Fruit Slave

Fruit Slave - 7.5% ABV

Illuminated Brew Works (Chicago, Illinois)

Double Dry Hopped Double IPA

First off, Fruit Slave is a beer my husband picked out of the takeaway beer fridge at Beermiscuous in Chicago because, well, the can is really fucking cool. It looks just like Zebra gum from when we were kids.

(You know, the one with the temporary tattoos on the wrappers that would just stain your skin in the vague shape of a zebra? and where the flavor only lasted .5 seconds before you wanted to spit it out? THE VERY SAME.)

The can has a goat with swirly eyes to inform you that there wasn't any fruit in that gum, just like there's not fruit in this beer. However, it does have Motueka, Citra and Mandarina Bavaria hops in it, which give you the sweet, sweet illusion of tropical fruits. At least that's what the label says, so let's find out.

(Note: This beer was canned on March 15, so it's about 2.5 months old. Some say that's old for an IPA, but I say I don't have the money or alcohol tolerance to drink all the IPAs I want to drink in a 2 month period.)

Fruit Slave pours a hazy, orange yellow with about 1 cm of head in a tulip glass/ beer goblet, whatever you want to call it. On the spectrum of clear to milky, it's kind of in the middle — you can't see through it, but it's not opaque like orange juice can be.

The nose doesn't have as high of a tropical flavor as, say, Tropicalia from Creature Comforts, but it has a bit of a tropical citrus bite to it. On first sip, though, it has a ton of juicy flavors. The first thing that hits is a mandarin orange, almost with a pineapple note to it, and then you get a bright bitterness on the front of your tongue. I'm pretty surprised that there's as much flavor as there is, simply going off the smell.

This beer has a pretty light mouthfeel for a hazy beer, but it's not to thin or watery. It also has a clean finish and the bitterness doesn't linger around for belching, which I appreciate.

There's something else going on in this beer, like a random mystery fruit flavor that just amps up the tropical notes. I can't put my finger on it right away.

Let's take a quick break for hop education to see if we can figure it out.

Motueka Hops - Gives off tropical fruit and citrus notes. Can be used for bittering because it is not as harsh as Citra hops. From New Zealand and can be used at any point of the brewing process. According to hopslist, it isn't used as much in IPAs, but instead in sweet, malty and fruity beers such as English Ales, Belgian Ales, Maibocks.

Citra Hops - Gives off citrus, grapefruit, lime and tropical fruit notes. Has a harsh bitterness. It is one of the most high-impact aroma hops in the U.S.

Mandarina Bavaria Hops - A daughter of the popular Cascade Hops, this hop varietal originated in Germany. It has slightly sweet notes of tangerine and citrus, especially when used for dry hopping.

And we're back. Based off of those hop profiles, I feel like the extra flavor I'm getting off this beer is just a little bit more sugary sweetness than I'm used to in my IPAs, especially my dry hopped double IPAs. I can honestly see how some people might not like that addition because it's not a malty sweetness. Instead, it's just like someone stirred a little bit of sugar in your beer. Due to the fact that this label conjures up memories of sickly sweet gum, however, I think it works well in what they aimed to do with this beer.

I was worried I'd be disappointed in this beer just because the intensity of the label promises so much, but instead, I'm pleasantly surprised! This beer was more clean that I thought it would be, and the extra sweetness gives me more tropical vibes than some other Double IPAs I have had recently. If you see it, pick up a single to see if the flavor works for you. Or, just gift it to someone who can appreciate some rad can art.

Overall rating: 4/5

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