Let’s get this party started! (Party = me drinking and writing by myself in front of my computer. Living la vida loca, people!)
The Lowdown: Honestly, I’m wary of fruit beers. They tend to come in two different varieties, either: 1) strange artificial flavoring that makes it smell and taste like bad medicine, OR 2) barely any fruit flavor at all, buried under the beer because the brewer was too scared of ending up like #1. A reasonable fear, but kind of defeats the purpose of putting fruit in your beer, doesn’t it? Anyway, it is with this trepidation and these preconceptions I approach Samuel Smith’s Organic Cherry. I pour it into a glass, it comes out a deep red-orange with a pink-tinted head that quickly dissipates. Let’s go!
The Whiff: Nice full cherry smells. Not medicinal. Sweet, pleasant, and only faintly beer-like. I don’t want to get too optimistic here, SO I WON’T. Total master of my emotions, bitches!
The Taste: Wow. Cherry. SO MUCH. Let it be said: Samuel Smith did not hold back on the fruit flavor for this beer. Not even a little. And it’s good! Seriously guys, this practically tastes like cherry soda. But…not exactly. If cherry soda was made with REAL cherries, definitely sweet but with a little bit of tart and a little bit of bitter to round them out (help from the hops? MAYBE), that’s what this tastes like.
A QUICK ASIDE ABOUT CHERRIES: I know most people think of maraschino cherries as the tiny neon-red super-sweet balls of fruit that tend to reside in that most unnatural red syrup and get thrown on top of whipped cream or dropped in a Shirley Temple (or God forbid, a cocktail). NO. That is fruit made into candy. Sickly-sweet artificial candy. If you want a treat, look up what maraschino cherries were, and then look into making your own (or buy some from the pros). They are incredible and made of WIN. Your cocktails just got upgraded from “SELL” to “DON’T BUY”. It’s really happening*.
THAT SAID, this is like real cherry juice from real cherries (which is what one would hope for, based on the “organic” label). Only bubbly. And alcoholic. It barely tastes like a beer, to be perfectly honest with you. Some people may not like that, and that’s fine. It’s not incredibly complex and I mean it when I make the cherry soda comparison. In terms of straight-up deliciousness though? YES.
Would you drink it again? YESSIR! To be honest, I probably wouldn’t drink more than one of these in a night (they’re big bottles, more than a pint), even if I was going for the gold in the Good Times Olympics. It would be a great way to start off a night though, or a taste break after drinking a lot of regular beers. A tasty sweet (but not too sweet) pick-me-up.
Would you recommend it to someone else? Almost universally YES. The only people I wouldn’t recommend it to are snobs who get hung up in the machinations that go with being a critic that for some reason require us to shun things that are just GOOD simply because they’re not complex enough or authentic enough or WHATEVER and somewhere along the way we forgot how to let go and just enjoy something for bringing happiness. For all that tends to go with this job for those of us who are critics or reviewers or tastemakers or whatever you want to call us, we are a LOT less discriminating in our everyday consumption than we let on in our reviews. There’s a lot of reasons for that (another discussion for another day), but my point is that I LIKE THIS JUST FOR BEING TASTY and I’m not ashamed of it. From here on out, any artifice, any snobby or high-falutin’ put-onnery I may have had in the past is hereby GONE**. If it’s good, I’ll let you know straight-up.
Overall: I’ve said enough, you should know by now if this is for you or not. For my tastes? A-
*Damnit people, get my pop-culture references! If you know it, shout out in the comments, you’ll make this grizzled old blogger happy.
**Was I very snobby in the past? I’m not sure. If I was, IT’S GONE…and if I wasn’t, you won’t miss it.