From the lemon gold of pilsners to the deep mahogany of Flanders reds, the world of beer really is a myriad of colours. But colour can be deceptive and, well, all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold.
As humans we are hardwired to respond to colour in certain ways thanks to our evolutionary past. The ripeness of vegetables and fruits can, for the most part, be ascertained by colour, and so we see deep reds and think of sweetness, whilst greens have us primed for bitterness. Missing flavour cues would literally have been a matter of life and death at some points in the past - picking the wrong mushroom whilst foraging in the field, for example.
In this context, the colour of beer is an interesting one - and beer in general is a good example of human divergence from evolutionary necessity; we now happily imbibe complex, challenging flavours that our body might typically want to reject (just remember that first sip of beer you stole at a party many years ago - it rang a million alarm bells at the time, which you now happily ignore).
Unfathomably hopped mega-bitter IPAs, sour brews and dark lagers are all great examples of how beer fights against taste colour convention. These brews can all look totally innocuous and most welcoming colour-wise - but, get them in your mouth without context and you’re in for a surprise.
I guess we’re talking recreational consumption versus consumption for necessity - and this notion opens up a world of possibilities that brewers are increasingly playing with.
Which brings us to today’s beer - Rainbow Country from One Drop - a rock candy sour ale with rock melon, watermelon, lemon and lime. But that’s not all, the appearance has been toyed with in the most unconventional way, via additions of edible glitter!
Let’s get it open and have a look (and maybe even taste it - lol)...
Pours a lovely autumnal orange with a medium haze and, yes (once I got the whole can into the glass), a microcosm of swirling, golden glitter. It's like a universe has been created in your glass, with tumbling vortices and eddies of twinkling stars! But trust me the best is yet to come. The nose is just so inviting, wholesome and rich, which juxtaposes the slightly synthetic visuals in the most deceptive of ways. The palate is the same, with the melon, citrus and sour notes balancing superbly with the candied sweetness. This is crazy stuff and a full on assault of every sense!
Humans may have stepped off the evolutionary conveyor belt but, as this brew shows, beer is still evolving, and at a great rate of knots. Grab a can and you might just find that jar of glittering gold at the end of the rainbow…