Sometimes life throws you a nice surprise when you least expect it.
Like finding $20 in the pocket of a pair of jeans you haven’t worn in months or noticing a squirreled-away can of The Bog in the back of your fridge in January, the least-expected surprises are sometimes the best.
Kind of like a citrus shandy in October. You don’t see it coming, it kind of catches you off-guard, but it’s definitely a nice surprise.
And our citrus shandy, The Grove, is definitely more than a “nice surprise”. It moves beyond the bounds of “nice” into the realms of “unbelievably delicious.”
We’ve got a tradition of doing shandies well at CMBC: Foreshore Shandy, our much-loved cherry and lime shandy, may have taken its final bow, but The Bog is one of our most requested beers, and even this year’s The Purp has been well-received.
And we do citrus pretty well, too. Judging from the number of phone calls we receive on a daily basis asking if we have any more Crushin’ It, that brew’s been a huge hit, as well.
But The Grove takes the best aspects of all of those beers and creates a flavor explosion that’s greater than the sum of its parts — and it’s got a lot of parts: lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, and grapefruit.
“For The Grove, we wanted to be a little more inclusive and get the whole bouquet of citrusy fruits in there,” says Innovation Director Brian Hink. “There’s lemon and lime for the tart, lively freshness, orange and tangerine for the juicy, refreshing quality, and grapefruit for a spritzy brightness.”
We asked Lab Manager Lauren Appleman to quantify the amount of citrus in The Grove, but, unfortunately, that’s not something our lab equipment can do.
“I did, however, do some Google searches and conversions to match our recipe,” she says. “Not taking into account that some were concentrate, based on how much juice you get from each individual fruit that is in there, you would have to juice roughly 320 oranges and tangerines, 213 lemons, and 2,131 limes.”
Yet, she gave us a rough estimation:
“By my calculations,” she says, “there is a metric fuckton of citrus in this beer.”
It’s an industry term. It means “bunches of citrus.”
Regardless, we put The Grove through a bit of R&D before release, but it was slightly different from our usual process of brewing full batches and releasing them in the Tasting Room as RAD iterations. In fact, visitors only had one chance to try The Grove as a RAD — #014 — before this release, and it was more-or-less the finished product that releases this weekend.
“Internally there were a bunch of benchtop trials leading up to RAD 014 coming out,” Brian says. “I brewed the base beer, crashed, then back-sweetened it, then pulled off a liter a time and did a handful of small-scale iterations.”
“With hoppy beers,” Brian explains, “you can’t benchtop trial the hop additions and the entire batch needs to be released as-is. Really, the only reason we released it as a RAD was that it was too damn good to not get it out there and tease it out a little.”
During our interview a few weeks ago, Brewtique Crew Member Kristi Gentek mentioned that she loved both The Bog and Crushin’ It — mixing them was a “total game-changer” — but she couldn’t get enough of that RAD.
“I loved our RAD 0014,” she said, “but it was so limited that I didn’t get too much of it. I got a growler fill of it, and it had no chance. It was amazing. I literally called someone to go to my house to get my growler before it was gone. It was delicious.”
She was quite relieved to learn that it would be coming out again.
“Oh, thank God!” she said. “I’ll have to keep my growler in my locker.”
And for good reason. Snappy, super-bright, and ridiculously refreshing, if you’ve loved either The Bog or Crushin’ It, you’re not going to want to miss The Grove.
“I think this beer falls more along the lines of Crushin’ It than it does The Bog,” Lauren says, “because it has that same dryness that Crushin’ It has, but more of a rounded citrus character from the blend of juices. That may be why I like this a little more than Crushin’ It: it is more than just the single note of orange.”
Brian agrees that The Grove is closer to Crushin’ It than The Bog.
“The Grove is more balanced than The Bog,” Brian says. “It’s probably a little closer to Crushin’ It in terms of flavor and finish. It has a much spritzier finish than Crushin’ It and is definitely closer to The Bog in terms of tartness. It’s really bright and super vibrant.”
The Grove releases this Saturday only in the Tasting Room, both on tap and in a limited number of 12-ounce cans. Don’t miss it!