Unity Fresco (400ml can, 5% ABV, vegan)
Fresco is a wheat beer in the Belgian style (a ‘witbier’, or white beer) but with a couple of twists. Rather than the usual orange peel and coriander that characterises a wit, this version uses locally foraged lemon balm and spruce tips. Who knew that Southampton was such a bonanza of edible plant life?
The beer is a pale yellow. If you pour the whole thing in one go you’ll get the classic wheat beer haziness and a softer, yeastier taste. A partial pour gives you a much clearer glass, with more of the hops coming through. I prefer to pour about two thirds and drink it clearer, then throw the rest in and appreciate the murk.
There’s a lot of foam on serving, but it’s vigorous and short-lived. As it dissolves, it sounds like a hippy playing a rainstick. The aroma is of lemon and that indefinable funk of Belgian yeast.
The flavour is floral, citrussy and spicy, and there’s a touch of tartness too, but all of these qualities are soft and harmonious. It’s not a beer that shouts, because it doesn’t need to. It’s flavourful, mellow and relaxed – a lazy day somewhere near the end of summer. The texture is light and pillowy, and the whole thing ends with a subtle hint of cloves.
One for chilling.
Written by Richard Salsbury