In 2013, in the Point Loma neighborhood of San Diego, a brewery was born. Modern Times Beer started as a single 30 barrel production brewery but has expanded quite a bit, while including a barrel program and new breweries and restaurants in Los Angeles and Portland. Tasting rooms have also come about in Oakland, San Diego’s North Park, Encinitas and Santa Barbara.

The brewery was named “Modern Times,” after a utopian community that was built on Long Island in the 1850s by a group of people that attempted to show the world what a perfect society could look like. Unfortunately, once the word got out, many people came to their special society, overran it and destroyed the core values that had been established. The area was what is now known as Brentwood. Many of the beers that the brewery produces are named after real utopian experiments and mythological utopias.

I have had the opportunity in here in Virginia to have tried a couple offerings from the brewery, including its Booming Rollers IPA and Fruitlands Gose with passionfruit and guava. Both have been solid beers and I look forward to taking the next step as I review Modern Times Gravity Hammer, a 10 percent ABV Berliner weisse brewed with strawberry, raspberry and cranberry that was sold in a four-pack of 16-ounce cans for $26.

Poured into a Teku glass, the carbonation hits hard right out of the 16-ounce can and then tames itself rather rapidly by the last of the pour. There is about a half finger of light pink head that dissipates quickly leaving no film or any trace that it was ever there. Aroma is a really huge strawberry note followed by raspberries though there is hardly any cranberry initially on the nose. This smells like a fruit bomb or a fruit pop.

The initial sip is exactly what I had anticipated, lots and lots of fresh fruit and a sourness that has a great feel for freshness and taste without distracting from the flavor. The strawberry and the raspberry remain at the top and I am now left wondering if the cranberry was even necessary as it has not had a starring role as of yet. About halfway through this one, the alcohol comes forward and although it is definitely noticeable, it does not detract from the incredible fruit melange that I have just encountered.

Carbonation is great though it could be a little stronger, the same can be said about the tartness. Just when this beer is enlightening me, it seems to stop just short of taking it to the next level, which in my opinion would have elevated it to the next plateau. The finish is full of strawberry with the raspberry running a strong second. The cranberry seems to be present through the slight dryness that approaches near the finish, and the tannic notes that extend the fruit goodness a little further and add a little more balance overall.

Modern Times Gravity Hammer
BREWERY: Modern Times Beer
LOCATION: San Diego, Calif.
STYLE: Berliner Weisse
ABV: 10 percent
IBU: Not Disclosed
PRICE: $6.50 (Four-Pack of 16-Ounce Cans, $26)
AVAILABLE IN: 16-ounce cans
This is a fruit bomb. There are tons of fresh berries abound in this semi-sour creation. It's so much fruit that I wished it had come across as a little more sour and carbonated. Even though the beer was excellent, it left me wanting more boldness, more sourness and a little more carbonation to bring this beer to first place at the finish line. Don't get me wrong, it was well done. Even though it is retired and no longer brewed, I hope someday it comes around again and fulfills all that I ever wanted in this style of beer.
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