Last week, we tasted succulent raspberry beers, many of which featured the vibrant taste of the berry, without too much sweetness. A tasting I feared would end with cavities and an insulin drip ended with a big grin and a nice buzz. “Hey,” I thought tipsily, “Maybe there is something to these fruit beers.” Then I hiccuped and passed out. I was on to something, though. Fruit beers used to be sick parodies so doused in corn syrup and artificial flavors, they resembled the fruit only in name or color. A new batch of fruit beers has emerged that claims to blend fruit flavors more artfully, without excess sweetness. So, for the remainder of the month, we'll quench our thirst by tasting our way through the new crop of fruit beers. This week, I'm sipping tangerine-flavored beers.
Uinta Brewing Hop Nosh Tangerine IPA
Format Sampled: 12 oz can
ABV: 7.3 percent
Tasting Notes: Pours an orange/gold and raises a thin off-white head. Aroma has luscious hops, and bright, spicy orange peel. The first sip is thick and unctuous, almost oily with tangerine peel flavor. The bitter edge is reminiscent of citrus pith, perfectly synergizing with the citrus flavor of the hops. There is a tantalizingly brief, juicy-sweet flavor at the end, like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy morning. The tangerine is evident in the aroma, but is otherwise blended so skilfully, it merely communicates an impression of fresh citrus. It's subtle, juicy and completely delicious.
Horny Goat Brewing Tango Delta Tangerine IPA
Format Sampled: 16 oz can
ABV: 6.8 percent
Tasting Notes: Pours a hazy copper with a rocky, white head. Aroma has pear, dried herbs and dried citrus peel. The initial taste is mouth-watering, with notes of freshly squeezed tangerine, peel, pith, and bitter seed. It's like eating an entire tangerine, peel and all. After the first taste impression, a ballet of subtle, bitter flavors dominate the experience. Are they hops? Are they the essential oils of the citrus? It's impossible to distinguish what is what, but the overall impression is that of a bitter orange, skillfully blended with hops that feature their own citrus flavors. Orange you glad I tried this one?
Green Flash Tangerine Soul-Style IPA
Format Sampled: 12 oz capped bottle
ABV: 6.5 percent
Tasting Notes: Pours a glowing, radiant orange-yellow with a puff of pure white head. Aroma is pure, fresh-squeezed citrus, with elements of peel, fruit and juice! The first sip marries the tartness of grapefruit with woody tannins, drying, bitter hops and a burst of sunny, delicious fruit juice. The vibrant flavor pops like summer fireworks, filled with brightness, then trails off in a long, bitter finish. The belch is pure orange juice! This is by far the bitterest, driest of the three, but it still manages to showcase the essential, sweet, juicy tangerine flavor.