Although it began as a hobby between brothers Brent and Chad Daniel, B52 Brewing Co. has become one of the best-known breweries in the Houston area since it opened its doors in May 2014.
The two brothers began homebrewing at their house in San Marcos, Texas years before that, but a trip to Costa Rica was all it took to push them to start the business with the help of their parents and Brent’s wife.
Named after the iconic Boeing B-52 bomber, the Conroe, Texas-based brewery now consists of more than seven acres of outdoor space that includes a taproom, beer garden, food trucks, games, and brewery tours.
While B52 Brewing did not start out brewing sours—one of its first beers was a wheat IPA—the style has become more and more popular over the years, leading to the creation of a new line of kettle sours the brewery named Smoothie Tart.
Typically conditioned on multiple kinds of fruit and brewed with either milk lactose or marshmallow, the first ale in the new series was Smoothie Tart: Pink Guava & Raspberry which was released on Jan. 12, 2018, but more versions soon followed.
In October 2020, B52 Brewing released its newest addition to the line just in time for Halloween named Smoothie Tart: Pineapple, Tangerine, Coconut, Marshmallow, a 6 percent ABV “Ambrosia Salad-inspired” fruited Berliner Weisse-style ale brewed with barley, oats, wheat, and lactose before being conditioned on pineapples and tangerines. The sour ale was then further conditioned on coconut chips before being released on Oct. 30, 2020, packaged in four packs of 16-ounce cans priced at $22 each.
Visually, the Smoothie Tart: Pineapple, Tangerine, Coconut, Marshmallow pours a hazy straw yellow color with about two fingers of the thin head; in fact, it is so thin that it comes as no surprise when the head quickly dissipates, leaving virtually nothing behind but a minutely thin lacing.
With that said, there seems to be plenty of carbonation and the aroma emanating from the top of the glass is a combination of very sweet pineapple, creamy oak, hay, and tangerine peels.
After how sweet the aroma is, I am pleasantly surprised to find that the flavor on the palate is quite a bit less sweet, although a strong pineapple note still easily dominates the profile.
Secondary flavors of tangerine and oak are also present at various points, but never become aggressive enough to threaten the main flavor.
There is also a nice combination of coconut and marshmallow sweetness on the finish—with the former being quite more distinct than the latter—but it is far from overwhelming and even disappears from the profile for short stretches of time.
As the ale warms to room temperature, the profile becomes a bit sweeter on the palate as well as a bit more complex, with flavors of citrus peel and grape juice joining the already existing notes, albeit in fairly small amounts.
The carbonation also retains its prickliness, and while I would not call it aggressive by any means, there is still plenty to go around by the time I take the last sip of the beer.
B52 BREWING SMOOTHIE TART: PINEAPPLE, TANGERINE, COCONUT, MARSHMALLOW
BREWERY: B52 BREWING CO.
LOCATION: CONROE, TEXAS
STYLE: BERLINER WEISSE
ABV: 6 PERCENT
RELEASE DATE: OCT. 30, 2020
AVAILABLE IN: 16-OUNCE CANS
BEERS POURED: ONE
From the aroma, I was expecting another overly sweet lactose-laden “sour” ale, but the Smoothie Tart: Pineapple, Tangerine, Coconut, Marshmallow had some surprises up its sleeve.
Instead of overwhelming sweetness, I tasted strong pineapple rind with hints of other flavors like tangerine, oak, and coconut. If you are looking for overt sweetness in a fruited sour, this is not for your, but the combination of tartness and distinct flavors make it a great choice to enjoy on a hot summer day by the pool, either alone or with a summer meal.
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