Distilled: Rivertowne beers are going to be popular this summer

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From the April 17, 2014 edition

It finally started to look a lot like spring last weekend in Columbus (though hopefully Tuesday’s snow was the last winter blast), which was perfectly timed with Rivertowne Brewery releasing some good spring/summer seasonals last week.

Rivertowne Brewery (not Rivertown Brewery Co. in Cincinnati) is a microbrewery just outside of Pittsburgh that distributes to four states. Having previously been available in Northeast Ohio (and Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida), you may have tried Rivertowne before. For those who haven’t, the two three-beer variety 12-packs — in fantastically designed cans — now available here will probably have something for your tastes.

I tried only one of the variety packs, containing the Grateful White Belgian Wit, Babbling Blonde American Blonde Ale and Hala Kahiki Pineapple Ale. The other 12-pack had a lager, IPA and Scottish ale, which didn’t seem as interesting.

The main reason I chose this threesome was my interest in the pineapple ale — and trusted beer folks were recommending it. I’m normally not the biggest fruit beer fan, but there are ones I enjoy (see Fat Head’s Bumbleberry).

The Hala Kahiki was quite refreshing, so much so that it almost didn’t taste like beer. It’s wasn’t overly sweet, just strong pineapple flavoring in a very mild and drinkable ale. The beer flavors are so minimal it’s almost like an alcoholic soda, in a very pleasing way. I can see Hala Kahiki being a popular beer this summer.

The other two beers weren’t as interesting as Hala Kahiki, but were solidly executed. The Grateful White Belgian Wit was the better of the two. It was a respectable wit, with some mild spice/citrus and hoppiness.

The Babbling Blonde — by the way, brewers need to stop giving blonde ales mildly insulting female connotations — was the least exciting beer. It’s a fine example of the style, but overall just kind of forgettable. All I really took away was that it was slightly hoppier than other blonde ales I’ve tried.

Photo by Tim Johnson