With yesterday being Valentine’s Day, there’s no better time than now for pink beers and celebrating love (especially the love of hops).
I’ll start today’s tasting with a Colorado brewery and their fruited blonde ale.
Rockyard Brewing is stationed in Castle Rock, Colorado – a city of roughly 50,000 people nestled 30 miles south of Denver. This year marks their 20th year, as they opened up way back in 1999. Despite being open for two decades, sadly, you can only find Rockyard beers in the Denver area.
They have five brews available in stores, including a 2018 Gold Medal winner at the World Beer Cup (their Primadonna, a German Pils). And, in a twist for BBG, I don’t have their IPA…instead I have their Buoyant.
Buoyant is a blonde ale brewed with massive amounts of boysenberries and has a lighter 5% ABV and just 20 IBU. You can find it year-round in 12-ounce cans that run a very reasonable $8 for a six-pack.
Buoyant poured a dark pink, light amber color with a finger of small fizzy bubbles building upward. The light purple head didn’t last terribly long and was soon just a small accumulation across the top.
On the nose there was a solid tartness to this brew. Outside of those sour notes, the aroma was all sweet boysenberry with just a light wheat/grain backing and nothing else. It was a very simple scent…tart berries and a grain background. That’s all you needed.
A buzz of carbonation started it off before continuing on but fading underneath the other flavors that slowly crawled forward. And, like the smell, the taste was all boysenberry. But it wasn’t nearly as sour as the scent had suggested. There was a slight tartness but it was still a very sessionable beer.
The berry flavor held strong over the grains and hops throughout the taste, with a very nice fruity flavoring throughout. Instead, those malts, hops, and grains simply added a complimenting sweetness and were only visible as the sip was coming to a close.
And the flavors came to a close rather quickly at that. In the final moments the grains peek out with a bready sweetness that sliced into any of the remaining light sour notes and played with the fruit flavors nicely.
Lingering after everything else had gone was a small sticky resinous boysenberry flavor and just the smallest amount of dryness.
Buoyant was a very simple and easy to drink beer. There wasn’t much to it…a very nice blonde ale with copious amounts boysenberry sweetness and a moderate amount of carbonation that still seems to fizz in my stomach once the beer has been drunk.
I’d wait until summer to try this one again though, as it would be better on those hot days when you want something sweet but still want booze. A solid, yet very simple, variation of a blonde ale.
Up next, a pink beer from the Mitten.
Odd Side hails from Grand Haven, Michigan and is no stranger to BBG, as this is their fourth appearance. You can find them across the Midwest in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Odd Side released a series they call Fruitsicle. They take a base, which is a mixed ale fermented with lactose to sweeten it up, and then add a plethora of fruits in each different one.
They have released a ton of different variations but, the one I have today is their prickly pear cactus and pineapple version. It has a lower ABV, at just 4.5%, and sells for the usual price of $10 per six-pack.
It poured a dark pink, almost red color with minimal head building up. No more than half a finger of white bubbles showed up and, very quickly, fizzled into just a razor thin ring around the edge of the glass.
On the nose there was the tart, sour aroma of pineapple that mixed with the fruity/grassy notes of the prickly pear cactus. There wasn’t much to this wild ale outside of those two major scents.
My first sip began with a buzz of carbonation that varied from sip to sip…sometimes it lasted nearly the entire time and on other swigs it was gone instantaneously.
From there, the pineapple starts things off with a dash of tartness and that typical sting before the prickly pear begins to mix in. The cactus adds a sweet, floral favor while cutting into the sourness of the beer.
The addition of lactose doesn’t do too much, nor is it very noticeable at all…but, midway through it all, there is a bump of sugary-sweetness from it that is mostly concealed by the prickly pear flavor and the stronger pineapple notes.
Fruitsicle ends rather cleanly with just the cactus flavor sticking around after everything else had faded away. There was no dryness, no linger tart notes…just a floral, semi-sticky prickly pear flavor that stuck around for a few minutes.
This is a very nice summer brew, perfect for hot days and chilling outside day-drinking. But there was nothing special here…it was solid and worth trying. If someone brought one of these during a cookout, sure I’d drink it again...but would I buy a six-pack? Probably not.