Review: Hell or High Watermelon Wheat, 21st Amendment

Hell or High Watermelon Wheat
21st Amendment Brewery — San Francisco, California

  • Style: Wheat
  • Bitterness: 17 IBU
  • ABV: 4.9% ABV
  • Malts: Two-Row Pale & White Wheat
  • Hops: Magnum
  • Sampled: 12 oz. can

Description: "Like Lady Liberty, we stand for independence and perseverance. In the pursuit of innovative beer, there is no obstacle too great. No journey too long. No fruit too gigantic. This American wheat beer is brewed with real watermelon, for a flavor that's surprisingly crisp, dry and refreshing—summer in a can. Hell or High Watermelon Wheat is our summer seasonal beer available from April through September in six pack cans and on draft. We start by brewing a classic American wheat beer, which undergoes a traditional secondary fermentation using fresh watermelon. A straw-colored, refreshing beer with a kiss of watermelon aroma and flavor.” — 21st Amendment Brewery

Random thoughts: I interviewed Nico Freccia, co-founder of 21st Amendment Brewer, last fall and he told me the backstory of this beer. I believe I'm one of the 23 people on this earth who don't like watermelon. I don't hate it, but it's not one of my go-to summer fruits. This is part of my series on beers with fruit.

The tasting: Gold in color, hazy, with a white head that dissipated quickly. Light effervescence floating through the glass. Aroma of tangy wheat, spicy hops, and faint watermelon. Flavor of watermelon rind, spicy hops, and a bit of yeast. The flavor of watermelon is light and not overly sweet. Hell or High Watermelon Wheat is light bodied and softly carbonated—I'd prefer a bit more fizz. It finishes with light grassy hop bitterness. Overall, it's refreshing and nicely balanced—a good option for summer (what's left of it, anyway).

Rating: 3 star. Good. I would drink this again if someone gives it to me. I was surprised that the flavor of the rind was fairly strong. Although I'm not crazy about watermelon, I would have liked to taste more of the sweeter flesh. In the end, Hell or High Watermelon Wheat offers a novel twist on a summer wheat beer. If you like watermelon, give it try.

Have you tried Hell or High Watermelon Wheat? What's your favorite fruit beer?

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