Avid readers of Belt’s Beer Garden might recall that just over a year ago I featured a beer called Neon Distraction - a hazy IPA from Divine Barrel. And, while the hoppy brew was solid, I have wanted to get my hands on a different style from the Charlotte, North Carolina brewery.
Divine Barrel specializes in wood-aged wilds and sours ales and, today, I finally get to try one of those specialities - a fruited Berliner Weisse called Zest Intentions.
Zest Intentions is a sour ale made with massive amounts of grapefruit, lemon, lime, and oranges that is meant to counter the heat of the Carolina summer. It was released the final week of April and features a 5.5% ABV. A four-pack of 16-ounce cans costs $15.
It poured a slightly opaque, shiny golden straw color with a moderate amount of head initially building up. The bright white bubbles reach about a finger in height before almost immediately fizzling away. After a minute, all that remains of the foam is a razor thin ring around the edge of the glass.
The lemon and lime lead the way in the aroma, with some bold sweet and tart characteristics. Some light orange notes, along with a soft bread quality from the yeast, sit underneath the lemon and lime. The scent of grapefruit was rather subdued, allowing those other fruits and grains to shine. I could tell this would have some sour notes to it but it didn’t seem like it would be too tart...it was very inviting.
However, my first swig had me puckering almost immediately. That first tart bite caught me off guard...even though I knew it’d be there. But, as with the smell, it was the lemon and lime that kick-started the taste with that sour, yet juicy, flavor.
After my first sip, and getting that initial sour shock out of the way, the beer was much more manageable and easy to drink. There was still a slight puckering effect that my mouth did involuntarily each time the beer hit my tongue but I was able to focus on the fruits and enjoy the beer a lot more the rest of the way.
I can see why this beer would be a massive hit down south every summer. The citrus really shines and blends into a very nice and refreshing Berliner. It’s not a heavy beer or an overly aggressive sour beer but, rather, had a great balance. The breadiness from the aroma was completely hidden and just served as a back up to the massive amount of fruit so Zest Intentions remained light and crushable.
It finished a bit sticky but, with all that citrus crammed inside, that’s to be expected. Outside of that stickiness the end was very crisp and clean.
I was able to crush this beer in like 10-15 minutes. It was such an easy drinking summer beer. The one downfall was that it was a bit more acidic...so if you drink it too fast it could sit funny in your stomach.
Otherwise, Zest Intentions is an amazing summer sour beer perfect for days out on the water. Divine Barrel knows what they’re doing when it comes to wild/sour ales.
Damn, this is good.