The Specs: Howe Sound Inn and Brewing Co. (Squamish, B.C.) Four-Way Fruit Ale
4.4 per cent ABV, 1L; regular series
The question I asked as I doled out plastic cups of beer to my co-workers one Friday afternoon sounded like a simple one: “What fruit do you think is in this?”
And for another beer, it might have been easier to answer. But we were dealing with Howe Sound Four-Way Fruit Ale, so instead I got a lot of…
“Pear, I think?”
“I’m thinking something more citrus, like grapefruit.”
And, in one case — “Almonds.”
Ok, so that co-worker didn’t hear me say ‘fruit,’ but still…
Four-Way Fruit is a mix of mango, passion fruit, pomegranate and raspberry — a combination that sounds like it could be the basis for one of those Sesame Street ‘one of these things is not like the other’ segments.
As we sipped our way through our samples, I found myself thinking about those grocery store juice blends that are advertised as raspberry cocktail, but mostly contain apple and grape juice concentrate.
In the same vein, Howe Sound’s four fruits fuse together into something completely different from the sum of their parts.
Without the benefit of the ingredients label in front of you, this could easily pass for a peach or pear beer, with an unusual, tropical edge.
But with the cheat sheet some of the truth starts to emerge. Mango is the dominant flavour, and while I’m not sure I ever did taste the pomegranate or passion fruit, but there’s a nice raspberry round off that manages to stay on the right side of the tart/sour divide.
Beyond its mysterious fruits, the brew is very carbonated compared to many of its fruit beer contemporaries, and on the lighter end of the spectrum, which keeps it from becoming cloying or sryupy.
As far as odd summer beers go, I’m calling this one a winner. Since it’s already September I’d advise drinking while you can still feel the rays on your face. Though it’s a year-round beer, I’m betting Four-Way Fruit is at its best before the mercury drops.