It’s an age old
question: the grape or the grain, which is superior? Hawaiian homebrewer
(and Samuel Adams employee) Lili Hess decided she would have none of such
nonsense. Instead, she would have the best of both worlds in her homebrewed
pale ale to which she added essence of grape and maple syrup.
Lili describes her beer as follows:
"It's like you are drinking a pale ale after biting into a fresh green seedless grape!"
She liked her creation so much, in fact, that she decided to enter it in her company’s annual LongShot homebrew competition. And, as fate would have it, the judges liked it, too, because they decided to make her recipe one of this year’s two winners (a break from last year when the LongShot sampler included two bottles each of three different beers).
Fruit beers, of course, are not uncommon, especially here in America where just about anything goes (the Belgians, too, are fond of making their beer a bit fruity at times). Pumpkins, cherries, raspberries, peaches, blueberries, even apples are all fair game. But grape beers? Those are a bit harder to find, though not entirely unheard of (England’s O’Hanlon brewery makes a Ruby Stout that, while not brewed with grapes, is fortified with port wine). But overall, there just seems to be some sort of taboo against mixing the soul of wine into the body of beer.
But as we said, Lili Hess decided she would have none of such nonsense.
LongShot Grape Pale Ale pours to a rich golden color with a light creamy head formation and a very light malt nose. Sipping the beer reveals a malt palate that’s somewhat on the lighter side, with crisp and biscuity malt immediately coming to the fore. So, there’s the grain. But where’s the grape, you ask? If you try, you can get a hint of fresh green grape, I think, but just a hint.
But that’s the interesting thing about this beer. It doesn’t accent the fruity flavors of grape so much, I think, as it does the dry, vinous qualities of wine. Along with that biscuity malt, of course, and a hint of richness imparted by the maple syrup. And it all combines to produce a delicate and drinkable beer.
I like Lili’s Grape Pale Ale well enough, though I don’t think it an extraordinary beer. The very dry finish intrigues me enough to give it three and a half stars.
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.