We all know what a UFO, is, right? An Unidentified
Flying Object, of course. Well, not always. In the case of Boston,
Massachusetts’s Harpoon Brewing Company, UFO stands for “Unfiltered
Offering”, basically meaning that the beer is bottle-conditioned with yeast.
is an unfiltered wheat beer; an unfiltered pale ale has also been offered.
So let’s get one thing straight: there’s nothing wrong with fruit in your beer. Some beer geeks hate it, but I love it. And while the Germans are more liable to add a dash of raspberry syrup to their Berliner-Weisse style than their Hefeweizen, the Belgians serve a tasty framboise raspberry wheat beer all the time. I say, if it tastes good, drink it.
And Harpoon’s Raspberry Hefeweizen tastes good. My samples were brewed at the company’s Windsor, Vermont facility. The beer is very lightly hopped and has only 10 IBUs of bitterness. The natural tartness of the wheat also helps to balance off the fruit flavor here, as is the case with most wheat beers. Alcohol is average at 4.8% by volume. Introduced in 2006, UFO Hefeweizen is also one of Harpoon’s newest beers.
Harpoon UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen pours to a hazy pinkish color with a rocky cauliflower head and a (surprise) fruity berry nose. Taking a sip, I don’t expect a great deal of complexity, and I don’t get it. I do get some tart crackery wheat, though, and then a lot of fruity raspberry flavor. The beer finishes tart, well balanced and refreshing, and not at all sweet.
OK, I’m going to take a hit on this one from the anti-fruit beer league, but I really like this one. There’s nothing wrong with fruit beer, after all; it can be a fine seasoning just like hops. And I think this one is done well, with lots of raspberry flavor, but still, the beer is not at all cloying or overly sweet.
Harpoon doesn’t use a classic Bavarian yeast strain, so you don’t get any clove or banana flavor. But that’s OK, since they’re trying to focus on the raspberry here anyway. Talking to Harpoon’s Rich Boyer some years ago, it was clear that with the UFO beers, Harpoon was going after the success of Pacific Northwest beers like Widmer Hefeweizen rather than German ones.
And they’ve succeeded at that. Harpoon Raspberry Hefeweizen is a remarkably refreshing, eminently quaffable brew perfect for hot summer and warm fall weather.
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.