Sean’s Sips – New Belgium Tart Lychee

SCIENCE:

  • Style:  American Wild Ale
  • ABV:  7.50%
  • IBU:  20
  • SRM:  7.5
  • OG:  16.5 (wood-aged) and 24 (non-wood-aged)
  • TG:  2.57
  • Blend:  56% Wood-Aged Sour Beer, 44% Non-Wood-Aged Ale
  • Malts:  Pale, Malted Wheat, Caramel-80, Carapils, Oats
  • Hops:  Target
  • Additives:  Lychee Fruit, Cinnamon

HISTORY:

When this beer arrived on my doorstep (thanks New Belgium!) the first thing I thought was “What the hell is a lychee?”.  Unless you’ve traveled to Southeast Asia (where it’s from) or some weird corner of Whole Foods, you may be thinking the same thing.  Well, they’re pink on the outside, white on the inside, sweet, and apparently really tasty in beer.  So tasty, in fact, that Lauren Salazar (Head of Sensory, Master Blender, and Co-Captain of the Sour Beer Program at New Belgium) thought they’d go great in one of their beers.  Being that this fruit is incredibly sweet when left to its own devices, Lauren decided to couple it with sour.  Then they dumped in a little cinnamon to add some spiciness.

While this is the first time Tart Lychee has been available in bottles (as part of the Lips of Faith Series in 2012), it’s not the first time the beer’s been available to the public.  The beer began as a one-off blend that made its rounds to several beer bars and festivals a few years ago.  People loved it so much New Belgium decided to brew it on the big system.

ENGLISH (SORT-OF):

Aroma – Large amounts of fruit and citrus, but I wasn’t able to pick up any specific fruits.  Perhaps that’s because I have no idea what a lychee fruit smells like.

Taste – More fruit and citrus (grapefruit?) with a moderate amount of tartness.  This is definitely not an overpowering sour beer, but there is enough present to make you pucker just a little.  There’s a pretty good amount of sweetness to this beer, but it pairs well with the sour.

Drinkability – I did have to split this bottle with my wife (at her insistance – not because I didn’t like it), but I had no problem finishing my half.

Verdict – As my wife put it, “This beer is delicious!”  I have to say that this instantly became one of my favorite Lips of Faith offerings largely because it is so different than anything I’ve had before.

ART:

[Disclaimer: I realize that I am in no way qualified to judge beer… so I’m not.  The goal of this post is to introduce you to a local beer that I think you’d enjoy.  It’s fine if you don’t agree with me, just don’t post angry comments about how you can’t believe I didn’t taste bubblegum, clove, and/or hot dogs in said beer.]

About Sean Buchan


Sean is a Physical Therapist and Photographer living in (and loving) Denver, Colorado. He enjoys shooting just about anything but his true passion is capturing the craft beer culture here in Denver. If you enjoy his photographs check out Beertographer.

  • http://twitter.com/AlannahRose Alannah Rose

    Really looking forward to this one!

  • Bussmann

    Thanks Sean! This is a great write up.