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SUMMER = FRUIT BEER, APPARENTLY
It’s long been a tradition that warm weather means fruit beers and plenty of ‘em. Shandys, Radlers, fruit-laden wheat beers – they all come out of the woodwork when the temperature hits 80 degrees. And that’s fine. Even though I generally drink any style of beer at any time of year, I understand that many people don’t want the heaviness of a stout or the high alcohol content of a double IPA when they’ve just finished mowing the lawn. But in the past, I chose styles like a Kolsch for my summer brews – crisp and light, but minus the fruit.
FOR ONCE, I’M ON BOARD
Sure, there are great fruit beers out there (one of my all-time favorite beers of any style is Stone’s Grapefruit Slam IPA), but many seem to use the fruit to mask a sub-par beer. This year, I’ve found a summer beer that’s heavy on the flavors of both fruit and beer – Bloodline, a blood orange ale from Maryland’s Flying Dog Brewery. Initially brewed as a small-batch limited release in 2013, Flying Dog produced Bloodline on a larger scale last year but kept it close to home and draft-only. This year, for the first time, it’s available in Pennsylvania on draft and in bottles – and you should definitely check it out.
The bars where I’ve seen Bloodline on tap refer to it as an IPA, but Flying Dog simply calls it an ale – and rightly so. While there’s plenty of hop flavor here (especially citrus-forward strains like Citra and Galaxy), it’s not a hop bomb. The blood orange is huge in the nose but subtle on the palate, playing both sweet and tart flavors beautifully against the hop backbone. Flavor-wise, I feel like there might be more grapefruit than blood orange here, but that’s not a complaint. All in all, this is a great summer beer. And you know what else is great? Flying Dog says they’ll be making it year-round.
Do you fruit beer? What’s in your fridge this summer?