The beer in the above photo contains yuzu, an exotic, and super tart, citrus fruit that kind of looks like a lemon and grows in countries like China, Korea, and Japan where it’s pronounced “You-Zoo”, which rhymes with “new zoo”, two words that instantly remind me of a 1970s children’s TV show called New Zoo Revue which starred two humans (Doug and Emmy Jo), Henrietta Hippo, Charlie the Owl, and Freddy the Frog, as odd a mix of characters as you’ll ever see in a children’s TV show, though if you really think about it, children’s television is chock full of odd and unusual characters with names like Clarabell, Howdy Doody, Bozo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Spongebob, Mr. Krabs, Princess Bubblegum, Marceline the Vampire Queen, Gumball Watterson, Cowboy Curtis, Pee Wee Herman and a slew of other lunacy that’s been broadcast over the airwaves since the late 1940s which is right around the time that Dale DeGroff (aka King Cocktail) was born (1948 to be exact), who is the first person that I ever heard utter the word yuzu, the up and coming cocktail ingredient that he mentioned during our chat aboard the Holland America Koningsdam where he talked about adding it to such classic drinks as the Margarita, Daiquiri, or any other citrus based cocktail in an attempt to hippify and modernize these classic drinks for all those fickle consumers that demand constant innovation in all that they eat or drink, because loyalty in our constantly evolving, consumer driven economy is like a T. Rex or an IBM Selectric Typewriter, i.e. extinct or soon to be extinct.
Now that you’ve learned a bit about the yuzu, let’s get down to business…
Tropic of Yuzu is a summer seasonal release from Samuel Adams that is available via their American Summer Variety pack which also includes their Boston Lager, Summer Ale, Hefeweizen, Berliner Weisse, and Golden Hour. We’re gonna try our best to get to reviews of those other beers, but in the meantime, below is a bit more information about Tropic of Yuzu which was taken directly from the Sam Adams website…
This distinctive beer gets a citrusy punch from yuzu, a Japanese fruit with juicy hints of Mandarin orange and grapefruit. The beer’s slightly tart character is balanced by the kick of Grains of Paradise, which add a peppery note to the wheat and citrus for a subtle, spicy finish.
And now for my impressions of this beer…
- Appearance: Pale orange color. Very little head (what’s there dissipates rapidly) with a thin bead of off-white foam.
- Aroma: Very citrusy. Now I don’t know what an actual yuzu smells like, but if it’s anything like what I’m smelling now, then it’s like a melange of citrus. I’m getting equal parts lemon, tangerine, and grapefruit with a hint of mango and maybe some pineapple too.
- Taste: Slightly fizzy carbonation. Starts off citrusy which is as expected given the nose with that citrus salad taste definitely coming through. At mid-palate, some light spice starts to make an appearance which has a freshly grated ginher or mild chili pepper quality to it. At the finish, the citrus circles back around, leaving you with a slightly pithy aftertaste along with a bit more of that spice.
- ABV: 6.0%
I used to really enjoy wheat beers, but once I discovered IPAs, Sours, and the mutitude of other bigger beer styles, I kinda, sorta forgot all about them. The truth is that I now find them to be a little dull. That being said, Tropic of Yuzu was quite an interesting take on a wheat beer. Thanks to its healthy dose of citrus and spice, there’s more than enough going on to keep my attention. Overall, this was a pretty good beer that would probably pair well with many a spicy Asian dish.