Thursday, February 5, 2009

Southern Tier Raspberry Wheat

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (569) - Albany, USA - APR 30, 2010
I never really understood why craft breweries attempt to make fruit-themed brews since such beers by their very nature have a gimmicky connotation to them. The connoisseur looks down on them as beers for lightweights, yet the lightweight thinks they’re probably too crafty to enjoy. Southern Tier Raspberry Wheat is a good compromise for both parties in that its taste seems authentic, but it’s not quite a gold medal winner.


This beer poured normally to a light shade of gold. The body was clear and bubbling with carbonation, which quickly died down. It has a nice proportionate, bright white, foamy head which lasted quite a while, but did eventually dissolve completely. It left some lacing on the glass, but not much. The aroma of raspberry was strong in the nose, almost indicating it would be very sweet just from the scent.


As soon the beer hit me I immediately got the sensation of raspberry. But unlike other fruit-themed beers, Raspberry Wheat seemed to be equally complimented by an authentic taste of beer. The raspberry flavor was rich, but not sugary and didn’t taste like candy like so many other beers of the type.

What’s odd is that for a wheat beer this didn’t have many of the usual signs of such. Unlike a hefeweizen, this seemed to be a well-filtered beer, giving it a very clean, crisp taste. In fact, it might be too clean and a little too thin and watery. I also noticed as the beer’s carbonation settled down, the taste also flattened and didn’t seem quite as enjoyable as it did upon first taste.


Like other Southern Tier beers, I found Raspberry Wheat to have a soft mouthfeel and a clean, easy finish. When it comes to beers like this, I assume they are marketed for the non-connoisseur so drinkability probably plays as much, if not more of a role than taste. It did leave a strong, tart aftertaste which I wasn’t quite fond of.


I’m actually surprised Raspberry Wheat is a year-round offering instead of summer seasonal because it’s so light and easy to drink. At 4.5% ABV this is just a little heavier than most mass-market light and pale lagers. I was able to drink three bottles in a row and barely noticed the effect on my system. Again, if this is intended for Joe and Jane Six Pack, it would probably explain the weight (or lack thereof).


It’s interesting to note that the bottle states very clearly under the name, “malt beverage brewed with raspberries.” I felt this is something of an apology by the brewer to disclaim the fact this is a gimmicky beer. Whatever the case may be, I found it moderately enjoyable and I think others would, too.

Grade: 6/10

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