I love me some fruit but good lord, have you seen the price of raspberries in Woolies? Luckily, brewing a beer using raspberries (although not necessarily fresh ones) seems to be in vogue in Cape Town at the moment. Drinking them in beer form is probably cheaper than just eating them and I’m fairly sure it still counts as one of your five a day.
Anyway, enough lame justifications for drinking beer. Here’s a rundown of the three locally brewed berry beers currently available in Cape Town (and in some cases, other parts of the country too).
Devil’s Peak and Fierce Beer Rubus Raspberry Pale Ale
Brewed at DP with the brewer from Scottish brewery Fierce Beer, Rubus is a pale ale along the lines of Stoned. Think thick bodied, juicy, hazy. It’s a lovely looking beer – pinkish red with a dense foamy head that seems to have a mere hint of powder pink about it. Nose-wise, the raspberry is subtle and suggests that the puree mentioned on the beer’s ingredients is derived from fresh raspberries with not too much (or any?) sugar added. This tartness is what I expect in a raspberry beer, the fruit not being particularly sweet itself. It’s somehow not as chewy as Stoned and the raspberry definitely works better than the apricot did, the tartness somehow cutting through the chunky body. Rubus (the genus that raspberry belongs to – Wikipediaing stuff so you don’t have to) is a limited edition beer and the first in DP’s collaboration series. It launches today (April 13th) at select beer geek outlets nationwide.
CBC Raspberry Krystal Weiss
Debuting on tap at the 2016 CTFoB, this is the first non reinheitsgebot-compliant beer to come out of CBC, to my knowledge. Visually I was a bit disappointed. I kind of expected it to be some pretty shade of pink, but in fact it’s a slightly hazy copper hue (still a lovely colour, just not what I was expecting). On the nose there’s a hint of grain but it’s mostly raspberry, although I’m not sure this beer has ever been near an actual raspberry – it’s more a kind of cordial vibe. The label, interestingly, says that this beer is CBC’s interpretation of a “Berlner Weisse mit schuss”, that is, the flavoured syrup often served to balance the sour notes of the beer. I do get the raspberry syrup flavour, but I think mentioning Berliner Weisse is a little confusing, since the drinker then expects a certain tartness to the beer and in fact the Raspberry Krystal Weiss is really rather sweet. Still, it’s undeniably raspberryish, goes down smoothly and would be great on a sunny afternoon if sweeter fruit beers are your thing.
Afro Caribbean Chocolate Raspberry Porter
I cannot get enough of this beer. Actually, anyone who’s seen me at the Jam lately will know that’s a blatant lie. Twice this month already I’ve actually had far too much of this beer. But you know what I mean – I just keep going back for more. It’s an underhyped brew, an experiment by Mr Casey and one that I hope he’s going to repeat. On the nose there’s just enough raspberry to let you know this isn’t any old dark beer. Then you get a subtle nostril full of dark chocolate. It’s one of those beers that I have to sniff again before each sip. Or gulp, because this is one moreish, thirst-quenching porter and it goes down damn easily. At the lighter end of the body scale and 5% ABV, it’s a very approachable beer. The raspberry additions are subtle and meld perfectly with the hints of mocha and toast. In fact, I think this might be the perfect breakfast beer. For me it’s by far the most successful of the three and a damn fine indicator that fruit beers don’t have to be light beers. Here’s hoping this is the start of a dark fruity beer craze.