Ale is an underrated style, IMHO, and breweries that can do it well are
worth applauding. It’s not too often you see major deviation or
supplication to the style, but in the case of Rare Form’s Royal Toasted
Coconut Cream Ale, the addition of the toasted coconut complements the
tropical fruit-flavored hops quite well. My only complaint is that it
doesn’t really taste or drink like a true cream ale, but rather some
kind of blonde ale (I actually kind of like the overt corn taste in
traditional cream ales as well as the lager-like crisp body).
I poured a 16oz growler fill into a tulip glass. It cost $8 ($0.50 per ounce).
Appearance: IPA-like orange hue; fairly cloudy; little visible
carbonation. Pours to a fairly large, white, soapy head but it nearly
completely dissipates and leaves no lacing.
Smell: Mostly coconut with mild tropical fruit scent. Pleasant.
Taste: This is exactly the kind of palette I would associate with a
tropical location (and a brewery located in such a place). I’m not sure
which hops are used in the brew, but they provide for a light fruity
scent and matching flavor: minor notes of guava, papaya and passion
fruit. Though I would not consider it to be citrusy or “juicy” tasting.
The toasted coconut is impossible to ignore – and for good reason. It’s
noticeable right away, but really comes out on the finish. It combines
with the hops to create for an interesting synergy of mild bitterness
and slight astringency. Maybe even a candy flavor. While all this is
nice, I do find the beer to be a little simple and repetitive. The corn
is a little too subtle, actually. All in all, it’s certainly a unique
brew to say the least.
Drinkability: At 6.2% ABV, Rare Form Royal Toasted Coconut Cream Ale is a
bit bigger than your average cream ale. It also has the body of a
stronger beer and the mouthfeel to match. Instead of being light-bodied
and crisp like most, it’s remarkably more viscous and slightly tepid. I
will say this is extremely smooth and easy going down, but I would not
consider it refreshing. A lighter, more crisp version would be ideal,
but this is pretty nice.