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The rosé beer trend is here to stay, and as the weather warms up, more renditions have entered the market. Unlike rosé wine, there's no rule on how these brews get made. Some brewers use wine grapes along with grains in the mash; others include hibiscus to give tartness and create a pleasing pink color; and some make beer with Champagne yeast and something pink added in, such as raspberries, beets or red grape skins.
This type of beer doesn't have to have grapes to make it a rosé-style brew; it just needs a rosy hue. From unsung heroes in the category to new kids in the can, get ready to pop a top this spring and enjoy the pink side of beer.
Grape and grain fermentation is what gives Avery Brewing Co.’s low-calorie, light-on-carbs beer its distinct wine-like aroma with a stiff pale ale backbone. A light bitterness shines through thanks to the Apollo hops, but it's tamed due to the sweetness from the fruit. Not that this beer made in Boulder, Colo., has a pronounced sweetness; it’s more that it imparts a festive, effervescence akin to a dry sparkling wine. With an ABV of just 4.4%, this is a beer perfect for guzzling at a barbecue party or poolside. Plus, it goes great with roasted meats, salsa, spicy foods and vanilla ice cream.
“Pretty in pink” is the first thought this rosé beer imparts, and that's just from the slender, pretty can. The actual liquid rose gold inside offers a different story, though one that's just as pleasing. The tale starts at Castoro Cellars, located in Templeton, Calif., near Firestone Walker's headquarters. There, 100 tons of wine grapes were harvested for the production of Rosalie, mostly chardonnay with a dash of viognier, sauvignon blanc, riesling and muscat. Those grapes were pressed and the beverage made by fermenting the grape juice with a light pilsner malt, which lends the drink a juicy roundness with hints of stone fruit and airy citrus. The hops tame the sweetness and impart a lemony profile, blending nicely with the natural warm, yeasty essence. Then a dash of hibiscus is added to give the brew a pink hue and little more fruity tartness. It's a summer crisper for sure, perfect for adding to the cooler during that next warm-weather party.
First released last year, this rosé-inspired beer is now on the permanent lineup of offerings from Oskar Blues, a Colorado brewery. Made with prickly pear and hibiscus, this tipple gets brewed much like any other beer but uses a unique strain of yeast that produces lactic acid naturally during fermentation for a dramatic dose of tartness. The flavor is subtle, like a French rosé more than a California blend, though you can taste the distinct bitter ale undertone laced with a bit of tart fruit and honeyed malts. Drink a can with brunch or take a six-pack on the road for an elevated beer with a nice pinkish tone.
There's a Katy Perry song somewhere in this sparkling rosé ale, and we aim to find it through continued sipping research. Made with an explosive combination of apple, cranberry, peach and cherries, this ale from 21st Amendment Brewery, in San Leandro, Calif., leans toward the sweeter side of rosé beers. In fact, Sparkale tastes more like a cider than a beer, or a fruity rosé wine cooler. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy a can or two, especially on a hot day when a dash of cold fruity fizz is just what you need to refresh. It’s easy to drink all day long.
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Gose-style beer already has a refreshing, tart and slightly mineral taste to it, something it shares with much rosé wine. Most gose brews get made with fruit, and that's exactly what Two Roads Brewing, in Stratford, Conn., did, only its featured ingredient is grapes. It's part of the venue's Tanker Truck series, a line of sour beers made with all sorts of fruit, including Italian plums, Persian limes and passion fruit. With each sip of this gose, you'll get nuances of strawberries and raspberries, peppered with salt and a slight tart undercurrent. This small-batch brew isn't found all over, and since it's seasonal, you'll see it only in the warmer months.
While most rosé beer leans to the lighter side, this IPA from Upslope Brewing is 7.1% ABV, and boy does it sparkle. This brew doesn't have any grape juice or grape skins added; instead it gets its rosé-wine-like nuances thanks to the way it's brewed. Though an IPA, this brew is done brut-style, which uses the enzyme amyloglucosidase to give the beer the bone-dry characteristic of a fine Champagne. This means instead of those juicy IPAs we’re used to, this one is crisper and less sweet. It features flavors of peaches and honeydew melon, with a bit of a floral-citrus essence thanks to the hops; the blush color is from beet juice. Expect to sip on this Colorado beer in late spring, as it's available from May to July.