17 November 2010

Ravens Purple Beer? No, Franklin's Currant Affair

Are you a Ravens fan?  Do you also love exotic craft beer?  (Yes, I know that for most folks, the two together simply do not compute.)

Franklin's in Hyattsville is currently (ha-ha as you will see) pouring by far the most purple colored beer I've ever seen:  A Currant Affair:
"An American fruit beer made with Black Currants. Red in color with a pinkish head, fruity, slightly sweet with a tart finish.  4.5% ABV." 
Don't believe that "pink" and "red" stuff.  It is utterly, brilliantly Ravens purple--so much so that 1) my photos of the stuff, like any non-3D photos of the Grand Canyon, don't do it justice, and 2) you start to wonder if the inside of your mouth will be stained purple if you drink this stuff.

If you fear the concept of fruit beers because you've had bad experiences with either excruciatingly sweet "chick beer" Belgian fruit beers or excruciatingly tart Belgian lambics, rest assured that this is neither.  As the description says, it shows the character of the fruit in the initial second or two of the sip, but the finish is bracing, tannic, and dry, almost wine-like, albeit still very light on the palate and alcohol.  Some might even take a growler home and experiment with a dash of sugar just to bring out a bit more roundness to the palate, but it still finishes with that wispy, dry currant character.  Once you get past the seemingly-artificial look of the color and head, it works as a fruit beer.  Splendidly, if I may say so.

One of my wife's favorite beers is Lindemann's Cassis from Belgium; it was a delight to bring her a growler of a cassis-like beer of similar strength for about the retail cost of a 750-ml bottle of the import.  ($10 a growler at the source in Hyattsville)  If you're a Ravens fanatic, this might give you an excuse to drink excellent beer at the next tailgate or house game party.

Also on hand at the pub to sip while your growler is being filled:  A Pumpkin Pie Stout with spices, a rye double IPA called Hop E. Soul, and an English dark mild called Stonehenge.


BeerBrarian said...

I'm at Franklin's a fair amount and for me Currant Affair was a (rare) misfire. The dryness of the currants really shines, but there's just not a lot of "beer" flavor in it. It tasted like a fruity, purple macro to me. The pumpkin pie stout, on the other hand, is very well done. You can now buy 1L bottles of that, Van Damm, and a tripel.

Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

Happy to hear someone else's review. I'll grant that what I had came off more as a summertime beer, or even to some extent a "chick beer," but some of the point in my review is that many of the other beers of that nature insist on hitting you over the head with fruit, funk, bombastic mouthfeel, or all three. This one doesn't, and in that sense it's a somewhat refreshing change-up.