When I heard that a friend was heading to Downtown Toronto to the Bellwoods Brewery, I very quickly and excitedly made a couple of requests after perusing the website for current offerings.
I was very quickly intrigued by the Fruit Helmet, with this year’s version being a mix of strawberry-banana (“aka, the power couple”), finished with lactose.
Fruit Helmet is a collaboration with Evil Twin Brewing from Copenhagen, Denmark. An unusual blend of cultures, to be sure, but the payoff is obvious.
Bellwoods is a fantastic brewer that quickly became a cult favourite in the Toronto Craft Beer scene, attracting many crafties from far and wide. Many of the beers are one-offs or limited in run, and for those of us outside of the city, it is quite sought after.
After opening their doors in 2012, the demand become so high that a second location was opened in 2016. I still question whether this is enough to meet the demand for their highly touted brews.
This particular beer is one that has been brewed in a few different incarnations, with different fruit variants. The strawberry-banana could easily pass visually as a tropical fruit juice.
It pours with very little head, and the colour is exactly what I would expect of a strawberry-banana juice.
The nose is very sweet, and this is where the fruit really shines. Since it hits the nose hard, the first sips are rich with the sweetness of the fruits. However, an extra layer of flavor comes through afterwards, with a bitterness that balances the fruity notes.
I’ve written here previously about my appreciation of the use of lactose in fermentation. It works well here, because it complements the natural sweetness of the fruit, which would typically break down throughout the process of fermentation.
The end result is an extremely delicious and drinkable pale ale, with a tinge of sour. It is surprisingly well-balanced, given everything that is going on with it. I think that this beer is absolutely fantastic, and would appeal to a wide array of craft beer drinkers.
- ABV: 5.6%
- IBU: N/A
- Style: Pale ale
- Taste: Smooth and creamy
- Rating: 4.8/5.0
- Untappd Reviews
As a continuing feature of my reviews, each review will be followed by a one to two-line review from my wife, Stephanie. As a non-beer drinker, her reviews will be from the perspective of a “layman” beer drinker.
Before tasting, when I told her that this has a 4.0+ review on Untappd:
“That means it probably doesn’t taste like fruit!”
After tasting (shortly after a small bowl of ice cream):
“It smells way better than it tastes. It is immediately good, but it has a bitter, hoppy finish that I don’t like… but I think I could power through. The ice cream might have f’d up my palate.”