Cucumber Wasabi Ale
Generous sample for $5 in a multi-beer sampling, 5.2% ABV
Purchased at the Brewery, Wolcott
Earlier this evening I tweeted the following:
Today I had a cucumber beer.
Today I had the last cucumber beer of my life.
Quite a large number of people favorited it and several others retweeted it. Which makes me wonder, why brew a cucumber beer?
Shebeen has come onto the Connecticut brewery scene with a decided trademark: Wacky sounding beers that in reality, are often somewhat muted. Bacon kona stout? Pineapple wheat? Concord grape saison? The bacon and pineapple flavors are very hard to detect – and your humble beer reviewer finds that to be a good thing. A very good thing.
I like bacon and I like pineapple. And I like cucumbers and I love wasabi. So although the idea of either (or both) in a “Japanese style ale” sounds like joke drink from a Jackass skit, I was strangely eager to try it.
So, what is it again?
This beer starts out pale and turns green due to the Wasabi and Cucumber. It has warmth and depth and is balanced with the coolness of the Cucumber.
First of all, I’ve gotta tell you, that doesn’t sound awful to me. Like I said, I like a nice cucumber and I love all types of hot mustards and horseradishes. So I tasted this thing with a very open mind.
As I took my (very generous) sample to go squirrel away in the corner to take another one of my secretive pictures, the young woman who was pulling the taps suggested I eat a pepperoni while drinking my cucumber wasabi beer. Perhaps it was my confused look that prompted her to continue, “Yeah, it really brings the flavor of the beer out.”
Okay, I’ve been to plenty of wineries where they give you a piece of dark chocolate to sort of prepare and pair your palate for a nice, rich cab. But this was a first for me: Eat a pepperoni to better enjoy a beer flavored with cucumbers.
Wait. Pause. What?
I love creativity and creative people. Rich Visco, the brains behind the Shebeen brews, has plenty of creativity. And quite frankly, as wacky as the wacky beers sound, in execution, they are not so wacky. (Again, this is a good thing.) Just found on Shebeen’s Facebook page: “I think this one will be hit or miss with folks. I have another one that I am going to try in 2 weeks. The creative juices are flowing again!” Fair enough.
So back to my CUCUMBEER.
Do you like cucumber? Because holy crap, this stuff is legit cucumber beer. I don’t get it. It confused and scared me. I know cucumbers are one of the more popular “in” things with gin and stuff, but in a thin Asian-esque ale? CU. CUMBER. BEER.
And where was the wasabi? I got none. None at all.
So I ate a pepperoni for some insane reason. I can report, with confidence, that eating a fatty piece of lightly spiced cured pork does nothing to enhance your KYUKUMBRR BEER. All it does it make you look into the rafters for the Candid Camera camera.
I really wish there was some wasabi flavor. I did this thing for a while a few years ago where I bought and drank all sorts of wacky drinks; mostly stuff from my local Asian supermarket. I drank a bunch of drinks that were in the vegetable/melon family of flavors. This beer totally reminded me of all that stuff.
I’m glad I had this though. It’s a clean and crisp and light beer, and probably more or less what the brewer was going for. The only problem is that it’s just pure cucumber. I know other adventurous breweries make beers that feature cucumbers (Cigar City makes a cucumber saison, which imparts far more flavors than just the cukes).
Just not my thing.
2015 Update: This review was one of several Shebeen reviews that prompted Shebeen Head Honcho Rich Visco to claim that I (and others) “just don’t get it.” Well, I’ll take his late July 2015 facebook post as a personal apology.
Overall Rating: D
Rating vs. Similar style: n/a