This week’s beer is Fruitallica, a double India pale ale featuring aggressive hops, interesting citrus and a dash of spice. This cross-continent collaboration was brewed at Stone’s location in San Diego, with master brewers from the United Kingdom-based Beavertown Brewery and the New Zealand-based Garage Project joining in for the brew. This wide-ranging cast of brewers came up with a unique beer, complete with kiwi, yuzu and habanero. Stone calls this a “thunderous soundstorm of a beer,” and looking at the ingredients, one could see why.
When I spotted Fruitallica’s label, I instantly knew I wanted to give this beer a shot. I’m a sucker for interesting artwork, and the designers of this bomber delivered. A teal and white picture of a skull adorns the front of the bottle, complete with octopus tentacles and Stone’s classic horns. The names of each of the breweries involved in the collaboration fit into the skull’s eyes, and the beer’s name is sandwiched between its teeth in a font that would be at home on the cover of any metal album.
Fruitallica’s interesting nature continues past the look of the bottle and into the look of the beer itself. The color is bright orange, with an off-white head that quickly faded, leaving behind almost no lace on the sides of the glass. This beer is also quite hazy and unfiltered, with tiny particles visibly floating in the brew. It’s rare to see an unfiltered beer that is so bright in color. It certainly is an unusual look, although not an unwelcome one.
The aroma is primarily of citrus rind, with the grapefruit-orange scent of yuzu coming to the front, backed by a faint sweetness from the kiwi. Piney hop notes come through in the middle, while notes of habanero linger on the back-end. The pepper’s spice is subtle enough that it doesn’t turn away those who dislike spice, but it adds some nice depth to the aroma.
The mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a moderate dose of carbonation. The taste mostly confirms the aroma, with yuzu rind making up the bitter tropical front-end. The tartness and sweetness from the kiwi is fainter than in the aroma, likely overshadowed by the stronger citrus flavors of the yuzu. The middle of the flavor brings about some earthy hop flavors of a variety I could not place initially. Stone’s website lists Wai-iti and Riwaka as the varieties used, which are hop varieties grown in New Zealand that rarely make it into an American beer. When the hops and fruit flavor fade, a gentle warmness and faint flavor from the habanero kick in, although not as much as one would expect given the hardcore artwork on the bottle.
Overall this is a pretty good beer. The brewers involved took an interesting concept, citrus and spice in a double IPA, and executed it well. However, it was missing some of the flair the bottle promised. Rather than a heavy metal-inspired brew with aggressive heat and over the top citrus, this beer is a decent tropical DIPA with a faint hint of habanero. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good beer, but it’s not quite as memorable as its artwork.
This beer was purchased at Villa Spirit Shoppe in Storrs for $9.99.
Will Harris is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.