Review Date 7/12/2008
You may have
heard about it in the news awhile back. A fire at the historic F.X.
Matt/Saranac Brewery in Utica, New York on May 29th caused major damage to
the company’s bottling and canning operations, though their brew house was
fortunately unaffected. There’s good news, however: as of July 2008, the
brewery has its bottling line up and running again, though beer still has to
be shipped out to other companies for canning.
But Saranac beers will still be hitting store shelves far and wide for a
long time to come, and that’s the best news of all. And while Saranac may
not be a name that beer geeks whisper with tones of reverence, it is one
that does inspire much affection with most of them. That’s because the
company produces a wide range of styles at reasonable prices distributed far
And every once in a while, they produce something novel the likes of Saranac Pomegranate Wheat. Summer, of course, is certainly the time for refreshing wheat-based fruit beers if ever there is one. And while there are lots of them out there made from all different types of fruit, you won’t see a lot of them made with pomegranate (I don’t recall ever seeing one before Saranac’s, as a matter of fact).
Saranac uses pomegranate juice to make this one, and they don’t filter the beer, leaving yeast in the bottle. You may actually see some of it left in the bottom of the bottle, but don’t worry, it won’t hurt you, and its even good for you. Two row barley malt, white wheat malt, and Columbus hops are all used here, and the beer has an alcohol content of 4.7% by volume.
Saranac Pomegranate Wheat pours to a cloudy yellowish color lightly tinted with orange. A creamy white head forms a top the liquid, and a light layer of Brussels lace follows the liquid down the sides of the glass as you sip. The nose yields a light fruity aroma of fresh pomegranate.
Pomegranate is a delicate flavor when the fruit is eaten fresh, and thus I was expecting a light fruit flavor here, too. And that’s what I got, a soft, juicy bit of fruit flavor juxtaposed against the tartness of the wheat beer base. Indeed, sipping Saranac’s Pomegranate Wheat is almost akin to nudging the soft fruit from the nutty seeds, with the wheat and gentle hop bitterness much like the latter.
There’s a gentle creaminess to the palate, too, that makes this one especially drinkable. Wheat beers aren’t generally hoppy, but Columbus hops provide a gentle bitterness that keeps this one from being overly sweet, the fatal flaw of many a wheat beer.
A very nice summer refresher, worthy of three and a half stars, especially since it's a bargain at $6.50 a six-pack.
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.