Tart Lychee (New Belgium Brewing)

I’m going to use this time to “complain” about something that I really shouldn’t “complain” about at all: the use of odd ingredients in beer. Don’t get me wrong, this is something that I love as a beer consumer. As a beer reviewer it’s a whole different story. More often that not when a brewery has made a beer using some unique ingredient like lychee, yarrow, or some other fruit/plant I’ve never heard of it both excites me and annoys me. I love weird ingredients creating a unique take on a beer style that I’ve tried 100x before, but when it comes to reviews I hate not knowing what I’m looking for or how to detect said flavor/aroma. There’s been numerous times where I’ve found myself saying something along the lines of “I don’t know what this weird smell/taste is, so it must be that odd ingredient I’ve never tried before”. This is frustrating, especially for someone like myself who is always trying new beers. Now I do realize that my “annoyance” should be with my unrefined palate and not with the brewers/beer, but self-reflection is not my strong suit, that is what the blog is for. Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, a new beer review. A beer using a fruit that I’ve never had because I’m a plebeian. Check it out.

PrintTART LYCHEE is part of New Belgium Brewing’s ‘Lips of Faith’ series. This American Wild Ale clocks in at 7.5% ABV.

LoF Tart LycheeTo sweet and sour! In celebration of one of the greatest combinations ever, lychee fruit brings tropical sweetness to the party hosted by Felix, our golden wood-aged sour beer. Cinnamon sticks were invited to spice things up and so are you! In on the tasty revelry that is Tart Lychee.

I don’t know exactly why, but the look of this beer got me very excited to try it. It poured a (fairly) clear peach color with a but a wisp of a head. No real lacing or visible carbonation was present.

And here is where my lack of knowledge rears its ugly head (again). The nose started with a bouquet of sweet fruit flavors of green grape, apricot, and a fruit I suspect is lychee. A tart vinegar smell hid behind the fruit until I noticed it and then I couldn’t not smell it. At first I questioned the validity of the claim that there was cinnamon sticks used in this beer, but once it warmed up a touch of cinnamon spice floated out of my glass.

Oak and tartness were the opening games to this craft beer Olympics (a very topically relevant reference here in the beginning of April). Oak comes through first with a tart lychee/green grape flavor right behind it. There’s an earthiness in the middle that settles down the tartness. The cinnamon isn’t blatantly obvious in the flavor, but it gives each sip a little kick at the end, similar to what it did in the nose.

The mouthfeel is light on this beer, but the tartness gives it a little body (that might be more implied than actually present). It goes down without any major clinging or hoppiness, but it does dry things out a bit.

Tart Lychee is another winner from the Lips of Faith series. I haven’t had lychee before, which might come as a mind blowing, out-of-left field shock to anyone who read my intro, so I can’t truly say how prominent and/or well represented the flavor is in this beer. But there is a tasty fruit in there I didn’t recognize. I think the tartness has mellowed with age, but that does allow the oak to shine through in ways I suspect a fresher version might lack. This hearty oakiness and tasty “unknown” fruit are a nice addition that helps make this beer stand out from other American Wild Ales.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10

As an AMERICAN WILD ALE: 7.5 out of 10

FOR FANS OF: Mikkeler IT’S ALIVE (white wine barrel lychee edition), Cigar City WILD GUAVA LYCHEE SOUR SAISON, New Belgium LE TERROIR

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