6/21/21: Bell's Brewery, Inc.'s Tropical Oberon

4:53 PM

It's June 21st, the first full day of Summer 2021. We've reached what I call "hella hot" as of Saturday. If you've been around the blog for a while, you might know what that means. 

Bell's released Mango Oberon last summer. I drank it on one of those hella hot early-July days and loved it. You can believe I was ecstatic when Tropical Oberon was announced in late May. I knew I had to try it. And, now that summer's officially begun and the days are heating up, I figure the time's come at last. So throw on some shades and pull up a city pop playlist on YouTube: It's Tropical Oberon Time.

Bell's Brewery originated as Larry Bell's homebrew supply story in 1983. Two years later, though, Larry sold his first commercial beer and, as you can see on Bell's "Our Story" page, the rest is history. Over the last two and a half decades, Bell's has seen some major expansions to their facilities and additions to their lineup. They're now, quite possibly, the most renowned craft brewery in the Midwest. Seriously, I bet those distant family members of yours who only drink domestic lagers know, and most likely appreciate, Bell's.

Tropical Oberon is billed as the same Oberon you know (5.8% ABV, notes of citrus and light spice), just with a massive infusion of real fruit. The fruit--guava, passionfruit, and mango--impart the aromas and flavors that cause this variant to carry that "Tropical" moniker. 

It shouldn't shock you to learn that Tropical Oberon's nose is all big, bold tropical notes; sure, there's passionfruit and guava, mango and orange, but I'm also picking up on lemon, pineapple, and strawberry. This is a delectable bouquet, even without considering the hearty citrusy and spicy backbone that the standard Oberon in this variant carries. Purrl (who isn't much of a fruit fiend) couldn't get enough of my bottle. She gave it twelve whiffs before finally refocusing her attention on a bird just outside the open window.

The fruity sweetness of this ale's flavor profile is undeniable. It tastes like a tropical smoothie, accompanied with a malty rush and a healthy dosage of hops. My initial impression, though, is definitely smoothie and I stand by that. Even deep into the finish of my first swig, it's still mango, guava, passionfruit, orange, strawberry, lemon, and pineapple. Deliciously decadent.

Oberon's a wheat ale, so that smoothie analogy I just used is still super fitting when mentioning the mouthfeel. Full, creamy, and perfect for the ale.

Before I start talking about what Tropical Oberon reminds me of, let me say that I know it's a summer beer. But, it reminds me of early October cross country in high school. See, there was always one meet my team would go to (yes, I ran XC in high school) that had a smoothie stand. The meet would always be in early-October and, because it was early-October in central Ohio, the sky would always be cloudy.

I loved that meet all four years of my high school career. After crossing the finish line, I'd wander over to the smoothie stand and hand over a fiver in exchange for a large strawberry and pineapple smoothie. That smoothie's sharp flavor has a lot in common with today's beer.  Who cares that I always drank it during prime spooky season?

I really enjoyed last year's Oberon variant, but this year's is even better. Bell's has officially mastered the process of adding fruit to one of their most treasured beers. Tropical Oberon gets my highest recommendation, with a score of 10/10. I have no idea how Bell's would go about topping this with any future Oberon variant, but I hope I get to find that out.

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