Rhubarb beer: good for drinking, bad for puns


If nothing else, Rhubie wins the cute beer label contest hands down.

The Specs: Lighthouse Brewing Co. (Victoria), Rhubie Rhubarb Wheat Ale
650mL; 6.2 per cent ABV; seasonal

While I’ve been trying not to prejudge any of the beers I drink for Bad Rider, I didn’t have high hopes for Lighthouse Brewing Co.’s Rhubie, which I’d heard some bloggers complain didn’t taste anything like the fruit it’s supposed to contain. After the whole What the Huck experience I’m wary of fruit beer that seems to sub sugar for flavour.

[Ed. note — What ‘What the Huck’ experience you might ask? Check back Tuesday afternoon to find out…]

Thankfully that’s not the case here.

I think what may make it easy to discount Rhubie’s rhubarb flavour is that rhubarb in its raw, unsweetened, unseasoned form doesn’t appear on a lot of menus. Sure, the internet tells me it’s a thing (in smoothies — of course), I can’t say the idea of eating what amounts to a sour, tough and pink celery knockoff really appeals. Fruit crisp all the way.

But that’s the place where the rhubarb flavour in Rhubie is coming from, and here it’s a welcome addition.

If you’re looking for it, the rhubarb seems to show up most at the top of a sip as a very green, almost grassy flavour, that gives way to a crisp wheat beer with some Pilsner affectations.

It’s not a particularly aggressive fruit profile, and if you’re looking for something on the Peach Cream Ale end of the fruity spectrum you’ll be disappointed. Ditto if you’re picking it up mainly for the novelty factor of hey, rhubarb in beer.

But if you’re a wheat ale fan more than a fruit beer fan this is actually a pretty solid pick.

Remember that green top note I talked about? It has the benefit of making the beer very, very drinkable. The lighter, tart flavour of the rhubarb seems to break up the sips, making it one of the more refreshing wheat beers I’ve had recently.

For only 6.2 per cent ABV, this seemed to have one heck of a kick to it as well, but that might have had something to do with me finishing the bottle in what is now record time for one of these reviews.