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It's round two of the Boxtravaganza selection today. As with the beer that kicked off yesterday's pale ales, the first is a low-strength one at just 3.5% ABV. It's from Horizont in Budapest, their Berliner Weisse with Guava & Passionfruit. From the brewer's introduction on the festival live feed I know it's a full 20% fruit. I'm not surprised there's a lot of fruit in this opaque custard-looking job. The initial aroma is a slightly alarming farmyard funk, settling after a moment to proper tropical juice. And tropical juice is largely how it tastes. The base sour beer is present to an extent, enough to stop it from turning cloying but not enough to give it a proper edge. On balance, yes: it delivers what one might expect from the description. It's not especially complex or exciting though. They have a whole series of these and I suspect they're more interesting to formulate and brew than they are to drink.

A palate cleanser was welcome after that and next in the official drinking order was 310 a blonde ale from Santa Monica Brew Works. This is 4.8% ABV, a perfect clear golden and single-hopped with Summit. The aroma is atypical: dry cracker, pencil shavings and honeydew melon. What? That dryness takes up most of the flavour, scorching my palate a little. A sweetness follows that, more sticky honey and lemonade than cool refreshing fruit, accentuated by low carbonation. I found this quite difficult, which I'm sure is not the intention behind it. The brewer said its origins were as an alternative to Budweiser and it seriously lacks that beer's cleanness and ease of drinking. My palate got the scrub it needed, but I was very unthrilled by this.

Today's blueberry beer is Outdoorsman, a "triple fruited sour" from Gipsy Hill featuring blueberries and bananas. Unsurprisingly it's very smoothie-looking: an opaque beetroot purple. And like yesterday's muffin thingy, the aroma is spicy first, in a Christmassy way. There's a properly sharp sourness lurking behind this, which is promising. Sure enough the texture is light and the tang is there in the finish, clean and tart, though tasting more of cherries than blueberries to me. Before this, a swirl of sweetness; milkshake and ice cream. I like the contrast, the two sides complement each other really well. It's soft and cuddly, but not jarringly sweet; assertively tart but not severe. I wasn't expecting to like this but it's spot on -- complex yet accessible; silly but well-made.

It took me a moment to decipher what the angry red things on the label of Mont Hardi's beer were. Beetroot! (Betterrave, en français.) It's called Bête-Raves Sauvages ("Wild Beast-Root", perhaps) and is a saison of 5.9% ABV. Comparison with our native beetroot saison, Hopfully's excellent Beetjuice, immediately sets a high bar for it. There's lots of fizz as it pours and the colour is a pale pink. It smells sweet -- oddly so -- with the caramel and grapefruit of an old-fashioned American pale ale. Not what I was expecting. There's quite a lot of that in the flavour too, though also a definite earthiness which I'm guessing is from the root vegetables. I get a slightly solvent-like funk too, which may be down to the warm-fermented saison esters. This isn't very impressive. Though fizzy it lacks crispness and there's none of the fruit or spice alternatives that make saison worthwhile. Even the novelty ingredient is muted. Taken all together it amounts to little more than a very basic pale ale. Beetjuice has nothing to worry about.

Pilot's contribution is a Lime & Pepper Gose. It pours a clear golden shade, fizzing briskly before settling down to something quite heavy and without a head. There's a bit of salt and lime in the aroma but nothing which prepared me for the frontal assault of lime cordial in the flavour. It is drenched in the stuff, the thick texture spreading it across the palate in a way that's both sticky and tangy. Some briny salt does its best to balance it but without much success. Disappointingly, I found I could could locate no trace of the alleged organic black pepper that's supposed to be in here. All things considered, it's a bit severe and one-dimensional. It is at least properly sour, but more in a lime-sucking way than any microflora complexities, and you can forget about any refreshment given the thickness. Much to grumble about; I'll just move on.

I thought from the name that Jam Up The Mash by Collective Arts would be a murky double IPA or the like, but no: it's described on the can as a "dry hopped sour", the brewery website telling us it's a mixed fermentation and uses Vic Secret, Mosaic and Citra. It's pale and lightly hazy in the glass, again not too concerned about keeping a head. The aroma is tart and spritzy with some carefree summery citrus notes. This goes full-on juicy on tasting, with delicious mandarin at the front supported by pineapple and mango. At the same time there's lots of sourness, a distinctly lactic twang which is a little bit much but doesn't disturb the equilibrium. This is a beauty, using high-calibre hops but not overdoing things, resulting in big flavours while still staying accessible. I'm a fan of sour-'n'-hoppy in general, and this one absolutely pushes my buttons.

The grand finale is Szilvás Gombóc from Mad Scientist, an "imperial pastry sour ale" made to resemble the Hungarian plum dumplings after which it's named. I guess it's the 10% ABV that earns its place at the tail end of the Boxtravaganza list. The deep wine-red colour had me thinking it's hazy but it's actually completely clear. The aroma is strong, sweet and spirituous: the kirsch and slivovitz that I like to have accompanying me on journeys through eastern Europe. Add a thickness to that and the first taste comes across like cough medicine until the sourness kicks in. There's a sharpness like from real plums only moreso, pinching the jaw and inducing a wince. The sweet and sour sides are too equally powerful to complement each other; instead you get parallel flavours, but both are interesting and pleasant to sip. I thought I wouldn't like the booze and busyness but I eventually settled in to it, enjoying the sharpness, the sweetness and the warmth all on their own terms. This needs time to be appreciated, and might even work as a sharer in dinky liqueur glasses. Regardless it's very well made and more than just a gimmick.

Well that was fun, but let's have it at the brewery next year, yeah?