Fair State’s recent release of Spirit Foul created a mild panic of positive hysteria (we were certainly part of the problem), so it seems that the Northeast Minneapolis-based brewery is laying it on a little thick by following up in a matter of weeks with a cheerful, limited-release, holiday-ready raspberry and hibiscus sour ale that’s equal parts novelty, talent, and fun.
Like most modern beers with something interesting to say, Roselle rewards the drinker who takes the time to smell the glass before draining it. The aroma is floral with a berry-like earthiness, and it’s lovely and compelling.
The beer is tart and clean, with a woodsiness and pleasant dry finish. It’s the best of both raspberries and a light, mellow, 10-IBU sour ale, without any sugary qualities or unpleasant aftertaste. Though the brew has an earthy core, it finishes with a berry-kissed crispness. While the beer is a respectable 5.7 percent ABV, it’s remarkably delicate and free of any boozy notes.
It shouldn’t be taken as a slight to say that Raspberry Roselle is strongly reminiscent of another regional beer — if you’ve ever had New Glarus Brewing’s excellent Raspberry Tart, you’ll find that Roselle has some similar qualities. Both represent the natural character of the fruit without being either sugary or unpleasantly astringent or funky. It’s no small accomplishment.