Fearful Symmetries

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10 February, 2016

Just Like the Beach at Waikiki: Pineapple Kumquat Berliner Weiße by Perennial Artisan Ales



I was a bit surprised to discover that I have never reviewed a beer from Perennial Artisan Ales. While I've tasted their beer previously I've never sat down with a bottle and written an account of what happened next. Well, that's about to change. Indeed, this will be the first of a trio of reviews featuring brews from the St. Louis brewery.

To be honest, it wasn't until last year that I paid much attention to Perennial. This is not intended as a slight because I've had their beer at the Great Taste of the Midwest and was never suitably unimpressed. I suppose that my eyes just wandered elsewhere when confronted with the sinfully sizable selection of beers to be had on store shelves. I don't think the human brain evolved to handle quite so many options. It is keen on two at a time – fight or flight, hot or cold, ale or beer, and so on. Anyway, I noticed a Perennial Berliner Weiße appear on the shelf at some point last year. And then another one did a couple months later. And then yet another one.

First up is Pineapple Kumquat Berliner Weiße. The label says it was bottled in 8/2015 which means the bier was about six months old when it was poured into my maw. Despite being a style with relatively low alcohol, I've had Berliner Weißes older than this which were fine. Kept away from light and cool, I think a Berliner Weiße will keep for a while. Perhaps it's the acidity that keeps them it good shape.

Pineapple Kumquat poured a light yellow. It was cloudy, as was expected, and topped with a big, firm white head that dissipated rather quickly. As befitting a "Champagne of the North", it was quite effervescent with lots of bubbles inside the beer moving on up.

The aroma brought images of women bearing leis and libations garnished with small umbrellas to mind with its rather pungent tropical fruit smell. It was easy to discern the pineapple but it had been ages since I'd been confronted with a kumquat which is a small orange-like citrus fruit. There was a big lemony tartness from the lactic acid bacteria which was joined to a non-lemon citrus component which I presume to have been the kumquat.

Despite the ability of the beer's smell to conjure images of a luau, the tropical fruits were rather mild in the taste. Again I was able to discern the pineapple and there was an overall tropical fruitiness but the bier had to warm up a bit before the fruit really tasted anywhere near as prominent as the aroma suggested. I was also able to taste a little grain after the bier had its chilly edge taken off. The lemony lacto tartness was quite big on first sip and it retained a pronounced sourness throughout my session. (I do believe that I drank the whole bottle.)

For the finish, the tropical fruit flavors faded which allowed the lacto tartness to linger. This combined with the carbonation made for a rather clean and dry ending. Schaumhaftvermoegen was minimal with just a few small spots of foam.

This was a rather well-carbonated bier. With its light body and fizzy taste, it made me wish that it was summer instead of the bowels of winter. I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of pineapple and kumquat but felt that the tropical fruit flavor was too subdued. While I wasn't looking for huge fruit flavor as if I had drank it mit Schuss, I was rather hoping for something more than a pineapple/kumquat accent. There was a hint of sweetness from the fruits which rounded off the lactic tartness just a little bit. And that tartness was big and it stayed that way more or less the whole time. Perennial really nailed the sour here, in my humble opinion. Despite my desire for a more substantial tropical fruit flavor, this is still a very tasty brew.

Junk food pairing: Pineapple Kumquat is a light, fizzy bier. (It rolls in at 4.2% A.B.V.) This being the case, keep your food pairings on the light side as well. I prefer plain potato chips or some lime-chili tortilla chips.

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|| Palmer, 6:19 AM

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