According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary “aberrant” is an adjective that means to “deviate from the usual.” Aberrant Ales in Howell, MI has always been a little bit different from the usual brewpub with its mainstay brews, sour program, and, now, its seltzer line up, which includes my recent find, Watermelon Mint.
It’s hard seltzer series is called “In the Nude.” Seeing this name on the chalkboard and ordering it always gives me a chuckle, but just goes to show how much Clark Gill, founder and president of Aberrant Ales, and his team are staying true to their roots of deviating from the usual.
After ordering a glass of the latest flavor, Watermelon Mint, the flavor combination slowly grew on me. I found this hard seltzer to be crushable, especially on a hot day, at only 5%. The hard seltzer was crystal clear and crisp throughout the sip. I only had one watermelon flavored hard seltzer during 2020’s Hard Seltzer Summer, but it was paired with lime and not mint, so this was new territory.
I was apprehensive about whether or not the watermelon would be potent or hiding. It was neither because it was balanced with the mint. I found the mint to be more cleansing than coating when it came to my palate. My taste buds weren’t thrown off for the rest of the night when I was drinking this hard seltzer.
After enjoying Watermelon Mint, I caught up with Clark to get to skinny on what Aberrant’s In the Nude Hard Seltzers are all about:
Ed Norton (Better on Draft): Some breweries make a base seltzer and add flavors to keep up with the demand of the hard seltzer craze. I noticed that Aberrant Ales only has one flavor available at a time. Why?
Clark Gill (Founder, President, and Maintenance Foreman for Aberrant Ales): We take the painstaking time to filter and flavor our seltzers the way we intend for them to be enjoyed. The time and attention to detail it takes to make these beautifully clear seltzers could easily be negated with too much or too little over-the-counter flavor additions; ultimately diminishing the consumer experience and adding color and haze to the beverage.
Ed: Is this why the hard seltzers are only available on draft in the taproom?
Clark: Our seltzers are produced at a much higher level of carbonation than our beers. In order to ensure the best experience by the end consumer, we do not fill any growlers or crowlers of our seltzers for carryout.
Ed: How did the flavor combination for Watermelon Mint come about?
Clark: Watermelon Mint is a great summertime flavor combination. Similar to a watermelon mojito or mint julep cocktails, one taste of this flavor has you visualizing flowers, the Kentucky Derby, and summer cookouts. Our flavor profiles come from fruit and flavor extracts in order to keep our seltzers crystal clear. No actual mint was harmed in the production of this seltzer.
Ed: Is Watermelon Mint the only flavor of In the Nude?
Clark: No, Cranberry Orange Ginger was our first release and was targeted to come out for the 2020 holiday season, but the MDHHS order in November of 2020 delayed our release.
Ed: Are there more In the Nude flavors planned or will Watermelon Mint be the flavor of Summer 2021?
Clark: In the Nude is a rotating hard seltzer series. Much like our fruited sour series, these flavors will rotate in and out seasonally. Watermelon Mint will be on tap as long as it lasts.
Ed: I have to ask. Where does the “In the Nude” name come from for the hard seltzer series?
Clark: We brew them naked.
In March, Aberrant Ales announced that Chef Bret Beaudoin was joining the team. According to Clark, Chef Bret “is continuing to kill it while pushing the boundaries in our kitchen, adding some great new menu items and flavor combinations that complement our beverage production. In order to check it both the new menu, In the Nude, and the rest of Aberrant’s brews, head on over to the taproom located 219 West Grand River Rd in Howell.
Disclaimer: Ed purchased a plethora of In the Nude for this review. Thank you to Clark Gill and his team for the information for this review.