Seth is a beer writer, outdoor enthusiast and non-profit consultant.

We're hitting the height of summer, loyal reader, and in honor of the hot weather, we're sampling beers with fruits and berries. Sometimes one variety of berry just isn't enough. No, instead of taking a dainty nibble of a single raspberry, sometimes the only way to truly celebrate and embrace summer is to mash dripping fistfuls of every conceivable kind of berry into a huge goblet of beer and chug it, with runnels of brightly colored juice dripping down your beard. Not that I would do such a thing, just that, you know ... it might be a good idea. 

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[Courtesy Allagash Brewing Company]

 

Allagash Pick Your Own (Portland, ME)
Format Sampled: 12.7 oz. corked bottle
ABV: 6.4%

Availability: Purchased at Hilltop Superette
Tasting notes: Pours a happy pink-red with a thin pink foam. Aroma has fresh berries, fruited vinegar, and some salty marine breezes. Initial taste is tart, with enough acid to pucker my mouth. The sweetness is subdued, and present mostly in the concentrated, bright fruit flavor. No berry stands out particularly, each is well represented in what is ultimately a blissful average of all the flavors of summer, in one sip. The darkness of cherries, the richness of strawberries, the sweet fragility of raspberries — it's all here. The aftertaste is fruity and tart, with a lingering bit of tongue-scraping acidity. For a dry, tart beer, this is both remarkably refreshing and deeply contemplative.

 

Hidden Cove Berried Treasure (Wells, ME)

Format Sampled: 12.7 oz. corked bottle
ABV: 6.0%

Availability: Purchased at Bow Street Beverage
Tasting Notes: Pours a pinkish amber with a thin white head. Aroma has cherry cola, cough syrup, and white wine vinegar. The initial sip is a curious mixture of fresh, and dried fruits, and a lovely wine character — almost like a Beaujolais. There's a brisk, breezy acidity that structures all of the other flavors in the Berried Treasure. It's a delicate, wine-like acidity, not even approaching the mild acidity of a fine drinking vinegar. This treasure is so front-loaded with floral berries and appealing acids, there's very little left in the aftertaste, except for a few cherry vapors. This is an approachable, agreeable, highly refreshing fruit sour, complex enough for geeks like me, but drinkable enough to appeal to the crowd.

 

Bissell Brothers Seed (Portland, ME)

Format Sampled: 16 oz. can
ABV: 5.3%
Tasting Notes: Pours a bold, pink red with an ephemeral white foam. The aroma has vivid, fresh, juicy berries. The first sip is so smooth, fruity and refreshing, it's almost like one of those artificially colored "Fruit-Flavored Juice-Free" drinks. This isn't "easy to drink," "sessionable," or "crushable." This is gulpable on a level that I have never experienced. There is almost no bitterness or malt flavor to get in the way of the vibrant fruits, just a hint of acidity that tempers the sweetness without compromising the extreme gulp-ability. I don't need much to be happy. A hot day. A hammock. And a gallon of this delightful beer.

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