Tasting Notes: Melville’s Fruit Beer

It’s tough to make a good fruit beer. Scratch that, it’s tough to find a good fruit beer—until now. Trust Scottish specialty brewer Innis & Gunn to come to the rescue. Their new venture, Melville’s Craft Lager, makes fruit-based beer—emphasis on the beer.

To make it work, Melville’s brews a crisp lager, using Slovenian hops and their own strain of yeast; their lager is also cold-filtered. Then, they make fruit juice by slowly cold pressing berries, extracting the juice. Final step, they blend the juice and beer such that about 20% of every bottle has juice from Jubilee strawberries, Glen Ample raspberries, or fresh ginger.

Melville’s Strawberry

Pink tinged orange with a thin but dense head. The aroma is light, with fermented strawberries and cereals. On the palate, there’s light malt and the soft sweetness of wild strawberries, just a shad tart on the finish. The strawberry taste here is authentic, rather than the sickly sweet taste of something artificial.
Scotland, 4.1% — 4x275ml $9.95

Melville’s Raspberry

Light pink with a thin head. The aroma is faint, of raspberries and grain. The palate is also faint, of raspberries and cream. It has a light mouthfeel, and the finish is dry and a bit tart. Again, the taste is more like eating actual raspberries than, say, raspberry candy.
Scotland, 4.1% — 4x275ml $9.95

Melville’s Ginger Beer

It should be said that the phrase “ginger beer” refers to two different things. Over the past two centuries, it has meant a carbonated sugary beverage that’s “beer” in the same way that root beer is “beer”. The second usage, since Crabbie’s hit the market a few short years ago, refers to alcoholic ginger beer. Melville’s is the latter.

Like their other offerings, it is a lager with ginger added to it. The result is a brassy amber with thin head but decent carbonation. The aroma is a mild ginger, albeit somewhat sweet. It is soft on the palate: malty, a bit sweet, a bit spicy, with a bit of brown sugar on the finish.

This is a beer first; ginger comes second. The flavour is nowhere near as spicy as one would find in a Jamaica ginger beer. It makes an interesting dark and stormy (I mixed it with Appleton’s 12), though, since a dark and stormy is made with conventional ginger beer, I suppose we’ll need a new name. Perhaps, dark and malty? Whatever, we’ll keep working on it.
Scotland, 4.1% — 4x475ml $9.95

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Dave Robson is the editor of DailyXY. He spends his time reading books, drinking Scotch, and smoking cigars.

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