OVB Orange Cream Pop IPA
Bolero Snort Brewery
We run into plenty of beers that purport to taste like dessert but go way too heavy on the adjuncts, leaving us with little impression that we drank a beer—not to mention the sugar headaches. What impressed us most about OVB (short for Orange Vanilla Bullsicle, which is a terrible name but a good indication of the creamsicle flavors it was shooting for) is that it’s an IPA first. At first blush, in fact, we weren’t positive any of the orange zest, lactose or vanilla used to make the beer were in there at all—the nose is all bright, citrusy, semi-grassy hops. The more it warms, however, the more the beer becomes like an adult Orange Julius, its soft vanilla merging with tangerinelike bitterness. It’s a treat, but it’s also a beer, as welcome next to an entree as it is for dessert.
de Garde Brewing
You can’t swing a dead cat these days, as my mom likes to say, without hitting a fruit-infused wild ale. (Why would you want to swing a dead cat? Mom’s answer: “Well, what else are you going to do with it?”) Many showcase their sweet or tart additives with aplomb; very few do it better than this nectarine-infused wild ale from Tillamook, Oregon. The stone fruits are so intense in the nose as to be almost stinky, and seem to have been added to the beer at peak ripeness, while notes of lemon meringue and pink starburst candies mingle at the aroma’s edges. Lambic-style fermentation—i.e., the wort is left to cool in an open vessel, allowing whatever microflora are floating in the breeze to land inside and start the fermentation process—results in a flavor front-loaded with bracing tartness, but a sweet fruit salad character balances things out midpalate before earthy fruit skin and citrus flash at the finish. The beer doesn’t reinvent the wheel in terms of yeast/bacteria complexity and oak-aging, but it brilliantly displays the flavors of a fruit we don’t see often enough.
Peak Organic Brewing Co.
Azacca, Simcoe, Amarillo and Citra form the dry-hop Voltron that defends this masterfully crafted pale ale. The aroma they emit links lemondrop—and lots of it—with sweet pineapple, garlic and berry skins, while fresh grass swirls at its edges. On the tongue, citrus fruit transitions to funk, with each swallow drawing out a touch of sweet onion. Earthy green and underripe tropical fruit bitterness lingers between each silky-smooth sip.