Tuesday Tastings: Space Fruit, Great Punkin, Ovila Abbey Quad

Seeing press releases for the Portland Fruit Beer Festival next month puts me in the mood to review some fruit beers for this week’s Tuesday Tastings.

Coalition Brewing Space Fruit IPA

Coalition Brewing Space Fruit IPASpace Fruit is Portland, Oregon-based Coalition’s entry into the citrus-infused India Pale Ale trend. This year’s version is currently being bottled and I believe this will be showing up and making the rounds at the various festivals. I don’t have a specific description but Untappd says:

A special seasonal India Pale Ale brewed with five different citrus zests, accompanied with a light malt backbone to give a substantial dry and tasty west coast finish.

At 7% abv it’s solidly in the Northwest IPA range.

Appearance: Pale golden yellow, a bit of haze. Fluffy white head, lacy with nice legs.

Smell: Lightly bready with hints of citrus peel, almost like a White IPA or Witbier. Hops have a spicy kick to them.

Taste: Bread crust and grapefruit peel. Other bitter citrus peel notes as well. It’s got a nice refreshing zest to it, solid bitterness up front. Kind of a pithy bitterness at the back, and a really nice breadiness throughout.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, light and zesty finish.

Overall: Interesting, and makes a good summer beer.

Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer

Renaissance Brewing Enlightenment Great Punkin

Renaissance Brewing Enlightenment Great PunkinYes, I slipped a pumpkin ale into this week’s tastings, but pumpkin is botanically a fruit so it counts. Renaissance Brewing is located in New Zealand and was established in 2005 and has since been collecting awards and acclaim on that side of the globe. Their Enlightenment series is their experimental, outside-the-box range of beers, some of which are one-offs. I don’t think the Great Punkin is a one-off, but I can’t be sure either.

The description of Great Punkin as it appears on RateBeer is:

“Great Punkin” Brewed with roasted pumpkin and a blend of spices to yield ’pumpkin pie’ notes and a deep red/orange colour. Lightly hopped with NZ Fuggle and fermented with ale yeast; medium body and moderate bitterness allow the flavour of pumpkin, spice and caramelized malts to shine through.

Appearance: Brown color that matches the brown of the bottle glass, with a minimal head that vanished quickly.

Smell: Chocolate, pumpkin pie spices, caramelized sugar. Sweet, creamy, slightly artificial like a pumpkin pie latte (syrup?).

Taste: Very sweet, almost cloying. Vaguely chocolatey, with caramel, some spices, but it’s the sweet character running right through the middle that dominates. A touch of chocolate and hints of squash show up at the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a cloyingly sweet, thick feel.

Overall: Not bad, but too sweet for my taste, and with a touch of that artificial spice character reads like a syrupy pumpkin coffee drink.

Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer

Sierra Nevada Ovila Abbey Quad with Plums

Sierra Nevada Ovila Abbey Quad with PlumsSierra Nevada’s collaboration Ovila series are possibly some of the most underrated beers I’ve tasted in a while. It’s a great concept:

Our Ovila® Abbey Ales series is a collaboration with the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, CA. Each beer is a modern twist on a traditional Belgian-style abbey ale—monastic inspiration and American innovation.

And of this beer specifically they say:

Ovila Abbey Quad is heady with aromas of caramel, rich malt, and dark fruit balanced by the spiciness and delicate fruity notes of a traditional Belgian yeast. This complex beer is a collaboration between Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux. It features sugar plums grown on the grounds of the Abbey and harvested by the monks in Vina.

It’s a whopping 10.2% abv so I really appreciate the smaller bottle size these come in.

Appearance: Dark brown with ruby(ish) highlights; nice bit of light brown head that broke fairly quickly but leaving nice legs.

Smell: Rich, malty, and fruity, with a restrained Belgian yeast character. Brown sugar, toffee, caramelized/lightly burnt sugar, dark fruits. A bit of leather, spicy phenols. Very nice.

Taste: Straightforward  and very good: a malty, fruity Quad with a rich, molasses-y character and a hint of roasty malts. Malty-sweet character that’s not cloying, a nice depth of malt grain complexity. You cannot tell it’s 10.2% abv, it hides it nicely. Very tasty, a nice dessert sipper.

Mouthfeel: Medium-to-full-bodied with a nice dry, fruity finish.

Overall: One of the best-valued beers I’ve had lately (only cost $3.79 at the time). Very nice, a textbook Quad, very enjoyable and super drinkable.

Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer