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Harpoon Sriracha Blonde

August 12, 2013

As anyone who follows this blog or my twitter feed knows, I am a big fan of Barcade. It’s my local hangout and one of my favorite bars in general. A while back, I saw a picture of some of the owners and bartenders at the Harpoon brewery with a caption about a collaboration between the bar and Harpoon. The lovechild of this brilliant union was a beer made with Sriracha, the ridiculously popular quasi-cult hot sauce. Ever since I first had it, I’ve generally kept a bottle in my apartment. There is in fact a bottle sitting within arm’s reach of me right now.

My curiosity was piqued. After all, I’ve definitely had beers with spices of all sorts added before, and the heat of Sriracha is well known. However, what sets Sriracha apart in my opinion is not merely the intensity of its heat but the complexity of its flavor. How would this translate into a beer, I wondered?

The first thing I noticed, as I held the clear gold beverage up to my face was a surprisingly sweet scent. Some kind of mixture of malt, and the fresh skin of a red pepper. Beneath this sweetness though there was a spicy pepper and garlic hint that was simply intriguing. As befits a Blonde, it was fairly light in body with a mouthfeel that I find best described as chewy. Not necessarily heavy but something you could distinctly feel.

The flavor is a sweet opening akin to the scent; malt and pepper flesh combining for something unique and delicious. This then gives way to the actual savory flavors present within sriracha sauces, the salts, garlic, vinegars, pepper varieties, and so forth. All of this gets laced together with a subdued version of Sriracha spices, once more leaning toward the flavorful end than the devastating heat end. A nice bready ending brings it to a close, rounding out the flavors nicely. There is a lingering bit of heat that sits just at the back of your mouth, giving you that true Sriracha tingle.

I would say this beer is worth trying for the pure novelty alone. Flavorwise, it’s complex, interesting, and good but might not be something you want to sit down and drink pint after pint of. All in all, a fantastic brew.

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