A common misconception in the beer-drinking world is that beer should be packaged in bottles instead of cans. From the most casual novice who believes Heineken is a flavorful ale (bless his little heart) to the bearded, barrel chested, flannel-donning, rosy-cheeked beer hunter to whom is referred by his first name by half of the Trappists in Belgium, and including the secluded, reclusive, wild haired home brewer who has infinite knowledge of beer chemistry but wouldn’t recognize a bottle of Founders KBS if it skull-fucked him in the town square of Grand Rapids, Michigan – the widespread belief still has plenty of muscle: “Glass is class; cans are trash” (I just made up that clever pun, thank you very much… and now I will masturbate to my reflection in the bathroom mirror).
I can certainly understand this belief as it continues to burn: metal taints flavor, glass does not. Metal is ugly, glass is pretty. Metal makes a dull, flat, unpleasant “thunk” when struck, and glass makes an angelic, high pitched “ping” that resonates sweetly like a note from a music box with the gentle flick of a forefinger. There is something indeed to be said about such aesthetics. But, my friends, when we are serious drinkers we pour our brew into the appropriate glassware when it’s time to imbibe. And I am here to humbly infuse your brain with a healthy dose of truth. Canned beer is like hardcore thrash heavy metal: it may not be the prettiest and delicate form of its art, but it stomps ass when it comes to appealing to its intended target senses. The modern day beer can not only causes no harm to the flavor, but prevents the organic compounds from being tainted by light, is cheaper to produce, and is more environmentally friendly to boot. CANNED BEER WINS.
By the way if you disagree with me about heavy metal I advise you to acquire the nearest umbrella, thrust it handle-deep into your colon, open it all the way up, and yank it out. And then tell yourself Henry Deltoid said, “Go fuck yourself.” HEAVY METAL FUCKING RULES.
To this day I am still of the opinion that Oskar Blues from Colorado pioneered the movement to canning craft beer, with several other stellar outfits following shortly thereafter in their stagger-steps. Included in these fine establishments is the 21st Amendment Brewery out of San Leandro, California, which brings me today to my review of their fruity, wheat ale: “Hell or High Watermelon”.
This is a very controversial product in the community. Many critics trash it for its signature flavor profile while others praise it for the innovation behind it. Some enjoy the flavor while others are disgusted by it. Like it, love it or hate it, it’s difficult to deny Hell or High Watermelon is brewed splendidly for what it is, and is quite interesting and unique.
Hell or High Watermelon is a cloudy, dull, straw-yellow with a bright white, thin head. The head is lively, fizzy, and seethes like a Yellowstone Park bubbling mud pot before running out of energy, collapsing and retreating into the brew. Its aroma is timid and displays sweet, grainy bread and traces of sweet fruits. The flavor, of course, is the backbone of the controversy. Upfront the flavor is quite strong for a session wheat ale with fresh grains, fresh bread, a pinch of zest, and…what am I forgetting? Oh, yes: watermelon. The watermelon flavor is unmistakable, and I declare it’s important the drinker knows this isn’t an artificial flavor. The cool, clean, juicy, crispy flavor of summer’s most popular fruit flashes its tits from a Bourbon Street balcony and commands a tribute of beads. It then finishes with a floral and bubble-gum flavored blast, then segues into the aftertaste which still boasts of watermelon, but also provides a grassy bitterness that is surprisingly stronger than one would expect from a beer with an IBU of only 17. There is no lacing around the glass. The texture is quite drinkable, moderately carbonated, and feels clean and refreshing.
This beer is indeed refreshing, organically sweet, and flavorful. The watermelon is balanced with the malted wheat, hops, and yeast in the best way it can be. Because of this flavor profile I admit it’s not my style of ale, but for a hot summer day one or two cans of 21st Amendment’s famous Hell or High Watermelon certainly are welcome.
For a session ale I much prefer the 21st Amendment “Bitter American”, and I doubt I can find a fellow beer-lover who disagrees with me… but it appears that beer is no longer in production! What the fuck? 21st Amendment: please explain yourselves, because at the risk of unfairly slandering Hell or High Watermelon, I stand firm on my opinion that leaving it under production while eliminating Bitter American from the assembly line makes as much sense as selecting Freddy Krueger for a gynecologist.
Fruit Wheat Ale