This month we welcome a new style of beer: agua fresca ale. As the name suggests, agua fresca ale is a combination of a simple pale ale and agua fresca.
Agua fresca is a traditional drink of the Mediterranean and Central and South America, and every year from Easter until Labor Day you can look in my fridge and find a pitcher. Agua fresca is just water with fruit in it. Over time, the fruit osmodes into the water, and you get refreshing citric hydration. My favorite recipe involves throwing a bunch of citrus peel, some quartered limes and lemons, some sliced ginger, and some simple syrup into a gallon of water and letting it sit for three days before drinking. Instant refreshment. Treat it like a pitcher of sangria, and above all, don’t let the fruit get musty.
There are a few of these on the market right now, all around 110 calories and 4 percent ABV, but your best bet right now is the awesome collaboration between Mexico City’s Primus MicroCerveceria and New Belgium Brewing: Mural. Mural is first and foremost a Mexican ale, so expect the traditional easy-drinking malt backbone of a German-style pale beer, but get ready for more. Mural is flavored with lime, hibiscus, watermelon, and agave, and each flavor is distinct and harmonious on the palate. As with most homemade agua fresca, citrus dominates, so if you don’t like lime, fuhgeddaboutit.
The color is a beautiful pink, which comes from the hibiscus. The hibiscus adds floral notes that are balanced with a natural watermelon flavor that is not something you typically get from a beer with watermelon in it. Finally, the agave lends a sweetness that ties together nicely with the sour lime on the back end, delivering a brisk citrus tone.
Mural Agua Fresca Ale is a refreshing alternative to traditional beers and goses for your spring and summer needs. It can meet your needs if you need to refresh before, during, or after mowing the lawn, or if you want to take a lazy trip down the river. Just make sure that lazy river isn’t through a dry county, please.
Alex Ignatiev is the proprietor of Hub City Beers and Fine Cigars in Hattiesburg. Promotional consideration for Signature Sips is provided by Stokes Distributing, which is the exclusive distributor of Mural Agua Fresca Cerveza.