Review: Hop City Big Tiki Tropical Punch Blonde

Yesterday I reviewed Hop City Brewing's HopBot IPA, today I'm checking out their Big Tiki Tropical Punch Blonde Ale. Tropical Punch Blonde? That doesn't sound like a thing to me, but hey.. why not?

Big Tiki is part of a limited release series by Hop City, which I didn't know existed. Big Tiki contains gallons of pineapple, cherry, passionfruit, mango, guava and papaya to pack a tropical fruit punch with a dry, refreshing finish. 4.5% ABV / 12 IBU

Appearance: Yeah, so I was expecting this to be a Blonde Ale that just happened to have a tropical fruit aroma/taste to it. Nope, this is definitely a fruit punch in a can. Am I upset about it? No, in fact I had a dream the other day that a blue raspberry beer existed, blue hue and all. Big Tiki has a very bright cherry red body, mild clarity but as clear as a fruit punch will get. Light-to-mild carbonation in the body and the head is 2.5 fingers worth of snow white head on top, which diminishes rather quickly to leave behind only a light amount of fluff on top of the beer and a light amount of lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Tropical. This smells like your typical fruit punch but definitely beerified. There's a good amount of graininess, hint of wheat and bread. Quite sweet with a lot of cherry, pineapple and passionfruit. Looking at the beer I thought it would be even sweeter than it is, surprisingly tame. Tad bit of hop presence at the end, mostly grassy.

Taste: Is this a cooler or is it a beer? Well, I do get a lot of barley and wheat to give it a bit of a graininess to it, as well as a light breadiness that reminds me of Little Caesars Deep! Deep! dish pizza. The initial sip I took of this Big Tiki actually reminded me of ketchup for some reason, sweet with sugar and other things I wouldn't know what's in it. Once I sit down, I don't get the taste of ketchup anymore (thank goodness), it's pretty much a fruit punch malt cooler - cherry is the predominant flavour here, followed by a bit of pineapple and guava to give it a bit of a classic Five Alive/Deli Cinq vibe to it. Light amount of floral/grassy hop presence at the end, the aftertaste is light but a hint of cherry.

Overall Thoughts: This is kind of one of those drinks that screws with your mind - I expected this beer to be Blonde in colour and ended up getting a fruit punch instead, but the fruit punch aspect isn't anywhere near as sweet as I expected. This is something that some of those Bud Light Strawberry Lemonade fans would certainly enjoy, it's sweet and the malt/hops are mostly muted.. but stuff like this seems much more like a cooler/beverage than a beer.. perhaps a bit similar to a Radler but not a Radler at all. One is all I need, any more would be too much on me.

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