We Tried Brooklyn Brewery's New Yolélé Fonio White Beer. Here's How It Went

The craft brewing industry is overflowing with pretenders to the throne. Yet the numerous boastful-yet-underwhelming options may be unavoidable given more than 9,000 U.S. craft breweries were in operation as of 2021 (via Statista). Of course, when a brewery's established a lengthy track record of impeccable quality, that helps eliminate any trial-and-error for the consumer. And Brooklyn Brewery — the 13th best-selling U.S. craft brewery in 2021 (via Brewers Association) — undoubtedly belongs in that category.

Brooklyn Brewery is a dependably delicious beer brand, with an instantly-recognizable logo created by renowned graphic designer Milton Glaser (via Brooklyn Brewery). Anchored by James Beard award-winning brewmaster Garrett Oliver (via Brewbound), the brewery has continually pushed the boundaries of innovative brewing for more than three decades — a trend it continued through its recent partnership with food company, Yolélé.

Collaborating with Yolélé — which sells and promotes sustainable foods grown by smallholder farmers in West Africa — Brooklyn Brewery devised a sustainability-focused beer brewed with fonio, an ancient, highly drought-resistant grain. Oliver had been fascinated with fonio after first discovering it several years ago, according to the press release announcing the collaboration (via Business Wire). After playing around with several fonio-brewed beers, the brewmaster joined forces with Yolélé, leading to the birth of the brewery's new Fonio White Beer.

We were lucky enough to obtain a few samples, and tried Brooklyn Brewery's new Yolélé Fonio White Beer. Here's what we thought of this fascinating new product.

What flavor is the new Yolélé Fonio White Beer?

On the surface, the flavor profile put forth in Brooklyn Brewery's Yolélé Fonio White Beer is fairly straightforward. Described by the brewery as a "smooth and refreshing riff on classic white beer," the Yolélé Fonio White Beer joins a "soft wheat character ... with juicy hops" in its final product.

Additionally, the can's label mentions the beer contains bright, fruity, and creamy "tasting notes" — two of which we can vouch for firsthand. The Yolélé Fonio White Beer absolutely hits those first two tasting notes on the head in our experience. It's exceptionally bright-tasting, with an undeniably citrusy taste. We wouldn't say we noticed anything particularly creamy about the beer, per se, but we may have been expecting something different — or, more likely, have a less-refined palate than we'd like to imagine.

Frankly, if you didn't know the beer was a specially-designed product made with the unusual-to-the-American-palate grain, fonio, you'd easily believe it was just a delectable, slightly fruity, white beer — somewhat akin to a Blue Moon Belgian White.

Where can you find the new Yolélé Fonio White Beer and how much does it cost?

The new Yolélé Fonio White Beer is currently for sale at the brewery itself in Brooklyn, and at Whole Foods stores in several northeast states — New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Hampshire (via Business Wire). While there's no specific timeline regarding the beer's availability, the limited-release beer is almost certainly only available while supplies last.

We weren't able to verify the Yolélé Fonio White Beer's exact price at Whole Foods, nor could we find the beer for sale online or for delivery. But we did find Brooklyn Brewery's Shackmeister Ale, also sold in four-packs of 16-ounce cans, for sale on Drizly for $8.99 (not including any additional delivery charges). Therefore, we'd estimate the Yolélé Fonio White Beer would be sold for a similar price through the delivery service — though, given its limited release status, it may cost a bit more.

Additionally, based on the general pricing for other Brooklyn Brewery beers sold at Whole Foods (and the general expectation for craft specialty beers), we'd estimate a four-pack of 16-ounce cans will cost between $9 and $15 dollars at the store.

How does it compare to other Brooklyn Brewery beers, and what is the nutrition information?

Compared to the normal year-round offerings from Brooklyn Brewery, like its classic Lager, the new Yolélé Fonio White Beer is a relatively unique creation (even before considering the fact it's made with an ancient West African grain). While it's extremely light and pale color isn't wholly unprecedented (or shocking, given the "White Beer" label), it's flavor does distinguish it from other Brooklyn Brewery beers.

The new white beer has little in common with the many IPA varieties sold by Brooklyn, but it's unlike any IPA at all, really. The "juicy" hops ensure it tastes bright, making it perfect for anyone turned off by the inherent bitterness often found in IPAs. On that note, we'd say the Yolélé Fonio White Beer is a wonderful alternative to the seeming blitzkrieg of IPAs available across the U.S. — from Brooklyn, or any other brewery.

We aren't privy to the precise nutritional information found in the new Yolélé Fonio White Beer. But with an ABV of 5.6%, we can glean some idea of the general nutrition; after all, the higher a beverage's ABV, the more calories it contains (via Vox). Additionally, while we wouldn't call this (or any beer) a healthy beverage, the fact that fonio is such a nutritionally-rich food product, according to Healthline, may make the new Brooklyn Brewery beer a slightly healthier option than other beers on the market.

The Verdict: A delicious beer that resonates with long-term potential

In a word? The new Yolélé Fonio White Beer was phenomenal. The flavor was exquisitely light, with a citrusy, lemony, almost shandy-like taste that rolled along our tongue. The beer was far less-filling than many other beers, as well, and gave us a similar vibe to a hefeweizen — which isn't entirely surprising, considering a hefeweizen is a German-style white beer (via CraftBeer.com).

Frankly, it was hard to find fault with the new Yolélé Fonio White Beer. If you're a fan of lighter-tasting, light-bodied, fruity beers, you'll be immensely satisfied with your purchase, and able to taste the summer with every sip (even as the weather turns colder). More than being a fantastic option for the white beer fan, though, the beer offers a potential path for fonio to make inroads in the U.S., which fits with the spirit of the partnership. After all, as Brooklyn Brewery's VP of Sales, Miles Moser, stated (via Business Wire), the company hopes the new beer provides "an educational opportunity" for U.S. consumers regarding fonio.

We can only concur with the brewery's overall goal regarding the ancient West African grain. And after trying the new Yolélé Fonio White Beer, we can happily confirm that Brooklyn Brewery produced an exemplary first foray into the fonio game for U.S. beer fans.