Flying Monkeys “Tangerine Fuzz Machine” Hard Seltzer, Barrie, Ontario (Alcohol 5%, Sugar 2 g/l) Website/Brewery $13 (4 x 473ml cans)

I’ll start off by admitting that I’m not usually one to consume hard seltzers, so when I picked up this offering from Flying Monkeys by mistake, it had been placed in the IPA section at my local LCBO.

Given their trademark neon-acid-trip packaging, I can fully understand why it was lumped in with the other Flying Monkeys’ brews, but I guess I should have been wearing my reading glasses, or at least studying the can a little more carefully, as I think I can remember clocking that the alcohol was 5% and thinking “Hmmmm, well that’s definitely a lighter style of IPA”.

So there I was, at home, relaxing after a full day staring at the screen, and I thought I’d relax and unwind with a new (to me), hoppy, mid-weight IPA, as I’m eternally optimistic in hoping that I’ll come across some new release from Flying Monkeys that piques my palate’s interest. I’ve certainly not been crazy about any of their recent releases, but hope springs eternal.

I gave the label a cursory scan, I recall contemplating that Tangerine Fuzz Machine made for a better name for an absolutely excellent guitar pedal than it does a beer. Again, I noted the 5% strength, and that certainly wouldn’t hit me too hard before I had to cook family dinner. Under Tangerine Fuzz Machine were the words “Tangerine . Peach . Yuzu”, and I thought “Hmmm, interesting way to describe the hop profile, I wonder what this one is all about…”.

How I didn’t see the words HARD SELTZER in admittedly large letters at the very top of the can is, to this day, beyond me, but I suppose that sometimes one sees what one wishes to see. It’s either that or I’m simply getting old.

As I poured the clear, carbonated beverage into my pint glass, I did a double take. When one is expecting to witness a hazy beer with a frothy head, seeing something akin to soda water is actually quite a shock.

Then the peach aromatic hit me.

Now, this wasn’t in the pleasant manner in which one often finds ripe peach notes in wine. This had about as much subtlety as an olfactory sledgehammer. Perhaps that’s what the demographic is after, as I’m sure Flying Monkeys put this through many a tasting panel/focus group before release, but all I can say is that it’s most certainly not for me. 

After some thought, I decided that it reminded me of the Marks & Spencer’s peach deodorant that I was rather partial to in my teen years; a high school girlfriend used to wear it, and there was little subtly to that particular bouquet back then either. I’d like to think that my tastes have refined a little since high school, as such a blatant olfactory assault does little for me these days.

I was looking for the tangerine and yuzu, and I guess there’s a little touch, maybe?

Still, I guess if you are looking for a whole whack of peaches in your 5% can of carbonated water, then this is surely the one for you.

And what with the arse falling out of the craft beer market, who can really blame Flying Monkeys for diversifying?

If you are looking for an IPA, then I’d strongly advise you to read the labels more closely than I did that day.

(Two and a half out of a possible five apples)