Rosé has seen a remarkable renaissance in recent years. You can’t have a true summer fete in L.A. without a stockpile of pink bottles. The subject of countless trend pieces in lifestyle magazines and on websites, it’s seemingly everywhere. But why not mix it up with some craft beer that checks the same boxes as the versatile rosé, and in some cases is inspired by the pink stuff?
There are many craft beers that offer flavor and character akin to a light and refreshing rosé. Here are a couple suggestion:
Orange County’s the Bruery is no stranger to adulterating beer with wine grapes, and their latest foray into wine/beer hybrids starts with one of summer’s favorite styles: the gose. A tart wheat ale from Germany, gose is traditionally lightly spiced with coriander and salt. It can be a curious combination, but the subtle salinity adds a roundness and helps balance the acidic bite.
Goses Are Red starts as a by-the-book gose before it’s conditioned with wine grapes in large oak vats. The grapes add a rosy blush and fruit aromas that mesh with the tart and earthy gose. There’s a touch of funk in the aroma reminiscent of a natural wine, and a spritzy effervescence reinforces the bright, refreshing finish. 750-milliliter bottles are available at Whole Foods, specialty beer retailers and the Brewery’s online store for about $10. Just over 5% alcohol.
Rosé de la Vallee is another hybrid beverage from a brewery experienced in working with grapes sourced from New Zealand’s thriving wineries. The Garage Project beer starts as a crisp and dry pilsner married to a dose of fresh-pressed Pinot juice. After fermentation, the brew gets a two-day rest on Pinot skins that adds color and some tannic structure.
Where the Bruery’s rosé-inspired beer is light and tart, the Garage Project take has more wine character layered on top of the crisp pilsner, with floral hop aromas that complement the bright berry character from the grapes. Bottles of Rosé de la Valleé can be tricky to track down (try Sunset Beer Co. in Echo Park or Cap ‘n Cork market in Los Feliz), and you may experience some sticker shock. At over $16 a bottle, the beer is more expensive than many popular rosé wines, but as with much of the Garage Project offerings, Rosé de la Valle is unique enough to warrant a splurge.
The tart and funky sour beer family holds many apt alternatives to rosé, and the subtle and balanced lambic-style beers are particularly fitting for fans of pink and natural wines. The wild beer offshoot of Long Beach’s lauded Beachwood Brewery — the Beachwood Blendery — offers a line of lambic-style beers, some with fruit added, others flavored more with hops. Start with the unadulterated Chaos Is a Friend of Mine and explore from there. For a more old world example that’s heavy on the berry flavor, Lindemans Cuvee Rene Kriek is both excellent and affordable.
Aside from acidity and bright berry flavors, many rosés also provide a smack of melon on the palate. Why not try a light and approachable beer that also tastes of melon? Hell or High Watermelon from 21st Amendment is a summertime favorite wheat beer that’s also widely available in cans, and while it could be a little drier, it still hits many of those notes that make rosé so popular. Another tart gose-style beer, Briny Melon Gose from Anderson Valley Brewing, treads similar territory to the Bruery offering mentioned above, but with a pickled melon rind flavor. A new favorite melon-fueled brew is the Bump ‘n’ Rind from Boulder Beer Co. The golden kolsch finishes dry and doesn’t hit you over the head with the melon flavor.