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Belt’s Beer Garden: Pie Five!

Two pie-inspired beers: Westbrook’s Key Lime Pie Gose & Almanac’s Fruit Cobbler

This week things turned sour...but on purpose! I have two brews, both of which are quite tart and have been named after desserts (specifically pie), to share with you guys.

Up first, a South Carolina brewery you’ve probably heard of...and, if you haven’t, you should get to know them real quick.

Mount Pleasant is home to one of the best breweries in the country. Sadly, it’s not the Mount Pleasant that CMU fans will automatically think of but, rather, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Westbrook Brewing has been a staple of the Charleston suburb since opening their doors in 2010.

Westbrook offers five year-round beers and can be found in six states – Alabama, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and South Carolina – although most of their product stays in the Carolinas. Their tasty, sought-after, brews have allowed them to score some super high ratings. The brewery itself scores a 95 overall on, a 4.4 on BeerAdvocate, and a 4.0 on Untappd after nearly 700,000 check ins.

Today I have a spin on one of their year-round brews as I was able to track down a can of their Key Lime Pie Gose.

For this brew, they took their classic gose and infused it with cinnamon, coriander, key limes, sea salt, and vanilla. It’s available from March to October and has actually been rated even higher than most of their stuff, clocking in as the 12th best Leipzig-style gose on BeerAdvocate! A six-pack will cost you around $10 and each can of it has a 4% ABV.

This gose poured an opaque golden straw color with about half of a finger of white head appearing. The foam instantly fizzled away, leaving just a few patches of microscopic bubbles that sat around the edge of the glass.

Holy cow did this beer shock my senses. As with most goses, this brew had an incredibly tart aroma. This one, however, wasn’t your average gose…so, while the key limes burst through with a huge sour twinge up front, underneath there were notes of cinnamon and coriander and a vanilla sweetness.

My first sip began with a punch of mouth-puckering sour limes and a fizzle of carbonation that zipped across my tongue. But from there, the beer turned quite docile and very drinkable.

The coriander and cinnamon blended together, creating a very realistic graham cracker flavor that emulated the crust of the pie. The vanilla added a nice sweetness to the brew that slashes into the tartness of the key limes.

From there, the beer begins its quick decent and ends mostly clean. The vanilla and cinnamon linger for a moment or two afterwards but what really sticks with you afterwards is the scar from the incredibly tart beginning.

The gose seemed to burn a patch in my tongue on the inaugural sip (like those sour Warhead candies used to do) and then, with every additional swig, it would fizzle longer and longer. However, the good news is that the beer becomes less and less tart as you make your way through the can, allowing more of the pie aspects to come forward.

Key Lime Pie Gose’s flavors might not last terribly long, as within three or four seconds all of them have faded, but what a ride it is for those few short moments. Well worth that opening sour sting and the cost.

If you like key lime pie and are a fan of super tart brews…this is the perfect brew for you.

Next up, from the other side of the country, Almanac’s Fruit Cobbler.

Almanac Beer Co. hails from Alameda, California (a small island between San Francisco and Oakland) and has been around since 2010. Known for producing a plethora of amazing sour and barrel-aged beers, they recently began canning some of their brews for distribution as well.

You can find them in 25 states across the country (mostly the West and Great Lakes regions) but, be warned, most of their single bottles are a bit on the pricier side…however, from the few Almanac brews I’ve had before, you certainly get what you pay for.

Today I have one of those barrel-aged bottles, Fruit Cobbler.

Fruit Cobbler is a sour farmhouse ale aged in oak barrels and with blueberries, peaches, and spices added. A 12.68-ounce bottle set me back $7 and has a decent 6.3% ABV.

When poured, a wave up bubbles fizzled upwards about a finger high, topping the cloudy copper colored beer, before immediately fading away and leaving the beer with no head what-so-ever.

On the nose, this farmhouse had an incredibly tart kick to it. Behind the tartness, the barrel-ageing added a woody/oaky characteristic and some pumpkin pie-like spices could be picked up. However, the fruits were hidden almost entirely in the aroma.

The first sip started with some moderate carbonation and a sour zing that quickly gave way to a rush of flavors.

Vanilla and spices (mostly cinnamon and nutmeg) washed over my taste buds and really cut into the beer’s tart aspects and calmed everything down some. The spices were a great addition as they really allowed the brew to taste like a cobbler while not overpowering all aspects of the beer.

The peaches and blueberries were, once again, more subdued than the other flavors but at least they were somewhat noticeable in the taste. The fruits added a sweetness later on in the beer but, as the spices had faded some by then, they were accompanied by a late sour spike that lasted for a brief moment.

As Fruit Cobbler started its decent, it ended rather cleanly. There was no dryness that stuck to my palate, no lingering flavors, just a hint of acidity that burned some towards the back of my throat.

What a tasty sour beer. Perfect for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday or, really just fall in general…much better than any pumpkin spice beverage (and the 6.3% ABV is an added bonus).

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