Beer: Mr. Pineapple Wheat
Brewery: SanTan Brewing Co.
Style: Fruit wheat beer
ABV: 5 percent
Last week, I bought a pineapple. It was an impulse buy, driven in part by its alien appearance and by the realization that I rarely eat the fruit. I bet I can make some interesting stuff with that, I thought to myself. Why not? I'll tell you why not: The tropical fruit's rock-hard exoskeleton can basically be cut only with a hacksaw, and once you spend the half-hour it takes to chop through it, you're left with about two ounces of edible fruit.
Out for vengeance on the fruit that wronged me, I traveled to SanTan Brewing Co.'s Chandler brewpub for a taste of its new seasonal, Mr. Pineapple Wheat. What better way to punish an ornery fruit than by drinking a beer made from his blood?
Mr. Pineapple Wheat originally was cooked up for SanTan's annual luau party in downtown Chandler last year. After the event, the brewers found they had a little left over, so they decided to send it to Denver for judging in the Great American Beer Festival. What seems like a whim had a nice payoff — Mr. Pineapple came home with a silver medal in the fruit wheat category, beating out nearly 50 other entries. Since then, the beer has been SanTan's most anticipated release.
In a weizen glass, Mr. Pineapple is a soft mango-orange, with just a little wheaty haze. The head is frothy and white — like whipped cream — giving the brew an overall look like some mixed drink you could pick up in the tropics. The aroma is smooth and subdued like a good hefeweizen: wheat, apple, pear, banana, white bread, clove. There isn't much pineapple to be found here, however.
There is a tendency in those who make fruit ales to let the fruit run amok, overpowering the base brew to the point of unrecognizability. Not so with Mr. Pineapple — the very solid wheat ale below contains just enough fruit flavor to create interest. I can see how it won GABF hardware. It's available on tap around town now, so go get some and do your part to teach those bastard pineapples a lesson. — Zachary Fowle