I wasn't expecting to like this beer. The enamel stripping effect of Chapeau Lemon might have been at the back of my mind. But I received a swell sample pack from the brewer and gave it a whirl.
The beer pours an orange amber with a rich off white head that resolves to a rim and foam. The aroma is extremely true Earl Grey and juicy lemon pulp along with a bit of pale malt sweetness. In the mouth, it is subtler than I expected - American wheat grassiness and a bright light body. No heavy sweetness masking and smoothing edges. Not a cooler pretending to be beer. A bit like Magic Hat #9 but lighter and cleaner without that brewery's rich buttery diacetyl legacy. The lemon is subdued at first as you notice the hop and then the tea. Low carbonation helps make it all moreish. And I didn't refrigerate this first. I wanted to try it warts and all. It passed the test.
So, not a compromise or a gateway to anything - a pretty good beer displaying authentic ingredients including the lemon and the tea. As Greg wrote yesterday, no Bud Lite Lime. Not even a Bud Lite Lime Draft Ice. A good beer.