Sante Adairius is making noise in the craft beer world and has for a little while now. Tucked away about an hour and a half south of San Francisco, this brewery specializes in all styles of beer, but craft beer nerds go wild for their sour ales. Fruit Punch 2 fits that mold for sure. Brewed with Blackberries and Boysenberries, aged in oak casks, and bottled in limited quantities, I am very much looking forward to drink this guy today. This is where I’d usually put the “run the numbers” part in my intro, but I was curious as to why this beer is just labeled 16e.
SARA makes many other beers that are also adorned with the 16e label, so I did a little digging to figure out why that’s the case. 16e is a category that the Beer Judge Certification Program broadly classifies as a “Belgian Specialty Ale” and rumor has it that whenever SARA concocted one of their non-regular sour ales that they entered in competitions, they always threw it in that category. This just happens to be one of the recipes that they feel fits in the 16e category and because it’s not part of their regular line up, it’s one-offed into this bottle. Now with that behind us, let’s run them numbers!
Appearance: So pretty. Lucius red lipstick in color which makes this beer very aptly named based on looks alone. There was little to no head at all and also no lacing as I drank either.
Smell: Sour notes, big raspberry, cherry, cinnamon, and mulled cider. This smells incredible and much better than Rosé de Gambrinus and Cantillon Kriek combined. So much fruit with a little lactic notes, this is going to be great.
Taste: Big fruitiness up front with sour cherries, raspberries, and blackberries leading the way. A nice amount of sourness is coming from the beer, but nothing like Valley of the Heart’s Delight – it’s nicely balanced between sour and a big fruit punch (pun intended). I think I might have had a boysenberry once in my life, and I would say that this beer seems like it fits the mold of that – I get a liiiiiiiiitle bit of sweetness and then the pucker from any picked berry. A little musty as well, but I could be confusing that for oak. Fruit punch is very fruit forward, but has a light crisp flavor than can lose its powerfulness after 5 or so sips. It’s good, just wish it had more staying power. The finish is tart and dry and I also get some pitted olive that I’ve found in several other sours.
The beer was super drinkable with a light body and active bubbles, a great pair to have together. The ABV in Fruit Punch was much bigger that I was expecting at 7.4%, which is substantial for a sour. There was zero hint of any booze in this beer, just a lot of fruit.
Overall: I liked Fruit Punch 2, but for how hard this beer is to get and the diminishing flavor it had after a few sips, it doesn’t seem worth it to me to seek it out. Yes, it was a great beer, but at the end of the day, it didn’t deliver as much flavor as Cantillon Kriek or other Allagash fruited sours (which are not easy to acquire, but easier than this brew). However, the fact that this beer is in the conversation with the aforementioned breweries proves that it’s an A-/A beer. This is one heck of a 16e.