A LEMON RADLER aged in gin barrels and fermented with wild yeast, Radlersnake is Off Color Brewing to the very letter: deliberately askew, a little coy, yet also flavorful, fun without being quite flippant, and roundly decent. That the gentle and summery Radlersnake was pouring next to Perennial’s Abraxas at FoBAB is a further, fortuitous example of Off Color’s wry contrariness.
Radlersnake’s primary flavor is lemon, of course, but neither the cloying sort found in most lemonades nor the sprightly spark of European fruit sodas. Unfiltered yellow and nearly transparent at the edges, Radlersnake seems much more as if actual lemons were hand-squeezed into the fermenter. It verges on watery, in fact, with the tartness of lemon and its wild yeast gliding almost smoothly over the palate instead of tweaking it with citric oils or yeasty tang. The carbonation prickle is also understated and the gin barrels contribute only some light berry notes later in the flavor and a little herbal twinge in the aroma. On the one hand it’s commendable that Off Color didn’t saturate the recipe to satiate American sweet-teeth, but on the other hand it also leaves Radlersnake less refreshing than its inspiration and somewhere short of its potential.
Served: On tap (Skyline Loft, FoBAB 2013, Chicago)