Weapons-grade grapefruit – Balegdah by Pomona Island

‘Look at this pineapple,’ says Pomona Island as you unsuspectingly eye up Balegdah, its grapefruit and pineapple sour.

‘Isn’t it a marvel? Doesn’t it taste like the very essence of sunshine?’

And while you’re agreeing that yes, it’s delicious, and it would make a fantastic addition to a soured beer, someone walks up behind you and drops a crate of grapefruits on your head.

Balegdah’s mouth-puckering tartness

There is no mistaking the inspiration behind Balegdah. It’s the alternative-reality version of your favourite 80s totally tropical taste, where everybody runs and hides from the Lilt man, because he’s going to deliver it by rocket-propelled grenade.

From the minute you pour it – rich, opaque, defiantly orange, and sweetly aromatic, Balegdah means business. With a thick white head, it’s a beautiful pour when it’s sitting in the glass. If it didn’t pack a punch you would be disappointed. (You won’t be disappointed.)

I think it’s gorgeous, but a word of warning. Unless you’re an avowed fan of grapefruits, this is no gateway into craft beer. It’s spiky and unrelenting: sour and with a finish that’s as bitter as it is long. And on that note – my lord, grapefruits are bitter, aren’t they?

Offer a sup to someone who doesn’t share your passion for beers that push the envelope of common sense and watch as they back away from you at pace, lips pulled back in a grimace as Balegdah’s mouth-puckering tartness takes hold.

In the hands (on the palate?) of a jaded, sour beer fiend like yours truly and it’s a different story.

‘A bit much’

It’s magnificent. It’s also aggressively sour, and wantonly bitter

Biases on the table: I enjoy extreme flavours. I’m very happy with beer that’s ‘a bit much’.

Balegdah is probably ‘a bit much’ for some people. I can understand that. It’s so, so bitter. Anything that makes you suck air in through your teeth after each sip is challenging at least one of your senses.

I loved it.

While I was waxing lyrical about Balegdah, and using the obvious flavour comparisons to do so, someone asked why I didn’t just drink a can of Lilt.

The answer is simple. Because Lilt is a beach resort; all saccharine, sunshine and sweetness.

Balegdah is the same beach resort. It’s just in the middle of a storm. At the end of days. Using weaponised grapefruit.

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