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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 100 Drink: 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer

Thanks to the Belgians, most of us have had the chance to taste a kriek (cherry) or a framboise (raspberry) ale. But how about a watermellon beer?

21st Amendment Brewery was founded by Nico Freccia and Shaun O'Sullivan in San Francisco in 2000. The brewery's popular taproom and restaurant is located close to where the home of the San Francisco Giants.

“There are fruit beers out there that I enjoy, but you can really only drink one of them,” says Freccia. A watermelon in Freccia’s kitchen a decade ago sparked an idea that resulted in a brew that Freccia calls “a beer first” and “not a gimmick.”

“Hell or High Watermelon is always the top selling summer beer in our pub,” Freccia says. “We put it in cans because it is the perfect beer to take to a barbecue, the beach or on a picnic.” Even though he says “I don’t think of it as a fruit beer,” about 400 pounds of watermelon go into making a 12 barrel batch of the wheat beer. Gone are the days when staff at 21st Amendment would carve up 40 cases of fresh watermelon to add to the beer. Now the brewery uses a slurry made by a juice company. The brewery cans Hell or High Watermelon in Minnesota and has distribution from Seattle to Northern California and from Massachusetts to Northern Virginia.

21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer pours a cloudy gold color with a direct red watermelon nose. Small, but persistent head. Very drinkable. The watermelon flavor is subdued with a slight hint of the rind in this 4.9 percent alcohol by volume beer. Perfect warm weather pool side brew.

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