Beer with slices of citrus fruit hanging from the edge of a glass are nothing new, even to the casual beer drinker, but adding fruit with beer goes much deeper than that simple act. It has a rich tradition dating back thousands of years with many drinkers adding locally grown fruit to their ancient brews for flavors.
This tradition carries forward into today’s craft beer market in exciting new ways. Craft brewers add exotic fruits to a variety of beer styles. While the act of putting a slice of fruit into your beer is still quite divisive among many beer drinkers, beer brewed with fruit is a resounding success.
The trouble with brewing fruit beers is they can easily become overly sweet and off-putting to many drinkers. Craft brewers have really refined their skills in this area and have been brewing many world class and perfectly balanced fruit beers in recent years.
Brewers have worked hard to perfect these beers and summer is a perfect time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor, pardon the pun. So here is a short list of some phenomenal fruit beers you should be drinking now:
1. Terrapin Beer Company– Maggie’s Blackberry Cobbler Imperial Farmhouse Ale: While the name maybe a mouthful, this is an extremely easy drinking beer perfect for unwinding after a long day in the hot summer sun. This strong Saison has subtle Belgian characteristics balanced against semi-sweet notes of fresh blackberries, cinnamon, and honey. Saisons are perfect for summer and this is a new twist on a very popular style.
2. Founders Brewing Company– Rübæus: Founders is known for their world class beers and have truly earned this reputation, and continue it with Rübæus. Fresh raspberries abound in this delicious beer and are added throughout the brewing process. The taste comes across as a perfect balance between sweet and tart with raspberries being put on full display. This is a great fruit beer to try even if you claim to not like fruit beers.
3. Avery Brewing Company– Liliko’I Kepolo: This is a brand new release from Avery and is unfortunately quite limited, however if you can find this beer it is a must try. This Witbier is aided with a heaping dose of passion fruit, orange peel, and coriander making it a perfect replacement for Sunday mimosas or to enjoy while relaxing by the poolside. The light 5.4 percent ABV makes this a great beer to enjoy while doing yardwork during the day. No matter when you have it, you will absolutely love it.
4. Ballast Point Brewing Company– Grapefruit Sculpin IPA: Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA has already amassed quite the reputation among IPA lovers with its huge citrus hop punch and crisp dry finish. So when the brewery decided to add a hefty amount of fresh grapefruit to the beer it seemed like they could only make this beer better. The grapefruit is front and center providing a wonderful compliment to the hop bitterness and making for a beer that is bitter yet extremely refreshing. Fans of hoppy beers will absolutely want to track this one down.
5. Dogfish Head Brewery– Festina Pêche: Dogfish Head is a brewery not afraid to try something new with their beers. Festina Pêche is a perfect 4.5 percent ABV Berliner Weissbier with a great tart bite backed by fresh peaches. This truly tastes like biting into a fresh peach and there is nothing more thirst quenching to enjoy on a hot summer day.
No matter what your stance is on putting fruit slices in your beer, after trying any of these great beers, it will be obvious that fruit in beer can be a wonderful thing. Be adventurous this summer and be sure to drink your daily allowance of fruit!
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon every Sunday on 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.