What you need to know
From Taiwan's Valencia Oranges to the "red meat" watermelons, these beers are the answer to your longings for a Taiwanese summer beer.
As the weather heats up, summer’s formal beginning awaits. In the muggy weather, we can take refuge under a fan’s breeze, pour a drink, and put on a great drama series to pass the evening hours after work.
But the monotony of supermarket beers and the overly sweet cocktail-flavored alcohol “drink” may become boring or even annoying. Sometimes they don’t even quench our thirst.
#1: Jumbo Sour｜Ugly Half Beer
Beer fans raved about Ugly Half Beer’s Jumbo Sour ever since its release in 2019. The name Jumbo was inspired by the brewing process, during which the fermentation gave off a “wet puppy” scent, reminding the brewmaster of his childhood puppy — an Akita Inu named Jumbo.
After a month of low-temperature fermentation, the liquid that smelled like “wet puppy” matured into a refreshing sourness. Cold-steeped hops added an extra layer of fruity aroma to the mixture. Along with its refined carbonation, Jumbo Sour balances its lemon and apple tastes with a mandarin-scented malt. This is perfect for anyone who wants to try sour beer or likes refreshing hops.
Jumbo Sour partnered with Animal Rescue Team Taiwan to release a charity edition of “Jumbo and His Towel” combo. Ugly Half Beer donates five kilograms of dog food to the rescue center per combo sale.
#2: Formosawa｜Taihu Brewing
Taihu Brewing’s signature cocktail beers with an alcohol concentration of 9.99 percent — Long Island Iced Beer, Sex and the Cosmopolitan, and Strawberry Daiquiri — steal the show at local bars.
To welcome summer 2020, Taihu released Formosawa, made with high-quality homegrown lemons. The Taihu team scouted for fresh lemon farms in Pingtung, the southernmost region of Taiwan, and transported them up north to their brewing facilities. One can of Formosawa has a juice concentration as high as 12 percent.
In terms of its taste, the lemon fragrance and its sweetness provide a good balance to the high alcohol concentration. It not only accentuates the herbal aroma but also retains the natural juiciness. On top of its lemon flavor, its aftertaste is unlike the other cocktail beers that might taste bitter or heavy. Formasawa is definitely the “painless” beer option for this summer.
#03: Watermelon Sour Beer｜Taiwan Ale Brewery
Speaking of Taiwan’s summer fruits, how could we leave out watermelon? Hailed as Taiwan’s first exclusive ale distillery, Taiwan Ale Brewery has brought out “Watermelon Sour Beer,” suffusing Taitung’s “red meat” watermelon into a Belgian sour. Hints of rose salt not only bring out the sweetness of the watermelon, but also remind Taiwanese drinkers of their childhood memories of dipping watermelon pieces into salt. Salted fruit can still be still be found in most night markets.
#04: Valencia Ale｜Alechemist
Through long term collaboration with micro farmers all over Taiwan, Alechemist has revived the production of Taiwanese barley and contracted high-quality wheat and corn. Alechemist has always been the one brand that stays rooted in Taiwan’s native soil.
Valencia Ale uses oranges sourced from organic farmers in the Hualien-Taitung region. The Valencia Orange is the late bloomer in Taiwan’s orange family, maturing after the other orange species are well past their peak season.
Once you pop open the bottle, the cheery aroma of orange and wheat rush into your nose. Its summery taste gradually spreads through your tongue smoothly, without a hint of heaviness. Just imagine spending a breezy summer night among the rice fields. There you have it.
#05: Milkshake IPA｜Sambar Brewing Co.
At first glance, Sambar Brewing Co.’s packaging might look like it’s produced by an American brewery. However, all the animals portrayed on the beer label are protected species native to Taiwan.
Sambar’s Milkshake IPA is brewed with a lot of mangos and apples, mixed with a variety of hops, oats, and lactose. The muddy yellow reminds one of a fresh milkshake with a strong fruity flavor. This could be a great choice even for someone who dislikes IPA.
TNL Editor: Nicholas Haggerty, Daphne K. Lee (@thenewslensintl)
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