A tropical experiment gone horribly, horribly wrong
A Review of Hell or High Watermelon Wheat by 21st Amendment Brewing Co.
Posted on 6/9/2012 by Chops
When driving down the long road of better beer, you're going to hit some potholes. There is no avoiding it, so best to expect them. Sometimes they are small and forgettable. Others are more prominent and leave lasting impressions. Then there are the craters you never forget; the tire destroyers that cause you to slam on your brakes and back the hell up just to see what on earth you hit. Such was the case when I came across the Hell or High Watermelon Wheat by the 21st Amendment Brewing Co. I hate to come down hard on a beer from a reputable brewery, especially when I'm a fan of said brewery. But I seriously have no idea what these guys were thinking by releasing this oddball brew.

In the glass, this beer has a semi-hazy sunny coloration. I should note that this is as good as it gets. It's all downhill from here. This beer comes with a sudsy white head that dissipates really quickly. So quickly in fact that it almost seemed flat. I didn't know what to make of it, but the color was okay, so I went in for a whiff. Oh the adjectives I can use to describe this aroma... odd, strange, weird, peculiar, etc. It's a funky mishmash of lighter beer styles: some sweet citrus of a hefeweizen, some bready notes of a witbier, some grassy notes of a lager, some lemony notes of a pilsner, and some overly ripe tropical fruit which I assume is the watermelon. It's a disjointed clusterfuck. I almost stopped right there and sent it back. There was no way this beer was going to taste good.

Suspicion confirmed, this beer twisted my face into all sorts of unpleasant contortions. The pungent funkiness is almost too much to handle. The best way I have found to describe it is to imagine rotten coconuts. It's a tropical experiment gone horribly, horribly wrong. I found no hop profile (and I was desperately looking). The finish is an unpleasant mess with a terrible aftertaste that seems to linger forever. I muscled through the entire glass hoping it would improve with time or temperature, but my attempt was futile. It just got more and more unpleasant. I was so caught off guard by this beer that I asked several of my pub friends to try a few sips. Thankfully it wasn't just me. To quote my friend Cornelius, “it tastes like farts.”

Overall, 21st Amendment's Hell or High Watermelon Wheat is a really bad beer. It's not quite Budweiser bad, but gets pretty damn close. Consequently, I can't recommend this beer to anyone. There's just no rhyme or reason to it. I really struggled to get through the entire beer, and that was even with friends helping. I gave this brew a lot of leeway as a fruit beer because this style is pretty much structureless any open to wild interpretation. But, Hell or High Watermelon is a good example of how the style can veer in a bad direction. Like I said, I hate to be so harsh on 21st Amendment because they are well known for crafting some delicious brews (the “Back in Black” and “Brew Free or Die” IPAs come to mind). I can always forgive the occasional dud, but this wacky brew needs to go the way of the dodo.

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Hell or High Watermelon Wheat by 21st Amendment Brewing Co.
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