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

I'm dedicating these sweltering days to sipping beers infused with fruits and berries. Last week, we sampled some raspberry beers, and this week, we're moving on to something more closely associated with Maine. Vaccinium sect. Cyanococcus, known as the American Blueberry, is the berry most commonly associated with Maine. Not only is it our state berry, it features in our official state dessert (blueberry pie)*.

Ephemeral as its brief growing season, this sweet berry has a delicate flavor. That makes it difficult to capture the real taste of a blueberry in a beer, leading many brewers to pump of the flavor of blueberry beers with additional sourness, or a hefty dose of sweetener. Not so with these. Cheers!

Skyr

Brothers Brewery and Lone Pine's Blueberry Skyr

The Brothers Brewery and Lone Pine Collaboration Blueberry Skyr (Portland, ME)

Available: Sample provided by Lone Pine
Format Sampled: 16 oz. can

ABV: 3.8%

Tasting Notes: Pours a deep purple-blue, with a pinkish-purple head. This looks like a beverage fit for a smurf! The aroma is lactic and profoundly sour, reminiscent of kefir. The first sip is gently but insistently sour. After the rather potent funk of the aroma, the clean, balanced sourness is a refreshing surprise. There's a faint yogurty tang that's surprisingly crisp, and a balancing note of fruit and sweet to offset the sourness. The blueberry flavor is faint but natural, not sugared-up for popular consumption. The body is quite light, and combined with the bracing acidity, this beer is unexpectedly easy to drink.

 

Lake St. George Kerplunk! (Liberty, ME)

Available: Purchased at Craft Beer Cellar
Format Sampled: 12 oz. can

ABV: 5.3%

Tasting Notes: Pours a sexy light pink, with a big puffy head of pink-tinted foam. Aroma has vinegar and a woody barrel character. The first sip is bracingly but not excessively sour, the crisp acidity priming my palate for a delicate fruit flavor. The fruit is gentle, but resembles the quick burst of flavor you get when your teeth pierce the skin of a big, fleshy blueberry. The woody, tannin flavor provides a grounding base note to balance the tartness and gentle fruit. The whole ensemble is so crisp and refreshing, it would give a fizzy vino verde a run for its money at a barbecue.

 

Woodstock Inn Brewery (North Woodstock, NH)

Available: Purchased at Craft Beer Cellar
Format Sampled: 12 oz. can

ABV: 4.4%

Tasting Notes: Pours a pale yellow with an impressive white head. Aroma has a sweet, indistinct berry-like aroma. The initial taste is watery and thin, with an odd, vaguely artificial berry-like flavor intruding at the tail end. A misplaced bitterness (hops?) confuses the berry flavor, clashing against the sweetness. As the flavor develops, the sweetness fades, saving the beer from the realm of the cloying berry-beers. Overall, this beer is modestly refreshing, but the berry flavor is a distraction, a novelty, and isn't an intrinsic part of this brew.

 

*We also have a “state snack,” which is the whoopie pie, which, in my mind, is also a dessert. But I digress.

 

 

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