Here’s an interesting thought: how do you define tropical fruit? Most people probably don’t care, but I’m asking this question in the context of beer, and that makes it a truly pressing puzzle indeed. Here’s why I ask: many of today’s IPAs are said to have notes of tropical fruits thrown from the latest hop varieties (like Mosaic) that impart these flavors. Classic American IPA also has fruity notes but of grapefruit. So, is grapefruit a tropical fruit?
According to Wikipedia, it is not. They classify it as a “sub-tropical” fruit. The Sweetwater Brewery of Atlanta, Georgia, seems to be at odds with that with their Squeeze Box IPA with Grapefruit. To see why I say this, I’ll let them have a minute to tout their beer:
Slice open citrus heaven with this grapefruit laced IPA. Bright and crisp with five tropical hop additions and dosed with a shot of grapefruit, it’s a refreshing new squeeze.
Slice one open!
Nota bene: five tropical hop additions. OK, that’s interesting but lets look at the ingredients list from the website:
Grains – 2-Row, Munich, Wheat, 70/80, Midnight Wheat
Hops – Chinook, Cascade, Columbus, Simcoe, Goldings, Centennial
See what I mean? There are six hops here, and we can easily rule out Goldings as one of the hops Sweetwater is calling “tropical”. Goldings are a classic English hop variety with a distinctly grassy and herbal quality. So, let’s look at the other hops here. Chinook, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial are the classic West Coast “4C” hops, and they have been used alone or in various combinations since the dawn of the craft beer revolution in America. These hops are noted for resiny pine and yes, grapefruit notes. Not tropical ones.
Simcoe is said to throw off passionfruit aromas, so in my book that is the only one that can be really fairly called “tropical” (although it is a descendant of Cascade and can also impart citrus fruitiness.) However you slice it (pun intended), Sweetwater Squeezbox IPA with Grapefruit doesn’t really seem a tropical fruity IPA. Which is good. I prefer grapefruit anyway.
Sweetwater Squeezbox IPA with Grapefruit has an alcohol content of 6.1% by volume with 45 IBUs. This is a winter seasonal brew and I enjoyed a 20-ounce mug at Taco Mac on December 18th for just $5.50. It runs $9.99 a six-pack in bottles.
My mug of Sweetwater Squeeze Box IPA with Grapefruit arrived a bright amber orange color with a medium-sized head of creamy foam and big citrusy grapefruit aroma in the nose. Taking a sip, the beer has a medium caramel maltiness up front then it simply bursts with hoppy grapefruit and bitter peel notes, finishing long and dry.
I think this beer would be even better with a dash more malt, but as it is its chock full of real and hoppy grapefruit aroma and flavorful. I really love that.
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.