I am not a big fan of whales.
I’m not talking about the giant mammals that live in the ocean, I have no problem with Shamu, that’s not what I mean. It just seems that some beer aficionados go a little overboard trying to find ultra-rare, ultra-unique bottles of beer that can’t be drank, but can only be allowed to be put on a shelf and stared at longingly for a decade and a half.
I am not particularly fond of that, especially since whenever I actually do get a whale, it ends up being pretty disappointing. Every so often, though, I am surprised with one and by getting one, as was the case with Inoculum Ale Works release of Parthenocarpic (Sour Ale, 5.5% ABV). I will have to explain this though.
Parthenocarpy is a process, either natural or man-made, where fruit is produced without the aid of ovules or fertilization. It’s how seedless fruit is created, e.g. pretty much every banana you can find in a grocery store.
Nick and his team at Inoculum use this as the inspiration for an ultra-rare, incredibly unique beer that was released some time ago, and that I managed to get my hands on. Being Nick, the beer was produced with three different strains of yeast that I can’t even pretend to understand. That’s not the most interesting thing about the beer.
The interesting thing about the beer was the fact that it used Florida tangerines. And when I say Florida tangerines, they didn’t get a bag from the Publix that’s across the street from their brewery. No, they went out into the wild, rubber gloves and all, and hand-picked all the wild tangerines that were used in the making of the beer. It’s a labor of love that was very evident when tasting the beer.
I will admit that Parthenocarpic isn’t so much a beer, as much as it is an experience. Anybody who’s interested in beer and exactly how far the envelope can be pushed needs to have an experience like this at least once in their beer-drinking life. Once you smell the very interesting, almost musty aroma with the beer and take in all the strong earthy and vegetative notes of the of the aroma, you know you’re in for something different and special.
With the taste, you get a very strong, almost electric and sweet Tangerine flavor. The extra time and extra effort that they took in finding and hand picking all of the fruit is evident the moment it hits your lips. It’s also got a sharp, sour, Lacto bite to it, not quite vinegar, but still very pronounced and quite tasty.
It was an experience, but a limited one as only 500 bottles were produced and I doubt a bottle is going to pass my way again. Don’t be too sad, as Parthenocarpic is apparently going to be the first in a line of beers that Inoculum is going to be producing. I would have no problems with going to help Nick and pick the fruit for the next release.
But he needs to bring the bug spray.
Drink Florida Craft,
P.S. My phone changed ‘Parthenocarpic’ to ‘Perth in a carpet.’ Apparently we’re selling rugs in Australia.