The Watermelon and Guava Waterbeach Weisse is the latest in Pastore's Waterbeach series of berliner weisses named after the brewery's home in Cambridgeshire. Pastore make both fresh and aged sour and wild beers, and you can really feel their sour expertise in the 'fresh' Waterbeach series. They're not simple kettle sours; rather they undergo mixed fermentation thanks to Kveik yeast and Lactobacillus, and are then conditioned on fruit. The peach and apricot Waterbeach was one of my favourite beers from last year so I was really quite excited to try this one.
If, like me, you were hoping for something watermelon- and guava-pink, the colour might be a little bit of a disappointment, but luckily the beer itself is anything but. I thought the guava might overpower the watermelon, but in fact they just take it in turns really—you get a bit of both on the nose, followed by lush, rich guava when you take a sip, and then a refreshing watermelon aftertaste. It's mouth-puckering in the best way and perfectly carbonated, reminiscent of fizzy sherbert, or maybe sucking on a tropical ice lolly.
The mixed fermentation delivers complexity in flavour of course, but also, I feel, in texture. For a low percentage fruit sour, you might expect something light and subtle but this is full and soft, which combined with the bold flavours completely belies the 3.8% ABV. I find it incredibly satisfying, like it could work as a sort of dessert/digestif after a meal, or perhaps as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, but with so much less alcohol than other options one might generally go for. And just in case watermelon or guava is not your vibe, they've also got a blackcurrant version out at the moment too (or keep your eyes peeled for the next in the series!).