A lucky pluck from the magic fridge

Jim Lundstrom

It was a brutally cold day. I watched out the back door as a Native American man in a flimsy jacket, worn, old sneakers and a bright pink stocking cap trudged past in the alley. He looked miserable. I wanted to take his picture but refrained.

Instead of once again cursing my Finlander ancestors who thought it was a good idea to come to this frozen wasteland, I reached into the magic fridge and hoped I landed something to raise my frozen spirits.

Out comes a red 16-ounce can of Hen Pecks Fruited Wheat Ale, featuring a big chicken head with a blood-spattered beak and face.

Oh, wait, that’s not blood. Upon closer inspection I see the chicken has been pecking at a strawberry and raspberry, the two fruits, I learn by reading the hard-to-read label, that have been added to this wheat ale.

Well, I’m sure‘ve mentioned in the past that I don’t like drinking beer that features a fish on the can (yes, I mean Schmidt and Two Hearted Ale). I don’t really like chickens on my cans either, especially big, bloody ones.

But perhaps the cold had made me crabby. Yes. That’s it. Just crack the beer and get on with it!

I quickly poured the can into a glass with a big opening to capitalize on what I has hoping would be an aromatic pour. It was that, and also very pinkish.Not hot pink, but peach flesh pinkish. And not much of a head for a wheat beer.

But once the big aroma of this beer wafted up to my brain pan receptors, the bright, fresh tang of berries made me crack a smile, something I was sure would not occur on this awful cold day.

Hen Pecks Fruited Ale is a product of Lupulin Brewing of Big Lake, Minn. I honestly do not remember buying this and was truly surprised when I plucked it from the magic fridge, but, then, that is what the magic fridge does – gives me what I want when I need it most.

Yes, my day was lacking something until I pulled out this plum and the berry aroma lifted me up.

The taste matches the pleasing aroma. It’s a light, refreshing and easy-drinking fruit-forward ale.

Neither rasp nor straw has a bigger berry presence. They seem to have met somewhere in the middle for a slightly tart and mysterious berry presence, and by mysterious I mean that you know berries are present, but their combination has merged the two distinct flavors into new and uncharted territory. A Raspawberry? A Straspberry?

I lived in Wisconsin for many years and used to have a tradition of enjoying a bottle of New Glarus Raspberry Tart on the coldest day of the year because it is summer in a bottle.

In the absence of a bottle of Raspberry Tart, Hen Pecks Fruited Wheat Ale will produce a similar feeling that summer and all it brings is not some far-fetched imagined thing that only happens elsewhere and never here in the Northland. To dream!