The passion of the fruit: 5 Lizard and Wailua Wheat beer

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Wailua Wheat, 5 Lizard
Last time I compared two beers with a common ingredient (5 Rabbit's Huitzi and Revolution's Rosa, both brewed with hibiscus), I was struck by how similar they were despite being very different styles. 5 Rabbit's 5 Lizard and Kona Brewing's Wailua Wheat, on the other hand, are both wheat beers brewed with passion fruit—it stands to reason that they'd be at least comparable, if not similar. They're not.

The 5 Lizard is tart and bright, mildly yeasty and overwhelmingly lemony. The flavor of the lime peel it's brewed with is evident, along with some grapefruit notes, but the passion fruit is difficult to pick out, so intense is the lemon/lime flavor of the beer. It comes through as a general fruitiness rather than a distinct flavor. Actually, that's the one thing the 5 Lizard has in common with the Wailua Wheat: a vague fruitiness that's hard to identify as passion fruit. (Or maybe I'm just not very good at identifying passion fruit, which is entirely possible. I don't believe I've ever encountered one in the wild.)

Compared to the 5 Lizard, the Wailua Wheat is mellow, with no discernible hops and only a bit of bready malt flavor. It's fruity and sweet but not cloying, though its distinctly floral aroma is almost perfumey. Of the two, I definitely prefer the tangy 5 Lizard, which I find more interesting—but I'm a sucker for lemon, so that could be part of it.

Julia Thiel writes about booze every Wednesday.

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