Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. Our minds have the ability to transform the present into the past, recalling with near perfect clarity a moment years or decades prior. Rarely can a beer elicit this visceral response, but rarely does a brewery as acclaimed as Prairie Artisan Ales set its sights on replicating a childhood favorite like rainbow sherbet in beer form.
The Oklahoma-based brewer has gained notoriety with excellent offerings ranging from stouts to sours, with the ability to add adjuncts across the flavor spectrum with the same type of precision and confidence as malt or hops. Childhood nostalgia is king, though, so if you are going to take aim at the king, you’d better not miss.
Taste and smell are the powerhouses of the senses when it comes to recall, but the art on this can deserves mentioning. It depicts a Jetsons-esque roadway in the sky, with bright hues hitting every aspect of the rainbow that are balanced by soft curves and no sharp angles.
The beer itself is fairly nondescript in the glass, with a golden, hazy body that could easily belong to about ten styles of beer. The aroma, though, is a dead giveaway. It’s bright and tart with a hammer of fruit and milky sweetness that grabs my attention and steers me directly back to childhood.
One sip, and I’m transported to a beachside ice cream parlor I didn’t even realize I remembered. That bracing, fruity tartness roars to the front before it’s softened by creamy sweetness. It rounds out the flavor just enough that you can go right back in for another scoop—er, sip—without totally fatiguing your palate.
It’s a major gamble to take a shot at capturing such a distinct flavor in beer form, but with Rainbow Sherbet, Prairie absolutely nails it.