When you think craft beer, hops are probably the first thing to spring to mind. Not all craft beer, however, is as hoppy as you might imagine and this new offering from New Belgium Brewing and Primus Microcerveceria is the perfect balance to those hopped-up offerings. From the heart of Fort Collins, Colorado and Mexico City comes Mural Agua Fresca Cerveza.
Inspired by the agua frescas found throughout Mexico and now popular in the Southwest, the beer is brewed with hibiscus, agave, watermelon juice, and whole lime puree. New Belgium Brewer Cody Reif recalled the visit to Tijuana that started New Belgium down this innovative path:
"Last year I went to Tijuana on this exploratory trip where I was looking for ingredients to bring back to New Belgium. I kept coming across this one drink [agua fresca] that was in all the food stalls. I was so inspired by the flavors, I thought this would make a great beer."
Southwesterners will no doubt recognize the signature flavors of agua frescas here with the use of watermelon juice in particular. The innovative new style of beer, which sets itself apart from traditional beer categories, creates a sweet flash with a touch of tartness to evoke classic Mexican tastes and flavors.
The collaboration with Mexico City's Primus Microcerveceria does just that. Jaime Andreu Galvan, the co-founder of Primus, said of the beer in a press release, "Mural is an expression of true friendship between our teams, our breweries, and our countries. Mural Agua Fresca Ale depicts in its flavors authentic craft beer innovation, much like my country does every day with our gastronomy."
So what does it taste like?
If you're a fan of agua frescas like I am, then you have a good understanding of what this ale tastes like. The bright amber color and light pinkish white head is visually stunning in the sunlight, even inside the bottle.
The first few sips bring a flavor punch of watermelon, lemon, and lime. You'll also taste fresh green apple in the sips as the sweet and lightly tart mouthfeel finishes into a crisp taste. It's a beer meant for porch sippin', river floatin', and winding down after a long, hard day.
As a longtime fan of New Belgium, I could already tell that this is a more refined fruit beer than their Juicy Watermelon Lime Ales and Tartastic Raspberry Lime Ales. The addition of hibiscus and agave round out the flavor profile, pulling out the tartly sweet green apple hint at the end. The lightness you expect from agua fresca is present here, making it almost deceptively easy to drink at 4.2 percent ABV.
Where can I find Mural?
The new beer is currently available in 12-ounce bottles and on draft as a year-round beer offering. It can be found in markets across Mexico and in the following United States markets: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Texas. The beer distribution will be expanded based on interest.
So when you spot Mural from New Belgium Brewing Company at your local beer seller, I highly recommend picking up a pack. The makers of the beloved Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, Voodoo Ranger IPA, Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA, Sour Saison, Honey Orange Tripel, and Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale have another incredible beer on their hands, one that you'll no doubt be sipping all spring and summer long.