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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Revolution Brewing Co.'s Rosa Hibiscus Ale

  • Style: Herbed/Spice Ale
  • ABV: 5.80%
  • Season: Summer
  • Color: Rosy pink (don't judge.)  Reminded me of a gorgeous looking Rose` wine in appearance 
  • Head: 1 finger slightly tinted pink head with good retention and nice lacing
  • Aroma:  Fruity and slightly floral (hibiscus.)  Sweet and tart.  Soft pale malt notes as well. 
  • Mouthfeel: Light and fizzy.  Slightly dry with a good amount of carbonation
  • Finish: Short and slightly dry.  Easy to drink and especially so on a warm summer's day
  •  Food friendly: Light summer meals would work best.  Try with salads with a fruit component (like pomegranate seeds or strawberries) or lightly marinated grilled chicken or pork.  Serve it with a goat cheese with light floral notes.

Is pink the new amber?  There was a time where I wouldn't touch pink wine.  I associated it with white zinfandel (which, let's face it, is just rose colored sugar water.  Do us all a favor and drink a Fresca instead.)  But then I took a trip to Italy and discovered the pleasures of a well done Rose`.  Dry.  Crisp.  And, yes, pink.  So when I learned about Revolution Brewing's  summer seasonal, Rosa Hibiscus Ale I was kind of excited to give it a try.  Not that I was a huge fan of Hibiscus.  Or had known what a Hibiscus smelled like.   Or had one iota of what a Hibscius even looked like.  Let's face it.  I was so Hibiscus ignorant that I didn't even realize that as I was sipping a pint of Rosa in my backyard, I was doing it under a hanging pot of Hibiscus flowers  (where did it come from?  And just how long has it been hanging there anyway?)  The female version of Mr. Green Jeans I am not.  Heck, I'm not even Luke Skywalker and all he had to farm was moisture.

                                                                                               Unnecessary prequels and Ewoks make him angry.  Very angry.  He's not a fan of Jar Jar either.

Summer seasonal beers are usually low in ABV and lighter in mouthfeel,  When it's 98 degrees in the shade and it's only early afternoon, who wants a heavy stout weighting them down?  Well, I suppose there are some people who happily guzzle their snifters of  Bourbon County or Yeti while the rest of us slowly shrivel into sun dried fruit.  There are also people who feel the need to read jokes from the comic section of the newspaper out loud.  You know who you are.   We all know who you are.   Personally, I prefer a lighter in feel beer, something that helps to cool me down and refresh my sweat stained soul (yes, central air also works, but it's not as tasty.)  But like all seasonal beers, it's nice to try something a bit different once in a while.  A pink hued beer that is brewed with something spontaneously found hanging in my own backyard seemed to fit the bill.

Ready excuses to use when caught drinking a pink beer in public:  "I think I saw Daryl Dixon drinking on on TWD.  Are you going to call Daryl MF Dixon a wuss?"

My Rosa Hibiscus Ale poured a hazy, rosy pink color.  Yes, pink.  Deal with it. A one finger, mostly white, slightly rose tinted head formed and then settled into a thin film on the surface of the drink.  Spotty, fluffy  lacing stuck to the sides of the pint glass.  I could see the carbonation racing to the top like a bunch of bearded beer geeks learning that someone was pouring unlimited free pints of Bourbon County there.   All in all, it looked refreshing before I even tasted it.  It smelled fruity with just a bit of floral on the back end.  I'm assuming that the floral was the hibiscus note.  There was a bit of citrus and pale malts as well.  The aroma was not heavy or cloying, but instead light.  I think this was a good choice on Revolution's part.  With so many breweries competing for the bigger is better medal of honor, finding a lighter summer beer is almost a treat.  I could taste the sweetness of the malts mixed with the tartness of the citrus (orange I believe, although there could be some lemon notes in there as well.)  The hibiscus element was a lot less prominent on the tongue than I expected.  The floral note was there, but it took a backseat to the fizzy sweet/tart notes.  The mouthfeel was light and crisp, thanks mostly to the abundance of the carbonation (it reminded me of the feel of flavored seltzer water.)  The finish was slightly dry and shortish. 

Excuse # 2: "My girlfriend asked me to hold her purse or her beer.  I made my choice."
Excuse #4: "Beer?  What beer?"

I found that Revolution Brewing Co.'s Rosa Hibiscus Ale was a refreshing and clean Summer beer.  Is it a beer for everyone?  Probably not.   In an informal tasting that I conducted (OK, I poured a few cans for my family in my backyard.  Yes, the one with the mystery hibiscus plant that may or may not be stalking me)  the approval was split 50/50.  I've been lucky enough to try this beer both on tap and from a can.  And I plan on drinking it quite a bit this summer.   It's light and crisp with a fruity sweet tartness to it.  With an AVB of only 5.8%, it's also very easy to drink more than one on a warm Summer afternoon.  I would serve this beer with a simple salad that usues a fruit component, such as a grilled chicken salad with strawberries.   I could also see the crispness of this brew working well with a spicy, yet still fruity, meal like a jerk pork tenderloin with blackberry sauce.  And if the pinkness of the beer still offends your delicate beer geek senses, well that's the very reason that they invented beer koozies after all.