If ever there was
a beer of summer, this is the one: watermelon ale! Think about those things
you associate with summer: the Fourth of July, the beach, hot dogs,
hamburgers, watermelon. The latter is perfect in hot weather. Served ice
cold, sweet and succulent, juice dribbling down your chin as you eat it on a
hot summer afternoon. Watermelon in beer though? Why not! I happen to enjoy
fruit beers, and among the nearly 2400 beers I have sampled over the years a
watermelon brew is new to me.
I arrive at Coddington Brewpub in Middletown, RI around 8:45 on a Saturday
night in great anticipation of a new beer experience (something becoming
increasingly rare for me these days). The watermelon ale is not yet on. No
problem, I order a hefeweizen, another great summer beer. Cloudy yellow in
color, rich yeasty nose, crisp malty palate, light and refreshing with tart
wheat character. Clove and banana are here, along with a very quenching
finish. One of the best Hefes I have had made in this country, bar none.
Strongly reminiscent of Schneider Weiss with its big yeasty notes. The slice
of lemon is optional. This beauty doesn’t last long.
My order of tangy, slightly spicy boneless Buffalo wings arrives around
9:20. Still no watermelon ale, so I get an India Pale Ale. Gotta have hops
with my Buffalo wings. Crisp and malty, wonderful bitter finish, a great
beer and perfect choice with my appetizer. Around ten o’clock, I drain my
glass and look at the bartender hopefully.
“Is the watermelon ale on yet?” I ask.
“Not yet,” he replies, “we’re still waiting for the Cider Jack to kick.”
That’s OK. I order a Blueberry Cream. I am not leaving without trying the
watermelon ale. The Blueberry Cream will tide me over nicely, however. Rich
with fruit flavor, clean and refreshing, firm biscuit malt backbone and a
spoonful of blueberries added for good measure, this is a Coddington staple,
and a delicious one.
I slowly finish this one, it’s now 11 o’clock. I want my watermelon beer! I
inquire as to the libation that is so rudely interfering with my quest to
try this beer. It’s the Cider Jack Raspberry, so I order a pint to help
clear the way. Hey! They didn’t make this here and it’s not beer, but it’s
good! Somebody please drink some with me. Alas though no one did, and it
seemed fated that I would not taste watermelon beer this night. I did not
leave with a heavy heart however, as I had enjoyed so many other fine brews
this evening. In true Schwarzenegger style, I turned to the bartender and
vowed, “I’ll be back.”
The next night, I was. I brought a friend, and asked anxiously if the
watermelon was on yet. Ack! Not yet. So, my friend and I each ordered a pint
of the Cider Jack The first one poured fine, but as I watched intently the
second one began to spatter wildly. Yes! The keg was empty. The line was
cleaned, and I soon had a pint of the light golden colored brew before me.
The nose is delicate, light malt and just a touch of fruit are perceptible.
I finally take a sip: delicious! Crisp and refreshing, a light biscuity malt
body, a subtle touch of watermelon flavor and a gentle balance of hops in
the finish. The fruit adds character to the beer, but doesn’t make it sweet
or cloying. A wonderful beer, truly a slice of summer in a glass! Excuse me
now. I need to order another one.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.