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Belt’s Beer Garden: Tropic-ale Weather

Dugges’ Tropical Punch & Asheville’s Perfect Day

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With the summer in full swing we’re finally in store for some nice weather...and some great beers. This week, I’ve got two lighter brews that will be perfect for those hot days in the sun.

First up, from Sweden, Dugges Tropical Punch.

Dugges Bryggeri opened up back in 2005 in Mölndal, Sweden, making it the second Swedish brewery to be showcased on BBG, after Omnipollo earlier this year. In 2009, after years of success, Dugges needed a bigger space and moved just about 10 miles away to Landvetter, in the southwest corner of the country, where they remain today (for now).

They have quite the extensive bottle collection and dabble in all sorts of styles but, from what I’ve seen, they mostly focus on stouts, sours, and IPAs. I have no clue where they distribute in the US but I know I hadn’t seen them around in Chicagoland until this week.

I grabbed their Tropic Punch sour ale (which might also be named Tropic Thunder? Both beers have the same description, ABV, and collaborating partner but with different names…so not sure what’s going on there).

Anyway, Tropic Punch is a sour ale made in collaboration with Brian Strumke, the head brewery at Baltimore’s Stillwater Artisan. It’s made with lactobacillus, mango, peaches, and passion fruit. The 330 mL (11.2 ounces) bottle contains a lighter ABV, at 4.5% and costs $4.99, which is a little on the higher end.

It poured a bright golden hay color with a slightly orange hue. Very little head topped the beer, never more than a light dusting across the top and, with in a few moments, there was nothing left but the tiniest little ring around the edge. There was a ton of sediment floating around the beer (as you can clearly see in the picture above).

On the nose, holy cow did it smell great. The peach and mango took over the entire scent and made it their own. There was a tad bit of tartness that could be detected behind the fruit but, all in all, this was like smelling fruit punch. I couldn’t wait to dive in.

My first sip started with a surprisingly big rush of carbonation and an immediate sour punch. It was not nearly as soft as I thought it would be from the aroma. However, that blast of tartness didn’t last too long and, very soon after, the lactobacillus and fruit additions cut into the sour sting with a very tropical sweetness.

The mango and peach once again were the stars of the show, with the passion fruit lingering behind adding some subtle sweetness. It seemed to be a battle between which of those two would shine in each sip; some tastes it was the mango that really dominated while on others the peach was prevalent. The passion fruit never really stood out as much to me; instead it acted in support of the other two.

On the backend, there was a tiny bit of dryness and a light tart flavor that carried on after everything else was gone. But it just made me want more.

Tropic Punch, overall, was really tasty. The plethora of tropical fruits stole the show and actually calmed down the sour aspect of this beer. And, after the first sip, which surprised me, that big sour factor never really showed up again…it was a very palatable sour ale.

If you enjoy sours and/or tropical fruits, don’t pass this brew up.

My second beer this week is from back in the states and comes to us from North Carolina - Perfect Day.

Asheville Brewing is also known as Asheville Pizza & Brewing and is the third oldest beer producer in Asheville, North Carolina. They opened up back in 1998 and have three locations throughout the city. From what I’ve found, you can only find their beers in the major cities throughout the state and at their three locations.

My friend, who had recently taken a trip to the Tar Heel State, brought me back a mixed six-pack that included their Perfect Day, which is an IPA made with Citra and El Dorado hops. A six pack is a tad bit more expensive, at $11, and each can packs a moderate punch with a 6.5% ABV and 58 IBU.

Perfect Day poured a dark translucent copper color with some moderate head. Just about a finger of white, airy bubbles built up and quickly disappeared, leaving just a ring around the edge and a light cloud dusting across the top.

A very balanced aroma spilled forth. There was a bouquet of citrus and floral hops that produced notes of grapefruit, lemon, and orange along with some spicy, earthy characters. The malts complimented the hops by adding a sweet caramel and slightly bready undertones.

My first sip began with a rush of carbonation and a light-medium body that had a slightly gritty and thicker mouthfeel. From there, the flavors slowly came forth out of the carbonation. First it was the light citrus; lemon and orange with the grapefruit holding back some. Then the malts added some sugary sweet caramel and a spicy rye flavor that do well to initially cut into the bitterness and smooth everything out.

The sip then concluded with some bready malt and a light hop bite that lingered a few moments after everything ends. For as bitter as it was on the backend, I thought the beer would end on a drier note, however, there was almost no dryness to Perfect Day.

As the beer was quickly excavated from my glass, it left very little lacing on its way. Instead just a few lonely streaks of clouds webbed their way across the sides.

Towards the end of the can, and after the beer has warmed up some, the caramel malt sweetness began to take over most of the taste, cutting out the initial burst of citrus. But the beer still ended with the hoppy bite, which might have even gotten a little stronger.

Overall, this was a very balanced and easy to drink IPA. The malts kept the hops in check for most of it, with the hops only hitting your palate at the end with the bitter twinge that lingers after each sip. For me, the beginning was the best part; when it had that big blast of citrus that slowly faded away. It’s a solid IPA from one of Asheville’s oldest breweries.