Nick Carr on March 1, 2018 2 Comments Photo Credit: New Belgium Brewing Quick Characteristics Brewery New Belgium Brewing Location Fort Collins, CO Style Berliner Weisse-Style (Fruit Beer) ABV 4.2% IBU 8 Hops Nugget Malts Pale and White Wheat Other Ingredients Raspberry & Lime Puree Shelf Life Enjoy within 3 to 6 months Suggested Glass Tulip, Goblet, or Weizen Glass Serving Temp 46-54°F Availability Rotating Food Pairings Fish Tacos, Summer Salad, Havarti Cheese, Raspberry Cheesecake If you live somewhere New Belgium distributes it’s likely you’re familiar with the name “Tartastic.” The first Tartastic (Lemon Ginger Sour) was released last year as a year-round offering. Its quick rise to the position of a fan favorite, no doubt, drove New Belgium to look at how they might capitalize on its popularity. The announcement of a new Tartastic Fruit Series, and the release of Tartastic Raspberry Lime is the brewery’s answer. This series is also supposed to be the New Belgium’s take on radlers and shandies, which Ros Koenigs, Brewer at New Belgium, described in the news release for this beer as usually being, “overly sweet” and “almost artificial in flavor.” I have to agree with his assessment here. All the shadies and radlers I’ve tried, were too sweet and slightly artificial tasting… makes me hopeful for this beer. He goes on to say that the New Belgium’s goal was “to let the fruits’ natural sweetness shine through while being complimented and enhanced by blending with a kettle sour.” Kettle souring is a way of introducing some lactobacillus acidity into a beer during brewing. To do this: after mashing and running off the wort (beer before it is fermented) a culture of lactobacillus is pitched and allowed to grow for a time before the wort is fermented by the yeast. It is an old practice, which was also used historically to make the styles Gose and Berliner Weisse. The exploration of fruit in beer (something New Belgium is known for) has a long tradition in Belgian brewing. But, with the addition of kettle souring, they are exploring a facet of Belgian brewing history that hasn’t gotten as much attention…. An interesting new step in the evolution of craft beer. Time to see how it all comes together. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking New Belgium’s Tartastic Raspberry Lime Ale. If you have tasted this beer, or have one in front of you as you read this review, please let me know if you agree with my assessment and share your own thoughts with everyone down in the comments below. The Pour: In the glass, this iteration of Tartastic is a light pink color, almost strawberry-like. Clarity is good and carbonation seems to be pushing a high-medium, visually. A finger of pink-white foam sits atop. Head retention is good. Slight lacing down the glass. The Aroma: On the nose, I get a fruity wheat aroma. Some raspberry and strawberry, light cherry. With the wheat aroma, the delicate smell reminds me of those cereals with dehydrated strawberries in them… you put the milk in and, as the strawberries start to hydrate, the aromas come. There’s a noticeable whisper of lime. Overall, it’s fruity and bright. The Mouthfeel: The body is light, but rounded by the wheat. Across the palate it runs smooth and round with light creaminess. Very low sourness with a medium dry finish. The Taste: This one is slightly sweet at the front. It’s fruity with little sign of artificiality; kind of a mild fruit punch mix of raspberry and strawberry. I have to stretch a bit to find the lime, but I think it’s there, just sly and subtle. A very dim tartness stretches from mid-palate to the finish. Hints of low cereal along the way, but especially in the aftertaste. FINISHING THOUGHTS I’m not really sure what to think of this beer. It’s certainly unique. On the whole, I think Tartastic Raspberry Lime does quite a few things right. To my palate, they’ve hit the mark they were aiming for when compared to radlers. It doesn’t taste artificial to me, and the sweetness level is dialed way back when compared to other fruit beers and radlers, specifically. The mouthfeel is also quite pleasant; light, yet round and smooth (this all thanks to the wheat). I might have liked to see it a little more sour, but this points more to my own tastes than anything else. And, there’s no doubt that this would be a great introduction for someone a little apprehensive of sour beers. I think most lemonade may be sourer than this beer. Overall, Tartastic Raspberry Lime is not a bad beer. It’s pretty good. Though, I’m not sure I’d drink it again, as it’s not quite in my realm of style preference… but, I can certainly appreciate the draw this beer will have to many, especially as the warmer spring season starts to blossom. Let me know what you think down below. Cheers!