Pat’s Strange Brew – Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat
It’s not October.
That’s my favorite month for all things apple. Apple pie, apple cobbler, apple dumplings, apple cider. I crave apples in the fall: especially crisp, tart, tangy apples that make you kind of scrunch up the side of your face when you bit into them, they are that tart.
Well it’s the end of May, and here I sit with a Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat. In the rather limited selection of seasonals on the shelf at my local WallyWorld this week, this seemed the the most interesting candidate, even without the nip in the air and the pumpkins on the porch. Haven’t had too many brews from Shock Top that didn’t provide at least a decent level of enjoyment.
Popping the top (come armed, no screw top here), you take a whiff of what for the life of me smells like a Jolly Rancher sour apple candy. I love those. Except when they stick in your molars and glue themselves there, and you kinda have to reach in and pry….. oh wait, I’m oversharing, aren’t I?
Anyway, smells promising. And I love wheat beers, especially Belgians, which is what this is billed as.
A sip (swill?) and the Jolly Rancher vibe continues. This is a sweet beer, and stays high in the mouth flavor-wise (sip it, see where you feel it), followed by a big twinge in the back of your mouth saying, hey! what’s for me?!? The apple doesn’t ring quite true; it tastes like artificial apple flavor. Really GOOD artificial apple flavor (Jolly Rancher) but this ain’t no cider. It finishes sour, apple sour, which is right for this flavor. Pleasant enough aftertaste, not to much gooeyness coating the tongue.
It’s a nice beer. An easy drinker. It’s not heavy, so could make it through the summer enjoyably, unlike a porter or a stout, which I find just to heavy to drink in 90 degree-plus temps.
But disappointingly it’s nothing special. It falls into the glutted cider category, the 21st century version of Boone’s Farm, and fails to let its wheat beer host step forward and introduce itself, shake your hand, welcome you to the house. That bit of balancing could have distinguished this brew as an apple BEER, instead of a hard cider wannabee.
Maybe it’s the season, when my palate looks forward to shandies by the pool (and I see that Shock Top has a lemon shandy, have to keep an eye out for that one). I’ll give this one another try this fall, when I’m all about the apples. I’d take a pass on it until then.