Tropic Punch Ale was originally intended for limited release, a one-off collaboration between Dugges head brewer Mikael Dugge Engström and Brian Strumke of nomad brewing operation Stillwater Artisnal. Over three years down the line, this quirky fruited sour is still in production—a testament to the appeal of its mild sourness and bold combination of tropical fruit flavors. This collaboration is proof that there’s more to the world of mid-range ABV sours than just the salty Leipizig gose style, and it blows pretty much every other fruit beer out of the water.
The concept behind Tropic Punch Ale seems pretty straightforward. The beer’s base is a solid blond ale, which is basically the same starting point that sour beer specialists like Upland favor. You need to be able to start with something that presents a neutral canvas when you’re dealing with bacteria culture-enabled fermentation (lactobacillus in this case). Tropic Punch Ale is finished with peach, passion fruit, and mango – which you taste in that particular order as you’re drinking it.
Make no mistake, the fragrance of ripe peaches dominates the nose, but the distinct flavor of passion fruit emerges, especially as Tropic Punch Ale opens up to room temperature. It’s sort of reminiscent of Greek yogurt with fruit at the bottom; there’s a hint of sourness from the yogurt, but what you’re really getting is the experience of that fruit in its most naked, elemental form. I can’t get over how smooth and clean the finish of Tropic Punch Ale is—pop the cap and imagine yourself on an island somewhere far, far away.
For more info, check out Dugges Bryggeri here.