A big thing that many thought would be a passing fad has become a lot more than that. Flavored beers, marrying fruit with beer and micro brews in the fairly recent past have become big business. For those of you who are traditionalists not to worry the Budweiser's, Miller's, Coors and Michelob's of the world are not going anywhere. However if it is a departure from the norm you seek than look no further than your local beer distributor and you will find some tasty options. Here are a few I have found that I like.
Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale
I have only found this at a few select places throughout New England. One place in particular is $3 Dewey's in Portland, Maine. This is a great pub. Perfect atmosphere for all the beers they have on tap and they have a bunch. I always suggest the "Black and Blue" which is Guinness and Bar Harbor Blueberry. I have tried other blueberry flavored beers including Budweiser's version which was sickeningly sweet. Sea Dog Blueberry is a distant second.
So here is what there marketing geeks came up with about the Ale... "A light fruit ale, made with Maine wild blueberries. As opposed to many of the sweeter fruit beers on the market, our addition of fresh Maine wild blueberries in this light ale yields a subtle blueberry aroma, without the sweet aftertaste. A mixture of the following Mutton malts, pale, crystal, and Munich, are combined with wheat to give this ale its lighter body, and we only use minimal amounts of Target and Willamette hops."
Sam Adams Cranberry Lambic
Honestly I use to see this piece of brew heaven all over the place in the Boston area around fall. Now the only place I have even heard of it is in a "Winter Variety" pack. and even then I have yet to see it. This was the only beer I would buy by the case load knowing in a few short months it would be gone. I must admit I have been sort of bummed about not being able to find it anymore.
At any rate here is what the Sam Adam's beer experts have to say about this brew.
"Tart and sweet with complex fruit, maple and vanilla notes."
Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale
This Ale only comes around Fall. So just as the leaves start to change color here in New England, the air gets just a little bit cooler and the women start to formulate their most provocative halloween costume, Shipyard comes around with their Pumpkinhead Ale. This stuff is the nectar of the gods. Now Blue Moon makes a Pumpkin Ale that is pretty good in its own right However, I can honestly say I have never enjoyed pumpkin anything till this fall treat came around. It is pumpkin spice meets an already great Ale. They date for a bit and have sweet pumpkin sex. The results are many little Pumpkin head's. Not to mention the cool label art. Shipyard really hit this one out of the park. (Fenway Park of course.)
Here is how the Shipyard people describe this Ale. "Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale is a crisp refreshing wheat ale with delightful aromatics and subtle spice flavor."
I am sure there are many more that fall under this special category and if I can think of them or try them I will let you know how they are but for now there are a few outstanding options next time you make it to your local ale house.