There’s no denying that winter is the time for hearty dark ales and porters but winter is just about behind us — officially anyway — and spring is on the way, which means it’s time to put away those dark beers and opt for something light, crisp and maybe even a little fruity. And this year, Redd’s Wicked is celebrating spring with a new, limited edition, Strawberry Kiwi flavor that pairs perfectly with a warm, sunny day.
While my RSVLTS compatriots are facing late-season blizzards in Hoboken, I find myself in sunny Orlando, “braving” weather in the high 70s. No heavy porter will do, but a fruit beer? It’s worth a shot! And as luck would have it, I find myself with a 10 -ounce can of Redd’s Wicked Strawberry Kiwi.
As more and more brewers experiment with fruit recipes, it’s getting harder and harder to tell what’s a beer, what’s a cider and what’s a malt beverage. The strawberry aroma has absolutely no trace of the hops or malt one expects from an ale. However, while certainly strawberry heavy, it’s not a sickly sweet, artificial candy smell. It’s more like the fresh aroma of a strawberry dessert topping.
The taste reveals similar findings. While Redd’s Wicked states it’s an ale with natural flavors and caramel color, there’s little hops or malt and it ends up tasting more like a cider — and that’s not a bad thing. The initial strawberry and kiwi flavors are definitely sweet, but the beer has a crisp, dry finish that saves your mouth from the heavy, syrupy feeling of other fruit brews.
For such a sweet beer, the body is surprisingly light and the moderate carbonation makes it easy to drink. What’s most incredible is that this stuff is 8% ABV yet there is very little alcohol taste — even less than some ciders with half the alcohol content.
Redd’s Wicked Strawberry Kiwi is available for a limited time in 24-ounce cans, 16-ounce cans and 12-packs of 10-ounce cans. While advertised as a way to kickstart the night with a bang, I’d say it’s more suited for a sunny cookout or pool party. But no matter when you drink it, it’s a tasty alternative to whatever unbearably bitter IPA or lip-puckering sour is trendy this season.