Bell’s Brewery, whose Oberon ale is cause for celebration when released in the spring, expanded its distribution portfolio by celebrating diversity with the canning of Sparkleberry, its Belgian-style tripel brewed with raspberries. Sparkleberry has appeared at festivals and at the brewery’s Eccentric Café since its debut at Kalamazoo Pride, the largest fundraiser of the year for OutFront Kalamazoo, formerly the Kalamazoo Gay-Lesbian Resource Center, in 2013.
At first glance, at a hefty 9% ABV, Sparkleberry might not be for the masses. And, being a tripel, it certainly isn’t the first thing you’d think of when trying to combat the heat. But with a glimpse of its bright, ruby-red body and thin, light-pink head, Sparkleberry’s defining ingredient exudes summertime. Its aroma easily could be mistake for straight-up raspberry juice. It really is a fresh, cold carton of raspberries in a different form.
Sparkleberry checks the boxes as a summer alternative by boasting more than enough of a refreshing fruit presence.”
For those who love fruit beers, Sparkleberry’s appeal is obvious. But its tripel base provides nuance and allows its to reach perhaps another demographic. After that first fruity wave, the low-key tartness of the berries emerges among the fizziness. A simple fruit-infused ale might feel like it’s hitting you over the head with sticky sweetness, but the tripel’s signature yeast backbone provides balance. The aftertaste is where the familiar base style’s qualities finally come into play, with usual notes of grain and just a touch of banana nut.
Sparkleberry checks the boxes as a summer alternative by boasting more than enough of a refreshing fruit presence. This could easily take the place of a lunchtime mimosa or Bloody Mary on a patio, making the triple, when combined with some of nature’s sweetness, an entirely new treat.