I’m not always open to venturing outside of my comfort zone when it comes to beer styles I enjoy on a regular basis. In my efforts to change that fact I’ve discovered a few things about myself while also finding some beers that I had been missing out on. One of the things I found out about myself is that there are few beers as addicting or supremely as a well made Pilsner.
While that has absolutely nothing to do with the beer up for review, it’s at least worth noting at the top here leading in to the review (it is my prerogative after all until someone else starts calling the shots). A second thing I found out is that I might also have a thing for Belgian Wits. Bell’s Poolside Ale fits comfortably in that category and like Avery’s Liliko’i Kepolo, it injects an intense fruit component that’s super refreshing during the summer months.
Now, I have yet to crack one of these bad boys open poolside, but make no mistake, it would taste mighty refreshing floating around on a lazy summer afternoon whether it be in a pool, lake, ocean or just chilling in your tub in the air conditioning. Brewed with Montmorency tart cherries and poured from a 12 ounce can Poolside Ale pours a hazy deep orange with some slight red/pink highlights with a thin creamy layer of head. The aroma evokes your typical Belgian Wit, verging on Hefeweizen with clove and banana prevalent on the nose and a very subtle cherry note.
Upon first sip the Hefeweizen characteristics hit right off the bat, but the evolution of flavors is almost magical. When it first hits the palate the notes of banana and clove are there for a second and are overtaken by a slightly tart cherry flavor that carries all the way through to the finish. Speaking of the finish, the beer ends like slightly sugary cherry juice with even more cherry coming through as it warms.
Overall Bell’s Poolside Ale is pleasantly fruity, but not quite as tart as it could be considering the use of tart Michigan grown cherries. My mind went in expecting something like a Hef/Berliner Weisse hybrid and while there is a mild tartness upon first contact it quickly evolves into something juicy. For me, Poolside Ale is a great example of the benefits of venturing outside your comfort zone from time to time, even if just to evolve as a craft beer enthusiast. If you’re staring down the barrel of an afternoon in the sun do yourself a favor and pick some of this up before the winter death grip starts sneaking up.