Tag Archives: grapefruit

Kona Big Wave Golden Ale

The Kona Brewing Company is a Hawaiian brewery, originally a family-run operation, and the beer in this post has pedigree, going all the way back to 1995. The fact that a Hawaiian beer is being served by keg in Minnesota does jar a little: they brew substantially on the mainland, though will always call “The Big Island” home. Operations go on in Portland, Oregon, Woodinville, Washington, Memphis, Tennessee, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

This Golden Ale rests peacefully in the glass, straw-gold yellow, completely sans head but quite carbonated. The aroma is characterised by hops, hops and more hops: equal parts pineapple slam, grapefruit crush and deliciously tart citrus. Underneath, the headless ale is dry, thin and spritzy, but this does nothing to help the flat, insipid flavours. Apple and malt shake coexist at low levels with an equally marginal bitterness.

It’s drinkable and fault-free but hardly a winner.

I had a pint of this uninspiring draught beer at Port 104 Bar-Grill and Bowling, Lake City, Minnesota. It was a fairly done-up family-style bar with bowling lanes, a pool table, lots of seating and early closing hours. Lake City is not exactly a drink-party town; more a wholesome-party town. But I am getting old so that’s fine with me.

Samuel Adams Grapefruit IPA

I won’t go into Sam Adams here as most readers will be aware of their stature. I have been witnessing with curiosity the fruit IPA wave from the antipodes, and while I would have preferred to try one from a different brewery, this grapefruit IPA was the first beer to cross my path on this trip to Chicago.

It’s a very one-note beer, which surprised me given it’s ostensibly a fruit beer, thus should at least have TWO notes. It looks a sparkling mandarin EBC, vaguely radioactive/fluorescent, with definite chill haze and no sign of any head – a first. The aroma is grapefruit. That’s it. Grapefruit. Is it coming from hops or fruit? Very hard to tell, too hard for my old olfactory senses.

This beer was poured quite warm for me and I think it would have benefited from a cooler temperature. But it still felt fairly smooth and light in the mouth, myriad bubbles dancing around the gums. A strong, appropriate bitterness strikes the tongue at first, followed by a kind of hollow sweet baked muffin flavour; a malt hit similar to Woolworths or Coles muffins, a sort of half-frozen, industrialised baked good.

There’s maybe the smallest touch of grapefruit in the flavour, but not enough to really contribute much. So there you have it: grapefruit IPA. Smells like grapefruit. Tastes like IPA.

I drank this draught beer at Humble Bar, a nice, quiet, cheap and straight-forward watering hole on North Ave, just opposite the park in Logan Square, Chicago, Illinois.

Case Swap: Brett dIPA

This post is part of a series of twenty-three discussing beers brewed by members of the Merri Mashers brewing club for their 2015 case swap celebration.

The label for this beer states it was fermented with 100% WLP648 Brettanomyces bruxellensis trios vrai. It’s a dIPA with Mosaic, El Dorado, Citra and dry hopped with some Chinook, Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic. The OG of 1.077 went down to an FG of 1.008 for an ABV 9% – 92 IBU.

The brett beer pours an entirely clear golden amber with bursting carbonation leaving a polite white head that has significant retention. A lush aroma of pineapple, paw paw and crisp granny smith sits over a slightly sour grapefruity tang. The bubbles just keep coming.

Taste-wise the immediate punch is malt, big sweet toffee and white bread. Hop bitterness is quite high but struggles to keep pace with the malt payload, even with the dry finish. I’m fascinated that this beer is 100% brettanomyces – sourness is minimal, this could pass for a standard ale yeast double IPA. There is some distinct fusel alcohol flavour that isn’t ideal, but still complements the rest of the beer juuuust fine.

This is an excellent drop for a hot summer day – just like this evening is. It’s not immensely quaffable, but I can imagine starting with this then hitting the lagers for an ideal night out.

Pirate Life Pale Ale

The Pirate Life brewery hails from South Australia and its two head brewers are alumni from BrewDog’s early days in Scotland. They can all their beers citing the usual logical reasons, with an emphasis on the environment that I can get behind. So far the brewery only produces American-style pale ales: a session IPA, a pale ale and a double IPA. Distribution is ramping up.

The 5.4% ABV pale ale comes in an attractive, space-age blue can. It drops into the glass a deep bronze, completely clear, and with a moderate to middling head that retains only slightly. The aroma is high on new world hops with grapefruit and melon combating caramel malts. A bit of soapiness is present on the nose as the glass depletes.

This glass tasted particularly fresh: well-balanced, slightly edging more onto the bitter side for a pale ale. Carbonation is right in the centre and some cantaloupe fruit flavours accentuate peach and soft, muffin-like malt. A thin mouthfeel delivers the goods, slightly thinner than I would like, but not detracting from the overall package.

This is a nice pale ale, entrenched in the new American tradition. Approach with haste and expectation.

I bought this canned beer at Carwyn Cellars and drank it at home.