Name – Fruit Beer
Brewer – Belhaven
Classification – Premium flavoured ale
Strength – 4.6% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Deep chestnut red. By no means ugly.
On the nose – Potent rich fruits (quelle surprise!) and buttery roasted malts.
On the tongue – Fruity. There, I've said it. But this is by no means a one trick pony...(read on)
On the subject – And so, I reach the last of my Belhaven batch. (Sob, snuffle...). These are great beers. Their tendency to be full-bodied, malt-friendly and gently sweet make them traditional feeling Scottish ales for sure, but the range is varied enough and the individual recipes are dynamic enough to appeal to all tastes, without exception. I've certainly enjoyed every one of them.
On the market – Greene King's guiding hand is brining these beers to a wider market, but if your supermarket doesn't yet stock this one, go online at the brewery's own web store.
On the whole – 8/10
On the whole – 8/10
Boy, was I cautious.
You might even say I was wary.
I mean, 'Fruit Beer' is one heck of a name. The possibilities are endless in terms of what is actually about to enter your mouth, and given my long established difficulties with certain beers (from certain breweries) which habitually play the 'fruit card'... well, let's just say this could have been a real train wreck.
But it wasn't.
Not a single locomotive came to harm.
The good news doesn't end their, either, because far from being a disaster – this beer turned out to be something of a surprise hit.
It's actually quite lovely stuff.
In these days of increasing obsession with dark-berried fruits and high intensity citrus, this is actually quite a 'now' feeling brew, because there's plenty of all of that on show here.
Yes, there's slightly more of an overt 'sweetness' to the citrus than you might find in a 'modern trendy', and maybe the dark berries aren't as quite so deliberately potent and immediate, but then, maybe that's to be grateful for, because it certainly gives this drink a 'sessionable' quality which many of the new beers can lack. Quite simply, one of these is not enough.
The malts here are firm and delicious, but it's definitely a supporting role in this case. It's those juicy, newly ripened fruits – notably blackberry and strawberry, but with suggestions of peach, gooseberry and cherry – which steal the focus in this beer, and they do so in some style without ever overacting.
From start to finish, the fruits and the malts are offset beautifully with an essential and skilfully pitched bitterness.
It's a Belhaven beer for sure, and to be able to notice that is a credit to the team up in Dunbar, whose fabulously characterful ales I've enjoyed tremendously, and will certainly be doing so again.