My apologies to all my beer-buddies for the lack of beer-related posts as of late. I’ve got a few in the hopper, just need to make it through the end of the summer semester to have more time to post.
I really like tomatoes. I have a coworker who comes into the office at random with huge cardboard boxes full of black princes, butterboys, beefsteaks, and pink ladies. On these days, I feast. Upwards of 12 tomatoes in a sitting, if I’m being honest with myself. I eat other stuff too, but if you tested my blood on any given Wednesday in summer, you’d find lycopene levels off the measurable charts.
At least tomatoes are healthy, right?
I’ve never heard of a tomato beer (excluding the foul atrocity that is Budweiser + Clamato). I’ve tasted tomato wine (which was surprisingly good) and had many other delicious food items that contain tomatoes or tomato cousins or something that was once part of a tomato. But never tomato beer. I wonder why sometimes, and think, “I’ll brew that.”
Then I stop myself and say, “Oliver, tomato beer doesn’t exist because that would be an awful, awful thing to unleash upon man kind. Kind of like rhubarb beer or curry flavored beer. Some flavors just aren’t meant to be experimented with, for the betterment of the human race. If you’re that bent on turning your tomatoes into alcohol, go make a Bloody Mary.”
But then I counter myself, “But, so many beers have happily married fruit and hops, like Sam Adams Cherry Wheat, Blue Moon Belgian White, and Harpoon Raspberry UFO! A tomato is technically a botanical fruit so why shouldn’t it be paired with some light malt and a heavy handful of hops?”
Ultimately, I’ll get distracted or embarrassed that someone caught me having a full blown conversation with myself and forget about tomato beer. But the figurative seeds have been planted.
Anyone who has been following my reviews for a while knows of my fondness of Harpoon IPA. I am admittedly kind of sort of a little bit partially obsessed with it. So imagine my cherub-like glee upon discovering a new variation of my beloved brew: Rich and Dan’s Harpoon Rye IPA. This was a small batch revisit to their flagship ale that is now commercially available (hooray!) and is wrapped in a pretty green label.
So Rich and Dan (founders of the Boston based Harpoon Brewery) can add rye to their near perfect IPA recipe, but I’m not allowed to add tomato or ten to a hefeweizen wort? What the shit? I understand that the The Reinheitsgebot are pretty specific, but I’m still confused as to where law ends and creative license takes over.
In their defense, the addition of the rye to the beer adds a certain spiciness that only enhances the already potent hop flavors. I think tomato might have a completely opposite effect. This IPA has a surprisingly complex malty taste, which is missing in a lot of commercial IPAs who opt for overpowering hops.
Holden Caulfield approved, even without any members of the nightshade family tossed in for good measure.
10 out of 10.