Jackie O’s Put 420 Pounds of Raspberries In This Beer, But It Wasn’t EnoughAugust 28, 2019
Ohio brewer Jackie O’s has a reputation for churning out some of the best barrel-aged beer in the country, but no-barrel-needed Razz Wheat is one of the brewery’s best-sellers. Coming in just behind the flagship IPA in popularity, Razz Wheat is a wheat ale fermented with 420 pounds of raspberry puree. At 5.5% ABV, it’s light in body and built to let the copious amounts of added fruit shine.
Razz Wheat’s can is adorned with a pink deer munching on some raspberries, but the beer loses most of that raspberry hue once it is in the glass. It’s a murky, rusty brown with just a hint of red. An unappetizing color that nonetheless gives me hope for the beer as it means it likely includes no artificial coloring, and therefore, hopefully, zero artificial raspberry flavor either.
Leaning over the glass reveals a not-so-surprising aroma: raspberries and wheat. A lightly sweet aroma has me wondering if it is from the naturally sweet ingredients or a “natural” added flavor that tastes anything but.
Jackie O’s Razz Wheat has its ups and downs.”
The combination of a wheat beer and raspberries should play together extremely well, but, while each comes through distinctly, they stop just short of marrying perfectly. With every sip, I find myself searching for more raspberry flavor. It’s not that raspberry is totally missing, it’s just taste like some of the fruit’s best character has been stripped away. While the end result is a touch too sweet, the lack of cloying, artificial additives nudges Razz Wheat a cut above similar fruit beers.
Jackie O’s Razz Wheat has its ups and downs. While the color and timid raspberry flavor work against it, the sweet, tart, and naturally fruity aroma draws you in again and again. Razz Wheat is a solidly above average offering, particularly for the style, and I have to commend Jackie O’s for sticking with all natural ingredients that absolutely make for a better beer.