Heavy Melon- Watermelon Lime Ale
Regardless of what so-called “scientists” say about solstices and progressions of the seasons, Memorial Day is the barometer by which most people mark the start of the glorious season that is Summer. Lazy hours at the lake, coming in after a hard day working in the yard, endless hours in the balmy body-temperature air of evening: all of them magical, and all of them deserving of a good beer. So why not open things up with a beer that’s DEFINITELY a summer seasonal? I love limes, but the only lime beers I’ve tasted are the interesting-but-gimmicky key lime pie beer from Short’s and the abysmal Bud Lite Lime. Watermelon beers have thus far eluded me (unless you count Bud Lite Watermelon-Rita, which I do not). So let’s see what this combo has to offer!
The Brewer’s Pitch:
Heavy Melon is the perfect thing to cool down a hot summer night. Water melon juice and tangy lime zest pair in New Belgium’s newest seasonal beer. Fruity aromas of melon and citrus bring a wash of fruity sweetness, papaya notes, a grassy bitter back end and just a hint of tartness to wrap it all up. This one is designed to be crisp clean and refreshing from top to bottom and be the perfect way to beat the heat.
Heavy Melon pours clear fizzy gold with some orange highlights and a fluffy champagne-yellow head. The nose is barely there, just the finest hint of sweet wheat that isn’t strong enough to suggest any fruit. The beer is light and crisp, grain-forward like a traditional wheat. The fruit doesn’t really show up in the main taste, but at the end there’s a sweet soft burst of a flavor like watermelon candy. The finish is gently bitter, just enough to clean the grain off the palate- this blends into a slightly stale old-grain taste. The lime seems to be hiding, but it could be helping shape the clean burst that comes in at the end before the staleness develops.
Watermelon is an odd duck of flavors- the melon itself is so mild that you almost have to turn to the artificial-tasting watermelon candy flavor to say “hey, this is watermelon.” It’s a challenge New Belgium doesn’t really seem to have been up to. This beer is 90% a perfectly OK wheat ale. It does have that slight fade of watermelon that elevates it but it also suffers from an aftertaste that comes off as stale. One important note- I started drinking this at a quite cool temperature and the stale flatness was much more pronounced. This is a serviceable addition to a summertime beer cooler, but be sure to drink it icy cold to maximize the crispness and sweetness and minimize the downsides.
The Bottom Line:
New Belgium cites three fruit elements of the beer: Melon, Citrus, and Papaya. Why does papaya get screwed out of its place on the label?