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The Weekly Beer Geek: Odd Side Ales Wheatermelon

Odd Side Ales Wheatermelon — wheat ale with fruit
$3.29/can (12 oz.)
Grade: D

The Beginning:
After the delayed spring from hell (the frozen part of hell, not the warm part), summer is here with a vengeance. Suddenly, I’m sleeping with the windows open, switching my workouts to trail runs, and luxuriating in the sticky lazy heat of the day. Few things say “childhood summer” like a big cold sweet wedge of watermelon, and few things say “adult summer” like an ice cold beer. Odd Side takes a crack at combining the two here. I’ve had watermelon ales before, and I’ve never found one that quite captures the cold sweetness and clean taste I crave from the combination. 

The Brewer’s Pitch
Odd Side is as reluctant as ever to over-hype their beer. Wheatermelon is extremely light, to keep the beer notes from overpowering the more delicate watermelon juice. Juicy sweet melon gives it a drinkable and refreshing character, with a clean finish to wrap up the summertime package. At 5% ABV, it’s not too strong to drink all day, and that’s a good sign for a summer sipper.

The Beer:
Wheatermelon is extremely pale gold, nearly white, with a thick creamy bright white head. The nose is funky and musty like old wet straw. At first sip, the thin and crisp beer hits hard with a burst of sour and bitter that goes aggressively over the whole palate. A hint of melon candy shows up late, but is quickly wiped out by a much stronger finish of sappy hops. Over time, the melon starts to build up and be noticeable, especially as the beer warms and some sweeter and more natural melon juice notes develop. The warmer the beer gets, the juicier the watermelon gets, but this is counteracted by the fact that the warming also makes the wheat base taste more and more stale. By the end, the taste in the mouth is a blend of citrus peel sour and melon candy, with an aftertaste like a lukewarm can of Miller Lite.

The Breakdown:
This is another shot at Odd Side in pretty quick succession, because I figured my recent dissatisfying brush with their Cherry Fruitsicle was a fluke. Now, I’m left doubting if they have what it takes for a tasty sweet fruity summer beer, because this is rough. It’s all too heavy-handed to be enjoyable, with aggressive bitter and sour blasts covering up any subtle watermelon that would have tied it all together. If it’s ice cold, I could see it hitting the spot if you were roasting hot and looking for something to cool off (and if you liked hops enough). It’s not an all-day sipper, though, because you would get rapidly burnt out from the harsh flavor notes–and really, if you wanted something that combined watermelon with harsh hops and stale ale, you could just dump a Miller Lite and an IPA into a hollowed out melon like a redneck who thinks vodka is for city people.

The Bottom Line:
The melons on the front are screaming because they realize what’s about to be done to them.

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