Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day 36 (8/29/2011): Lips of Faith Kick by New Belgium Brewing

(Note: Except for special beers/events, I'm going to start making these reviews a little shorter. It's taking up too much of my time to write exhaustive reviews every day, so I'm going to cut them down to a paragraph or two until I get a little more free time. Carry on!)

I was definitely interested in trying this when I saw it on the shelf. It is an ale brewed with pumpkin and cranberry juice, 25% of which is barrel aged. I have no idea what the barrel previously held, but I expect at least some wood notes. It is also brewed with wild yeasts, which should lend it a sour/funky nose and flavor.

Kick pours a very pretty light orange with a pale white, soda-like head. Between the pumpkin and cranberry I expected quite a bit darker body, but I'm not disappointed with its looks at all. It has a very tart nose. The sourness and musty funkiness combined with cranberries are the most obvious smells, but there is some oak and other unidentified citrus scents in the background, as well. I get no pumpkin or spices at all, which is a little strange.

The taste isn't nearly as sour as the nose implies, but it definitely is a little. The taste is largely dominated by the tart cranberries, with the oak (?) lending a slight bit of vanilla. There is a good malt sweetness to counter some of the tartness and, again, no pumpkin is present. The carbonation is medium and the body is actually a little more heavy than I expected. Nothing over the top, though.

The verdict? A solid beer. I would have preferred it a little more sour, with the cranberries toned down a bit. You can definitely tell by the flavor that they used cranberry juice and not whole cranberries. It also made me realize that I have no idea what pumpkins taste like in a beer when it is not a typical spiced beer. This was a good beer and I'm glad I got to try it. I probably wouldn't buy it again for the reasons stated above, but I would most certainly recommend it to someone new to sours or just someone who wants to try something new. I give Lips of Faith Kick by New Belgium Brewing a B+.

Style: Spice/herb/vegetable beer
ABV: 8.5%
IBU: ?
Beer Advocate: B+
Ratebeer: 93/97

Purchased from Connecticut Avenue Wine and Liquor Deli (Washington, D.C.) for $7.99 a bottle. New Belgium isn't distributed in Ohio, but you can probably find this elsewhere in the Tristate.

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