Jackie O’s Paw Paw Wheat

Imperial wheat ale fermented with paw paw fruit.  9% ABV

Paw Paw Wheat

Jackie O’s Brewery, Athens, OH

By Bill Lau

Posted September 29th, 2014

This one was new to me. I’d heard of paw paw, but always thought it hailed from some exotic tropical locale. Indeed, as it turns out, there is a tropical papaya sometimes called pawpaw (this must be what Baloo sang about in The Jungle Book movie); but there is also the paw paw (asimina triloba) found in the eastern, southern, and midwestern US, which is in fact the largest edible fruit native to North America. Its range includes Ohio, in particular thriving in the southern part of the state. There is appropriately enough an annual Ohio Paw Paw Festival held in Athens, coincidentally home of Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery, so it seems only natural that the fruit find its way into a beer. And thence into my glass.

I do enjoy good label art, and Jackie O’s delivers in spades on this one. Way. Cool.

The beer presented a hazy bright orange-amber body topped with over a finger’s width of near-white foam. The head subsided to a collar and thin cover.

Tropical fruit aroma was intense and unique. Notes of banana, mango, passionfruit, possibly some guava and even a hint of pineapple; tangy and sweet. Alcohol was also present as a rich, fruity top note.

Paw Paw Wheat was full-bodied with finely beaded carbonation, and left a light stickiness on the tongue.

Flavors were fruity up front with distinct tropical character delivering on the aromas; banana-mango-melon with hints of passionfruit and guava. Sweetish overall with some tanginess. No notable hop presence in the flavor profile. Malt presence appeared midway through, bringing some caramel notes. Gentle, well-integrated bitterness gradually dried things out leading into the finish. Alcohol also well-integrated – not boozy tasting or hot on the palate, it rode in the background and snuck up on me.

Distinctive, different, and worth seeking out. A true Ohio original.

Rating:     Appearance: 4/5     Aroma: 9/10     Palate: 4/5     Flavor: 8/10     Overall: 16.7/20

An Ohio original.

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