By Michelle DeLong
First it’s a tad sour, then it’s a little sweet. This rebel child packs an 8% punch alongside smooth, fruit forward flavor. We don’t bottle it yet, so if you haven’t spent time in a Melvin taproom (Remedy this. Immediately.) you might not know Ch Ch Cherry Bomb, the wildest member of the Melvin gang.
“It’s our favorite beer to make and it’s our favorite beer to taste,” founder/backseat brewer Jeremy Tofte tells us. “We try to get it to come out the same every time, and when it does, it makes you feel so good.”
Ch Ch Cherry Bomb has humble beginnings as one of the first beers the OG Melvin crew started tinkering with in the back room of Thai Me Up. First, a brown ale is put through its first fermentation, and then sweet and sour cherries (and sometimes even boysenberries) are added for a secondary fermentation.
The sour cherry taste comes through in a big way, hence the common misconception that Ch Ch Cherry Bomb is a sour beer. It’s actually considered a fruit beer, a category Tofte jokingly refers to as the “wine cooler category.” He laughs, “We make fun of each other and ourselves about it… we are known for IPA’s, but we are kind of hoping that cherry fruit beer is the next big thing.”
Tofte’s fortune cookie game must be dialed, because 2018 appears to be The Year of the Cherry: Ch Ch Cherry Bomb took home gold last week at the World Beer Cup, an industry-only event held every two years. In the past it has won bronze at the same event, and both gold and silver medals at the Great American Beer Festival.
True to its punk rock girl band namesake (millennials: see 70’s pop culture reference) Ch Ch Cherry Bomb is both a goddamn champion and a gorgeous hot mess.
“As it starts fermenting the second time, it always creates the biggest mess on the floor,” Tofte tells us. “You come in in the morning and there’s just cherry everywhere. The whole brewery floor is filled up. You gotta hose it down for like half an hour, and because we just do everything on the three barrel system, we should be able to produce six kegs, but we get so much blow off from the secondary ferment that we usually end up getting only three.” We brew Ch Ch Cherry bomb three times a year to keep it available on tap, but that number will go up soon.
Because Melvin loves you, we’ve got plans to purchase a flash pasteurizer in the next year or two so we can begin bottling this deliciousness and make it easier for you to session pink beer. Without pasteurization, there is a teeeeeeny chance that the yeast and sugars from the fruit could cause fermentation in the bottle, and BOOM… like we said, hot mess. Trust us, this beer is worth waiting for.
In the meantime, head to one of our taprooms and ask for a pour of Melvin’s underrated rockstar. Word on the street is, every time you mix Ch Ch Cherry Bomb with Killer Bees (the perfect summertime mashup) an angel weeps with joy and then floats the river. PSA: lazy lakeside drinking beers don’t have to be WorldBev Light.