When a brewery puts out a beer that’s had juice added to it, I get a bit wary.
This is distinct from beers brewed with fruit, which are fine. Especially when it comes to the sour beers like lambics.
The concern with fruit juice or flavour being added to a beer is that it so often tastes like it’s been done after the brewing process.
Like they’ve got the flavouring and just poured it into the tanks before bottling, so it doesn’t taste like it’s part of the beer.
The worst examples of this are those bland beers with lemon or lime “flavour” chucked in. The “flavour” (the labels make it clear no actual fruit has been used) usually has an odd chemical tang to it, which you really don’t want in a beer.
Fortunately the new James Squire release Tall Tale manages to avoid that. Even better, they'e turned out a pretty good beer for the warmer months.
It’s tagged a “Tropicana Spring Ale”, because it includes passionfruit and guava pulp (though the fact that it’s pulp isn’t mentioned anywhere on the label).
I’m not 100 per cent sure where the pulp is added (I’d guess at the end) but it doesn’t taste like an add-on here.
Instead the tart fruit notes come across as a part of the beer. And they don’t have that chemical tang either.
I didn’t get a lot of fruit aromas (though there was some yeasty notes). Flavourwise, it’s dry and somewhat tart – which you’d expect from the inclusion of passionfruit.
That choice of fruit and the tartness put in a little in mind of a sauvignon blanc.
And like a sauv blanc, it’ll be a good beer to have in your hands come summer time.
Oddly, the only way you can get bottles of this is via owner Lion's online site MoCU (jeez I dislike business names with random capitals).
Maybe that's because they can make less of it as it doesn’t need to go to every bottlo in the country. Maybe it’s a way of testing the market before a wider release.
Given the positive vibe I’ve seen from beer geeks on social media, this one may well be available in shops at some stage.
Glen Humphries is an award-winning beer writer and author of The Slab.