Fruit Forward Craft Beers to Try This Week
Welcome back to the KOP Beer blog! After a brief hiatus, we're back to blogging regularly about all things crafty and boozy. This week, we're rolling out some fruit-forward, but not too fruit-forward beers we've got in stock.
Toppling Goliath Mozee IPA
Usually, when a brewery lists this many fruit flavors on the label, you're in for way too much. Way too much sugar riming your tongue, way too much artificial flavor—brought to you by extract! Or, lately, puree!—but this IPA delivers fruitiness Keats-style (you're welcome for the joke English Lit. majors. Everybody else look up "Ode To Autumn" or don't! You have free will and I've already wasted a lot of words on this thematic pun). It's mellow is the point I'm trying to make. You get notes of kiwi and pineapple as promised, but the star here is mango: a lovely moment on the backend that verges on tropical and creamy almost to the point of dipping towards mouthfeel. Your tongue misreads Mozee for a moment—could this be a blended drink?—but that confusion doesn't stick because this is a fruity IPA that also has some great hop flavor.
In fact, if you went solely off the aromatics, you'd think this beer was dank which brings me to why this IPA is worth the price tag: It does fruit and hop flavors well all while blending them seamlessly. It gives me some subtle Half Acre Fully Saturated Double Daisy Cutter vibes (read our review of that brew here) though it's decidedly less boozy which is a plus for me.
TL;DR: This IPA blends fruit flavor and hops in a way that few breweries are able to pull off. Don't miss it.
Axe + Arrow Watermelon Kölsch
This is the best beer I’ve tasted in...years? Sure, maybe that's a teensy bit of hyperbole, but this is an absolutely perfect summer beer that blends two things together well: the flavor of watermelon—the fruit, not the extract, not the Jolly Rancher flavor, not the La Croix aftertaste—and the flavor of a true Kölsch: crisp, sparkling, delicately malty. It’s almost a bit difficult to describe how these two flavors are working in this beer because they occur concurrently: you get a classic German Kölsch while at the same time, watermelon flavor. Let’s tackle the two separately:
The Kölsch flavor is crisp, as mentioned, but also delightfully malty, which is something I’ve found missing in the sea of hazy IPA’s and milk sugars the craft beer industry has been drowning in as of late. Does the sweetness of the watermelon overpower the beer? I could probably drink two 16oz cans before switching to something a little danker, but it’s important to remember that every time there’s a fruity watermelon explosion, there’s also a Kölsch taste happening in tandem: malts, crispness, and the breadiness that characterizes this style of beer. In combination, these flavors cut into the sweetness of the fruit for a really uniquely blended flavor experience.
According to the brewery, this is their standard Kölsch conditioned on watermelon puree which is a trend that I’ve started to roll my eyes at if only because dumping in a bunch of fruit puree is a surefire way to make beer overwhelmingly sweet without any nuance. In other words, anyone can toss puree into a beer. That doesn’t make it good. It makes it sugary. However, I think the Kölsch base here and the amount of puree really work together. Other recent summer releases, not so much. As it warms, the watermelon falls back a bit and the Kölsch comes to the forefront which actually makes the whole beer a bit more drinkable.
TL;DR: Dang, this beer is good.
Axe & Arrow Cherry Fluff Sour
This beer drinks more like a dessert than a beer. That’s not to say it’s a bad beer, but unless you’re the type who can and will eat an entire pint of ice cream in a single sitting, this beer is not for you. I am the type who can usually down a pint of B&J’s in two sittings so I could drink this beer and find enjoyment in it, but I definitely would reach for Axe & Arrow’s Watermelon Kölsch if I had the option. This sour ale isn’t sour, but it does perform a semblance of tartness presumably thanks to the cherries that the can warns could be floating around inside the beer. (Keep cold, folks.) The vanilla hits hard on the backend of this sour, though the primary flavor is cherry. Again, this beer isn’t bad. It’s definitely a good choice for the anti-IPA crowd or the hard seltzer contingent. It’s also a good choice for folks who want to get into sours—it’s a solid “gateway” sour if you will—but aren’t yet ready for the sediment and funk therein.
TL;DR: A great starter sour for the hard seltzer and wheat ale pumped with fruit puree enthusiast.