Tuesday, April 21, 2009

TBG Drinks: Hell or High Watermelon Wheat

Brewed By: 21st Amendment Brewery
Brewed In: San Francisco, CA
Type: (Fruit) Wheat Beer
ABV: 5.2%

What They Say: "The definition of summer in a pint glass. This unique, American-style wheat beer, is brewed with 400 lbs. of fresh pressed watermelon in each batch. Light turbid, straw color, with the taste and essence of fresh watermelon."

Website: The "virtual pub tour" feature is wonderfully user-friendly and something more of these brew sites should implement. A few nits, though: the "Show Us Your Cans" feature isn't anywhere CLOSE to realizing its true potential (giggedy) and the "beer list" is only a sample. Patrons have to call for the current on-tap assortment.

Why I Picked It: M'man Smitty told me about this odd concoction a few weeks ago, then brought a can(!) of it down to Anaheim when we met for the Angels/A's game earlier this month. He is a good friend to my family and his graciousness is appreciated. On the other hand, m'man Vig lives in the Bay Area and never took me to or even told me about this brewery. My family and I now hate him. Yes, Vig, even Jalen.


Presentation (5): I can forgive the cheesy play on words, since the logo itself is pretty bad ass. The trident/pitchfork thing is appropriately cartoonish, while the streak of brightly-colored flames makes for an aesthetically eye-catching image. 4

Originality (5): The union of watermelons with wheat-based beer seems to be almost commercially exclusive to the fine folks at 21st Amendment. At first blush, I can certainly understand why American brewers aren't exactly in a rush to line store shelves with suds from large green gourds. 5

Body (10): It pours out a cloudy, muddled yellow with minimal head and lacing. This is one of the more carbonated "snob" beers I've had as the beer's haze seems to re-create itself every few seconds. Overall, a somewhat malty medium body. 6

Taste (10): Sweet. I've read some online reviews that call the watermelon flavor here "mild" or "modest", but I couldn't disagree more. Don't get me wrong: there are also some strong bready notes, a hint of acidic citrus and that typical wheat beer taste in here somewhere. Hey, it actually works. The almost synthetic sweetness won't be for everyone, though. 7

Efficiency (10): This one checks in at 5.2% on the Richter Scale and if you can get past the Jolly Rancher flavoring, there's no reason why one couldn't suck down several of these in a single sitting. I'd guess the kick would be fairly stealth, though, and on you before you knew it. Still, though, I only had the one can. I'm not sure how the taste would hold up after two or more. 6

Versatility (10): I enjoyed this with a plate of Mrs. Bootleg's parmesan-shrimp pasta and damned if I didn't inadvertently stumble upon a palatable pairing. I can't imagine much middle ground with beer aficionados, though. You're either curious enough to give it a go or inherently repulsed by the notion of someone "fructosing" with your beer. 4

Grade: 32 (out of 50) – Good beer

The above format has been lifted with permission from That Beer Snob Guy.


SHough610 said...

I thought you hated watermelon? Don't leave the camp Aaron!

thatLoneStarGuy said...

32 out of 50, not bad considering the trash you were talking pre-review.

As a micro brew, how much flavor was lost in the versus the bottle?

That Bootleg Guy said...

I think it's always been a texture thing with me and watermelon. I enjoy fake watermelon flavor, like in Jolly Ranchers, Starburst, etc. Odd, though, that this is real w'melon in this beer, but it tastes fake.

It loses SOMEthing in the can, though. Maybe candy-coated tastes isn't as overpowering in the bottle.

Blondezilla said...

Long time fan, first time commenter. I have really enjoyed your beer musings. Now living in the Land 'O Beer (Germany) I do not have the chance to try this new watermelony offering. However, just last night I tried a local favorite here in Heidelberg...the Ananasweizen, a tasty concoction of banana juice and hefeweizen (draft of course:). I was a skeptic prior to tasting this Ananasweizen, but it was even tasty with a meal of pasta and flammkuchen (a German/French pizza foodstuff).

Thanks for your enlightening and entertaining food and beer reviews. If you keep writing, I'll keep reading.

That Bootleg Guy said...

We have a deal, you anonymous reader whom I've never met, you.