Medium thickness on the matt, black foil reveals a corked & caged bottle. Pop on opening is, as expected, quite strong with a smattering of gunsmoke. Cork shows a 2010 vintage.
Label tells us this is a ‘Malt Beverage’ with natural flavors and contains Acesulfame-K (a sweetener I guess). Matured on cherries it contains natural fruit flavors including cherry, raspberry, bilberry, elderberry and strawberry and contains barley malt. I must admit that I had not herd of bilberries before. Pour offers a bright red, raspberry syrup colored appearance. Quite striking and frankly a little artificial looking. Head is tiny and does not last. There is a very, very, very fine amount of foam left behind after all is said and done.
The nose offers a strong, sweet collection of ripe, red fruits; cherry, strawberry and raspberry are detectable to me with the Cherry being the strongest and reminding me of the Bassett’s Cherry Drops I ate as a kid. The tastes are very sweet with very, very little other than a sweet, cherry element and a slightly more tart finish. The aftertaste introduces a little strawberry syrup but even then cherry still dominates for me. Any elderberry floral, subtle notes that one might expect is not present and in any case would probably be overwhelmed by the other, stronger elements.
The carbonation is the interesting thing here. Fine bubbles and lively, it imparts a slightly chalky note to the beer which actually tempers a little of the sweetness.
Look, this is just about the least complex fruit beer you will ever find. If you are not in the mood for a sweet, cherry bomb then stay away; there’s very little else here. Lambic this isn’t (and to be fair it’s not really suggesting that it is), and although it isn’t quite as alarmingly sweet/artificial as many of the Lindemans offerings of the same ilk, it’s definitely getting there. Unfortunately, I feel it really sits closer to wine cooler/alcopop than it does to fruit beer, but having said that I don’t dislike it as such.
$9.99, Arbor Place Beverage, Douglasville, GA