I don’t know about you, but I really love pineapple. There’s nothing like cutting off a slice from a fresh pineapple and taking a big bite, savoring the bright zesty flavors as the juice dribbles down your chin. Unless, of course, it’s tossing a few slices on the grill, and then enjoying all those aforementioned tropical flavors accented by a gentle smokiness.
OK, all well and good you say, but what does that have to do with beer? More than you’d think, actually. Some Belgian yeasts at higher levels of fermentation (as in tripels and Belgian strong ales) have long been recognized to throw off pineapple fruity notes. Today, the new hop varieties like Mosaic are also well known for their tropical fruit notes, including pineapple.
But how about a beer actually brewed with pineapple? Other than Belgium’s De Troch Exotic Lambic (made with pineapple), I’ve only come across Samuel Adams Longshot Pineapple IPA. Part of the 2014 Longshot six-pack and a 2013 Longshot Contest winner, this is an IPA made with pineapple juice added.
Samuel Adams Longshot Pineapple IPA is the homebrew recipe of Boston Beer’s own Teresa Bury. It is accompanied by an American Stout and a Gratzer in the six-pack, and Teresa had this to say about brewing it in an interview on the Sam Adams Longshot website:
The pineapple was a challenging ingredient because of the acidity from the fruit – I couldn’t put it in the boil because it would kill the yeast. I had to add it in the secondary fermentation. I thought I nailed it on the first and second batches, but definitely had some failed batches in there because of the added challenge of using pineapple.
Perhaps the answer why we so rarely see pineapple beers…..
Samuel Adams Longshot Pineapple IPA is hopped with all American hops: Citras, Simcoes, Amarillos, and Chinooks. It has an alcohol content of 6% by volume. I paid $9.99 for my six-pack, and my bottles of Pineapple IPA have a best by date of August, 2014.
Samuel Adams Longshot Pineapple IPA pours to a bright golden color with a medium head of creamy foam and a soft fruity nose of fresh pineapples but not much hops. Taking a sip, the beer is malty at first with a bit of caramel, a hint of butter and then lots of bright pineapple flavor, though not so much that they overpower. Not getting the grapefruit so much. There’s a bit of grassy hop flavor in the finish, but not so much as I expect in an IPA. More an old school English IPA I think, with some fruity pineapple for fun. A beer for pineapple lovers (like me) if not IPA lovers.
The neck label, it should be noted, touts the beer’s “punch of grapefruit hop character of a classic IPA”. I didn’t get that so much, and would also argue it is perhaps the character of a classic American IPA, though not a classic IPA in the true sense of the style.
Still, a beer I would buy again.
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.