Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dark Horse Brewing Co. Raspberry Ale

In the majority of cases, I’m not a fan of fruit beer. Fruit beer typically makes me think of the disgusting concoctions that my dad is fond of making. He’ll mix Coke with grapefruit juice and orange juice. He’ll blend root beer with grape soda and diet tea. He’ll put V-8 in his 7-Up. He’ll mix lime juice with strawberry pop. And in his old age, he’s become obsessed with putting tomato juice in his light beer. This would maybe be okay if it were not practically the only way he drank beer. You should see his face when he asks for tomato juice with his beer at a restaurant and they tell him they don’t have any. He takes it as a personal insult. He’s truly outraged that a dining establishment would dare to exist without stocking tomato juice. And don’t dare try to get him to accept bloody Mary mix as a substitute! Sometimes he adds not just tomato juice but also fresh ground pepper to his beer! So yeah, it comes as no surprise to me that when he's not drinking Coor's Light Tomato, he opts for fruit beer. Because most fruit beers are gross in the same way that his homemade concoctions are gross. But Dark Horse’s Raspberry Ale is another story entirely. I bought some on recommendation from my man Darrell. And I’m glad I did! It’s not just the best fruit beer I’ve ever had. It’s one of the best-tasting beers I’ve had of any kind.

Fruit beers often taste nasty for two primary reasons. First, they tend to use the “essence” of fruit instead of real fruit. Second, they tend to taste less like real beer and more like carbonated fruit drink. Eww! But Dark Horse gets it right. Their motto is “beer first, fruit second”. And they use real raspberries. The Raspberry Ale- a “light bodied, easy drinking ale”- is exactly what it’s purported to be. It’s not a “big” beer. It doesn’t “challenge” the palate. But for what it is, it’s perfect. The flavor combines a bready/biscuit malt character with a touch of wheat and a subtle sweet/tart quality from the raspberries. Delicious! I love that the raspberries don’t overpower the other components of this beer. You can tell that they’re there, but they’re not overdone. This is a real beer, not a hard soda. It’s a refreshing choice on a hot day, but it’s smooth and flavorful enough to hold up year-round. If you like fruit beers, you absolutely must try this one. And if you don’t like fruit beers, this could be the one to turn you to the dark side. If my old man rejects this one, I'm giving up on him entirely.

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