The question on my mind as I am browsing the surprisingly extensive beer selection from our little vacation town is: should I give raspberry another shot? Let me explain, raspberry and I have a long history…a long unhappy history. Any raspberry beer I try, I truly do not like. I know what you are thinking, “You must not like raspberries” I am sorry to disappoint you but this is not true friends! I love raspberries! I think the reason I don’t like raspberry beer is because I just don’t associate the raspberries with alcohol, it’s very sweet. I truly only have one exception and that is Lindemans Framboise. This is a Lambic style beer and is paired with chocolate, it is a true desert beer and I mean hey, what’s wrong with beer for desert? Anyhoo staying true to my word, I am only writing about Michigan beer right now as I am still in the Great North. Without any further ado the raspberry beer I will be talking about today is Mt. Pleasant Brewing Co.’s Railyard Raspberry Wheat. There is a fun little choo-choo on the label and…oh yes, a raspberry colored label! If you can’t sense the bitterness, you should…it’s not coming from the beer.
Raspberries are one of the most popular fruits used in brewing. The use of fruit in beer has been alive for millennia and was actually used before yeast. Later the fruit aroma attracted yeast carrying insects to help the fermenting process. The methods of adding fruit are numerous as far as when and how. For example, adding fruit during the boiling process…some fruits aren’t good for this so it is important to pay attention to that as well. Among the numerous kinds of fruit that can be used in beers (banana is actually pretty good if you get a chance to try it), raspberry is very potent which is one of the reasons it is used often. This brewery does not go into detail about when it adds the raspberry juice, but it does say that it is an ale with raspberry juice added. The raspberry beer is also considered to be one of the healthier choices because they are usually ale, and ale beers have higher amounts of phenol, which have more heart protecting properties.
As expected, I am not a huge fan. This beer’s claim to amazingness is that “it’s brewed with raspberries; it is not a raspberry beer.” Well, I call it as I see it and folks, this is a raspberry beer. It pours a clear copper color with no sediments to contest with its frothy finger and a half white head. It retains at least a thin layer of foam all the way through, there is no lacing that can be seen. The aroma is raspberry with a hint of a caramel smell. As I brought the beer to my lips I thought, “Here goes nothing” followed immediately by, “why did I think this time would be different.” I am sorry to say that this beer is not the exception to my raspberry rule; it is an American Style Wheat beer but I did not have a sense of wheat essence within the beer’s taste or aroma. There was a glint of hope in the form of bitterness or bite on the way down, but it quickly faded. I would honestly give this beer 1 out of 5 pints. If you like really sweet beers then go for it, but I am simply not a fan.
To Pour: Tip the glass, don’t be concerned with speed. Just drop it on in a small amount of head will form.
Railyard Raspberry Wheat is brewed by Mt. Pleasant Brewing Company, in Mt. Pleasant, MI
For more interesting facts about the use of fruit in beer check out this website: http://brewwiki.com/index.php/Fruit