“Citrusy” is such a ubiquitous descriptor in modern beer that it’s come to mean nothing at all.
Swedish brewing and design outfit Omnipollo was founded to upend popular conceptions of beer. It uses common beer tropes as a way to tease drinkers and bring them in before distorting expectations into something strange and wonderful. Case in point: Aniara cleverly undermines the very idea of “citrusy” beer. It doesn’t just use hops to emulate the amicable tartness of lemons, nor is it a shandy, per se. This is a “lemonale”, a strange hybrid borne from pure sabotage.
Appearance and Aroma
There’s something ethereal about Aniara. It looks like your run-of-the-mill 5 o’clock beer, but it’s just a squeeze more fluorescent. It’s like someone dripped highlighter ink into a Miller High Life. Even though the neon look is somewhat uncomfortable, there’s a strange gravity—and slight whif of lemon zest—that wills it towards your lips. On a light inhale, it smells like a lemon Warhead. Breathe too deep, and it verges on lemon Pine-Sol.
Aniara is way off balance, with the lemon juice squelching any beer-related flavor.”
This is not Omnipollo’s first dance with lemonade beer, so you think they would’ve figured out how to balance the sugary Country Time flavor against a good, biscuity malt bill. But Aniara is way off balance, with the lemon juice squelching any beer-related flavor. The result is sadly one-dimensional. It’s certainly an alien beer, but Anaria is more beguiling than intriguing.
Aniara leaves you with more questions than answers. From what distant star did this fresh-squeezed citrus saboteur originate? What does it want from us? While we ponder the cosmic origins, the reality of its presence is solved rather quickly. While a fine curiosity, Aniara is ultimately more sensation than substance.