Nick Carr on June 6, 2016 0 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery: New Belgium Brewing Co. Location: Fort Collins, CO Style: Fruit-Vegetable/Golden Ale ABV: 5.0% IBU: 14 Appearance: Vibrant gold with tightly-packed white head; Good retention with medium carbonation; Great clarity. Aroma: Soft vegetal aromas with a whisper of lime; Soft graininess & low fruitiness; Hints of herbal & grassy notes. Flavor: Honeyed maltiness with light watermelon; Lime adds citrus saltiness & tart; Notes of herbal hops; Dry finish. Hops: Nugget Malts: Pale & Caramel-80 Special Ingredients: Watermelon & lime peel Shelf Life: ≈3 to 6 months Suggested Glass: Tulip Serving Temp: 48° – 50°F Availability: Summer Seasonal Pairs With: Bruschetta with Mozzarella, Watermelon Salad with Feta, Strawberry Cheesecake This week we have a brand new summer seasonal for a brand new, barely startin’, only just beginning summer. This, like many of the summer beers taking to the shelves for the summer, brings with it an element of extra fruitiness. New Belgium hasn’t been keeping much of their seasonal line around from year to year lately. I don’t know if this is because they just like making new stuff or if they are having trouble finding a recipe that can hold its own across multiple years. Hopefully it’s the former. For the summer seasonal they haven’t had a beer hold more than a two year slot since the run Skinny Dip had from 2006 to 2010. In 2011 and 2012 it was Somersault, in 2013 it was Rolle Bolle -a beer I didn’t even get a chance to try-, in 2014 it was Helles Helles, then in 2015 Skinny Dip made a one year comeback. And here we are 2016, and Heavy Melon; a summer blonde with watermelon and lime peel. Sounds inviting. Sounds seasonally appropriate. Sound like just the thing to chill the scorch on a summer day or lull a balmy evening to sleep. Maybe this one will stick for awhile. I, like most, enjoy a slice or two of watermelon to drive off the summer heat, but unlike some, it’s not a flavor I actively go searching for. If it’s there I enjoy it for what it is, but I don’t buy it, even in the dead of summer. Why? I don’t know. I think maybe I enjoy the idea of watermelon and it’s iconic place in the summer season more than the actual melon itself. A scene always pops into my head when watermelon is mentioned. A sandy-haired boy, 6 or 7, sits in a too-big-chair on a front porch, his legs dangling and joyously swinging, as he chews on a big slice of watermelon; the juices of summer dripping down his face and off his chin. Ah, summer… Maybe this beer can be the adult watermelon, at least for one glorious summer. The lime peel is added during the boil to help extract the oils while the natural watermelon juice is added to the fermentor to capture a better iteration of its nuanced and delicate flavors without adding a whole mess of unfermented sugar to the beer. The watermelon juice comes from Sentinel watermelons sourced from Horse Heaven Hills in Yakima Valley. New Belgium says it’s been working on this recipe for over a year with several different iterations put to a practice recital at their tap room. When they finally released the final Heavy Melon at the tasting room it was the biggest hit they’d had in years. Hum, my interest is piqued…. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Heavy Melon. If you tasted this beer, please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Heavy Melon sits in the glass crystal clear and vibrant gold after the pour. A one finger white head of tightly packed small bubbles forms at the top. Retention is moderately good and medium-high carbonation does a good job of feeding the leveling foam. Soft vegetal aromas — squash-like and reminding me of some pumpkin beers — but then the lime adds its whisper and the memory is suddenly wrong. Soft graininess, low fruitness, along with touches of herbal/grassy notes. Mouthfeel and Taste: Mouthfeel has a light, but rounded touch with only slight prickling. Body is a light medium. Taste is of honeyed maltiness, light raw cereal, along with light watermelon. The lime adds a citrus saltiness and there’s slight tartness. Mid-palate into the end I catch some herbal spiciness from the hops which dance rather nicely with the melon flavors. Finish is drying. Aftertaste is rather strange and disjointed somehow, with a failing — maybe cause it’s dying — companionship of watermelon and raw cereal malt. FINISHING THOUGHTS This is definitely a friend of summer. For me the watermelon worked better here than in Ballast Points Double IPA; less artificial jolly rancher watermelon and more reserved hints of real melon. Still, the aftertaste got me a bit, a slight clash between the malt flavors and the melon, but nothing to dramatic. Overall an easy drinking, light, and satisfying rendition of liquid summer. Cheers!