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Genesee bets on Cran Orange Kellerbier for the fall


The Genesee Brewery’s special release beers are, well, special.

Not just because they’re inexpensive, good beers that complement the seasons, but because they introduce relatively niche styles of beer, like schwarzbier, in a way that gives beer nerds and casual drinkers alike a reason to raise a glass.

A cranberry-orange imbued kellerbier, aptly named Cran Orange Kellerbier, is the latest entry in that tradition.

Kellerbier, also known as zwickelbier, is a style of low-alcohol German lager that eschews filtration, leaving behind a somewhat hazy, straw-colored brew. This version adds cranberry and orange flavoring for a bit of fall flair.

“We wanted to create a beer that is sessionable, smooth and fun to drink for bonfires, tailgates, and apple picking this fall,” Jaime Polisoto, Genesee brand director, said in a statement.

The Cran Orange Kellerbier, touted by the brewery as an autumnal answer to its wildly popular summer Ruby Red Kolsch, is a bit deceptive.

Pouring a hazy, nearly opaque straw-color, the beer gives off a strong, perfumy aroma of orange flavoring reminiscent of SunnyD. To be blunt, the beer smells artificial and saccharine, much like the brewery’s Lemon Strawberry Cream Ale, a beer I have no plans on sampling anytime soon.

But first impressions can be deceiving. Suffice to say, the Kellerbier is delightful. The beer opens with a barrage of sweet malt punctuated by citrus and a mild tartness that offers a much-needed contrast. Then it shifts to a wheaty crispness and herbal hop notes on the end.

Particularly refreshing is that the Kellerbier tastes like a beer. It is a lager with some notes of fruit added, not a fruit drink using beer as a base.

It’s light, clean, modestly nuanced, and at 4.5 percent, begging to be sipped in succession.

The Cran Orange Kellerbier is scheduled to start rolling out Oct. 8, with 12-packs hitting store shelves that weekend.

The production will effectively be a test-run of its popularity. The beer will be around until it sells out.