The brewery is called High Heel Brewing, and the beer is named after a type of shoe. The packaging is bright, patterned, and vibrant. For all intents and purposes, it's the antithesis of what's currently expected out of craft beer.
Slingback is, as High Heel Brewing's founder and head brewer Kristi McGuire says, a hybrid beer brewed by combining the taste of a traditional ale with pear cider. It's crafted with natural passionfruit juices and noble Hallertauer hops, and it's spiced with chamomile and elderflower. It lands on the alcohol scale at 5.4 percent ABV. It's brewed out of Brew Hub, a large facility in Lakeland that brews beers on contract as well as creates their own brewmaster-crafted beers.
“With Slingback, we created an entirely new style of beer, hitting that sweet spot between ale and cider,” says McGuire. “It’s the Prosecco of beers – perfect for the hot summer days to come.”
Perry is an old European drink made from fermented pears and has been cataloged as being consumed by the Gallo-Romans right after the fall of the Roman Empire in the Fifth Century. The French were right at home growing pears and used the fruit to foster centuries of perry expertise. Like many old practices, brewing pear-based drinks has returned en vogue into the consciousness of English and American drinkers as an alternative to the growing apple cider market.
This creation is a blend of a perry and an ale. The mixing of two different beer types is not uncommon, and many guides like the American Homebrewers Association and Brew Your Own delineate how to properly blend beers. Slingback is a beer I almost expected to not work... but it does, and it's enjoyable.
It pours a clear yellow-orange out of the bottle with a smidgen of white foam that turns to wisps and lingers. Aromas are complex, with notes of honey, wheat, pear, fuji apple, and mango. When sipping, it begins almost slightly tart, then bursts through with tropical fruit flavors. This is quickly replaced by a biscuity mouthfeel that carries with it some delicate floral character. It ends with a juiciness characteristic of passionfruit. That passionfruit lingers on the palate for a long time and really grabs your attention, enticing you to keep drinking so you can experience the cascade of flavors all over again.
Overall, it's a relatively sweet affair and keeps its promise of fitting into that Prosecco category of flavors. It has a collection of flavors that can seem complex but make sense as a package.
Samples of Slingback were provided by Brew Hub.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger dedicated to educating the public about all things beer, with a focus on Florida brews. He is the Brand Marketing Manager for Due South Brewing Company and has been a homebrewer since 2009. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.