Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Raspberry Season's A-Comin'

In my mid twenties, I developed a fruit allergy that prevents me from eating practically all of my favourite fruits. I can no longer eat peaches, nectarines, pears, strawberries, kiwi... the list goes on.

Not only can I no longer eat my most-favourite fruit, apple, I cannot even be anywhere near someone else eating the gorgeous fruit. The vapours from a cut or pierced apple cause my tongue to itch and my throat to become raw. It's a nasty reaction.

Luckily, there are still some fruits that I can eat, including most tropical fruits and a handful of berries; among them, my favourite: raspberries.

With July, raspberries come into season in the Ottawa area, and I can't wait. And even though they haven't yet become available in the pick-your-own berry fields in our part of town, I can enjoy a taste in a new beer to hit our LCBO shelves.

Yes, I said beer. Porter, to be precise.

This weekend, I enjoyed a great raspberry porter from a BC brewery. Here are the details:
Raspberry Porter
Kelowna, BC
LCBO: $5.95, 650 ml; 5% ABV
It's hard to tell, from the brewery's Web site, whether this porter is a seasonal or a one-off product. Either way, it's worth going out ASAP and grabbing some. Especially, if you like porter. Or chocolate. Or raspberries. Or delicious beer.

A couple of months ago, I was excited to try a raspberry stout and was disappointed by the overpowering syrupy sweetness of the fruit. And so I was hesitant to try this raspberry porter, fearing the same punch in the mouth. Not so.

This porter pours dark brown with definite red hues. The head is a light beige foam that lingers through much of its journey to the bottom of the glass. It is warm and inviting.

The nose delivers a definite aroma of raspberry, like a jam, but without an overpowering sweetness. It smelled like a freshly washed basket of ripe-picked raspberries. Delicious.

I set myself up for a mouthful of fruit punch, and was pleasantly met by sumptuous dark chocolate and a mild raspberry undercurrent. This porter tastes like a porter, with only a modest raspberry presence. There was a sweetness, but it wasn't cloying.

The finish is almost dry for what I expected. I was left with the tartness of raspberry and chocolate, and I wanted more.

This beer is exactly what I expect from a fruit-flavoured porter: to maintain the characteristics of a porter but to entice with a teasing of raspberry.

I bought three bottles and greedily shared none of them. And they're all gone. And, like raspberry season, I don't think this porter will stay on the shelves for long, so go out and pick some while you can.


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