Some favorites in the beer department to conjure tropical sunsets, warm breezes and the soft sounds of steel drums in the distance…
If the taste of pumpkin spice triggers the instinct for couples to buy matching flannels and go apple picking, and the smell of warm baking spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and clove invokes the image of a lit fireplace dressed in holiday garb, and if citrus fruits like clementines, oranges and tangerines are in season from December to March, then why don’t we associate their flavors with the short, dark dismal days at the end of winter during which we eat them? Is it the knowledge that they come from some distant, exotic, far away land of always sunshine that causes our daydreams to override the otherwise expected Pavlovian response? Or maybe its expert marketing by the people who make orange juice commercials that cause us to associate their flavors with a sun with a baby’s smiling face on it? Or perhaps they just remind us of the smell of the wipes we use during spring cleaning… In any event, in a winter that I have spent expanding my beer horizons (to the scarlet ales, the stouts, the Czech and amber lagers, and darker brews of the world), Belleflower Brewing’s Into the Kaleidoscope IPA has been a bright, lifted, and citrusy light amidst the dark and heavy beers of winter, and a surprise standout of the first batch of new beers I have been responsible for bringing in. The Hazy New England Style IPA is bursting with flavor without being overpowering; peach, pear, and melon followed by a light bitterness with a smooth, frothy texture to the carbonation, reminiscent of drinks enjoyed in warmer locations. And if that fails… just drink a second one and let the 8% ABV do its job. While this might be the only case of Into the Kaleidoscope we can get our hands on for a while (four 4-packs left in the fridge!), this will most certainly not be the last beer by Belleflower Brewing we have on our shelves. The Portland, Maine based brewery, founded in 2020 by a couple of Trillium Brewing’s founding members, Belleflower is definitely a name to keep an eye on.
Juneshine’s Mango Daydream is aptly named. The hard kombucha (brewed with mangos, oranges, and pineapples,) should honestly come with a note from the Surgeon General’s office warning that one sip may cause you to disassociate from reality to the poolside recliner of a tropical five star resort. A hint of cayenne pepper mingles with the sweetness of the fruit. Juneshine’s website describes it well. “Feet on the ground. Head in the clouds. Can in hand”. If the past few days’ weather conditions are any indication, we could all use a little summer in a can this time of year.
-written by Mike Ferrara, Beverage Supervisor
edited by Leah Mojer, M & P