Reviewed: Wiley Roots Watermelon Limeade Slush
Product description:Watermelon Limeade Slush is inspired by summertime picnics. Using the same base beer, hand puréed seedless watermelons and Persian limes are added to create the perfect combination of earthy watermelon aromatics along with a mildly sweet watermelon flesh and rind flavor. These characteristics dominate the first impressions of the beer with slightly acidic undertones of lime that push through, creating a unique complexity that balances the overall watermelon fruit profile.Wiley Roots Brewing Company – Wiley Roots Watermelon Limeade Slush – 16oz can served in lambic tumbler – 4.6% ABV
Recently, I had the privilege of sampling a nice variety of beers from Wiley Roots (Greeley, CO). Perhaps the most original beers in their portfolio are those in the Slush series, which takes over a dozen different slushie flavors and transforms them into kettle sours. Recently, they are available as mixed 4-packs, which is what I was able to pick up. It’s unclear if these are meant to be Berliner Weisses or goses or none of the above. For now, we’ll just consider them to be wheat-driven kettle sours, i.e. not barrel-aged. Though Wiley Roots has some upscale barrel-aged sour beers in their portfolio such as the 375mL corked & caged Packed With Peaches, I found the Slush beers to have an overall nicer acid profile with original flavors like Cherry Limeade, Orange Blossom, and California Limeade, which includes coconut and hibiscus. I liked all of them, but I’m writing up a review of the Watermelon.
From a 16oz can with some fun 1950s roadside diner graphic design, Watermelon Limeade Slush is a fully hazy, rusty orange color in the glass with thicker white foam that sticks around longer than usual for a sour ale. Green and rindy cucumber water dominates the aroma from the watermelon addition. It’s probably not the sweeter and juicy aroma that was intended, but it smells refreshing like a spa.
The first few sips give you a powerful lemonade kick with acidity peaking at a 6 out of 10. Citric acid dominates here with some mouth-puckering tartness that one friend described as “sour patch kids” and another as “Granny Smith apple.” In the mid-palate, cucumber flavors dominate for me as I get much more of the green rindy portion of the watermelon versus the red, juicy portion. However, my wife trying this blind immediately thought “watermelon Jolly Rancher,” so perhaps the flavor is more spot-on than I’m letting on. Ample lactic acid and wheat flavors combine for a milky, creamy mouthfeel. I like that this beer isn’t salty like a gose and wholly lacks stinging acetic acid (vinegar), which was one of my issues with the Packed with Peaches sour. Carbonation remains high and sourness never goes over 6/10. It’s a bright and refreshing beer that excels in the base beer.
However, with the fruit addition here, I’m not sure that the exact parts of what make a watermelon delicious were captured. I think the beer could use at least a touch of sugar to allow more flavors to pop. As it stands, sugar is at a 0/10, which does rob the beer of some balance. Still, I’m impressed overall with the Slush series as they uniformly nailed the kettle sour base beer. For the different fruit additions, some worked better than others. The Cherry Limeade was probably the overall favorite of our crowd, though I didn’t take in-depth notes on that one. The California Limeade (with coconut and hibiscus) and Orange Blossom did not work as well for me. That placed the Watermelon right in the middle. The gist is that the base beer for this series is solid with each fruit addition the icing on the cake. I should add that watermelon flavors are notoriously difficult to capture in beer when you aren’t using artificial ingredients. For that reason, I was happy to try something this unique that didn’t try to cheat with flavor additives. It’s my personal opinion that some aspects could be improved, but it’s refreshing and delicious as-is. My only regret is that I didn’t have more Slush beers during our recent heat wave in Southern California.
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