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Judge's Review: 87 Rating - Tropical Shirts by Wise Man Brewing

November, 2020

Tropical Shirts

North Carolina
United States
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
6 / 6
37 / 40
6 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

I will be judging this beer as a category 28C Wild Specialty beer.  The reason being, the overall impression of this style states this category should be “a sour and/or funky version of a fruit, herb, or spice beer, or a wild beer aged in wood.” I The base beer is listed as a Berliner Weisse which is a classic recognized style in the BJCP guidelines (Category 23a) however it is sour. One could argue that since this beer is intentionally soured, usually in the kettle pre-fermentation it could be in category 29A, Fruit beer. Honestly, it could probably go into either.

The beer pours a reddish-purple color with some moderate haze. The head is fizzy and breaks apart quickly, like a soft drink. The lack of head can be pretty typical for beers with any type of additive, including fruit but Berliner Weisse typically have poor head retention anyway. So it’s typical per style. The aroma is heavy on the raspberry, the blackberry does not contribute much to the aroma but blackberries do not always have a lot of overpowering aroma anyway. It’s biggest contribution will be to the color, which is most likely the purple hue. The lactic sourness is also evident in the aroma and couples nicely with raspberry. Way in the back is the doughy wheat aroma. But you really have to dig to find it. As typical with this style, there is no hop aroma. Moving into the flavor the wheat is a bit more pronounced but still takes a back seat to the fruit. The raspberry flavor is high and the blackberry flavor is present but only supports the more assertive raspberries. The malt flavor is low and it’s there is a very low sweetness. The lactic tartness quickly washes away any sweetness and accentuates the natural tartness of the fruit. The finish is lightly sweet, fruity, and ends completely clean with that tart finish. The mouthfeel is on the lighter side, which one expects with this beer style. I was a bit concerned that the fruit additions would make this nice light beer a bit more heavy and sweet, but it does not. The carbonation for this beer is a bit low for the style. It should be very high, but what I’m seeing is more of a medium level of carbonation. It’s not flat by any means, but it’s not highly carbonated or effervescent. This is a very light and sessionable beer, I don’t get anything really in terms of alcohol, which again is expected.

Overall, I think this beer is a very good fruit beer, and the base beer quite honestly seems to be extremely well done. It’s lack of carbonation though really kind of pulls the beer style down a bit. Still it’s extremely tasty, the fruit is well done and not too heavy-handed, and the fruit choice complements the lactic tartness the style very well. Despite it’s minor shortcomings this beer is well thought out and very smart.