 2015 ad, where they took a swipe at craft beer and “peach pumpkin ale”. Well, as it turns out, ABInBev had purchased Elysian not long before that ad aired. And what does Elysian make? Peach pumpkin ale. (Thank you, Anheuser Busch, for showing what utter hypocrites you are.)
When I first spied Hawaiian Sunburn on my supermarket shelves, the fact that it was billed as a “Pineapple Habanero Sour” caught my attention. Now, generally I am of a mind that chili peppers don’t belong in beer. In fact, chili beer is usually my go-to example for demonstrating that just because someone *can* do a thing, it does not follow that they *should* do that thing. However, I also know that pineapple and habanero chilis are a tasty combination in food, and I love sour and wild ales.
Basically, I convinced myself that this beer would either be wondrous, or a hideous drain pour. I was wrong, as the truth is in the middle.
Hawaiian Sunburn pours a bright, semi-opaque yellow with a towering, dense white head. The pineapple is a very restrained scent, which is largely dominated by grainy aromas.
The flavor was similarly mellow. The habanero was not the throat-scalding blast I dreaded, but rather a tiny tingle at the back of the throat, along with a slight vegetal tinge to the flavor. Pineapple made its own subtle appearance, as well. Many of the other reviews of this beer that I’ve read have stated that this beer has no sour character to it. Completely untrue. If you are used to the enamel-stripping qualities of extreme sourness that many have come to expect from American wild ales, then you will be disappointed. But it IS still very definitely sour. The sourness is more along the same quality that you would find in a traditional German gose; which is to say, very mild.
I had thought that there was some wheat in the grain bill for this one, which I discovered was true upon reading on-line descriptions of this brew. The wheat makes for a full and refreshing mouthfeel. Hawaiian Sunburn is aptly named, as this beer would be perfect for beach quaffing in the islands. I understand this beer is a one-off, so snap it up if you see it. It’s not a life-changer, but it’s another one perfect for warm weather.
Tom Becham. Tom Becham.Tom Becham. Tom Becham. Yup that’s Tom Becham. That’s Tom Becham’s picture. Right over there. Well, “left” over there, actually. Tom Becham lives in Oxnard, CA. Tom Becham has written reviews for brews and breweries as far away as Hawaii.