Fruits have long been used as an ingredient to enhance a beer. Styles like kriek, brewed with cherries, framboise, brewed with raspberries and pêche, brewed with peaches, are commonplace in Belgian-brewed ales as well as across the world.
There has been a boom in fruity beer offerings over the last several years thanks to consumers who are eager for new tastes and brewers keen to experiment with traditional recipes and a seeming endless supply of flavorings.
Once upon a time a fruit beer meant that fresh, whole fruit was added to a beer, sometimes during the brewing process, other times during or after fermentation. Using whole fruits which sometimes involves peeling or slicing, is a labor-intensive process but offers big aromatics.
More recently a number of flavor companies have made in-roads to the beer space and have been offering flavored syrups that mimic nearly any kind of fruit or fruit combination that the imagination can conceive. Other companies are offering fruit purées that brewers use to blend with their beers.
While these are aseptic, they do contain sugars and unless a beer is pasteurized before sale, there is a risk that residual yeast in the beers will referment those fruit sugars if the can is stored at warm temperatures. Therefore many fruit beers will urge customers to keep the beers cold.
The purees also have some viscosity to them and pulp. This can settle to the bottom of a can or bottle during storage, so some brewers have added an instruction of rolling a can before opening.
Sour ales and Berliner weisse remain popular base beers, but brewers are also experimenting with India pale ales, brown ales, stouts, saison and more. This means near endless choice in the category and a chance to experiment the sweet or tart flavors of fruits both familiar and not.
Alesong Stonefruit Symphony (Fruit beer; Alesong Brewing & Blending, OR); $18/500ml. Find on Wine-Searcher. The aroma and first sip is akin to taking a bite out of a still firm, but almost just ripe nectarine, with sweet earthy flesh, buts of citrus and a pale stone fruit essence… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Crooked Stave Sour Rosé (Fruit beer; Crooked Stave, CO); $14/12oz 6 pack. Find at Total Wine & More. A lovely combination of sweet blueberry, tart raspberry and oak that combines a spritzy and lively sipper that is best suited for brunch and warm summer afternoon imbibing… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Drekker Bloody Hell (Fruit beer; Drekker Brewing, ND); $16/16 oz 4 pack. Find at Wine-Searcher. With a level of tartness that is one step below lip smacking, this blood orange puree infused pale ale has the pungent citrus… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Ghostfish Grapefruit IPA (Fruit beer; Ghostfish Brewing, WA); $15/12oz 6 pack. Find at Total Wine & More. This gluten-free IPA gives an assertive citrus fruit addition to a base beer that already was leaning into grapefruit-aroma hops… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Lindemans Pêche (Lambic; Lindemans, Belgium); $16/250ml 4 pack. Find at Total Wine & More. Sweet peach ring candy aroma appears first and is given depth from a more earthy, yet still candied peach flavor… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Pure Tropical Mist (Fruit beer; Pure Project, CA); $16/16oz 4 pack. Find at Total Wine & More. A beer that delivers on its name, this blonde ale has refreshing spritzy aromas of tangerine oil and kiwi… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Samuel Smith Organic Apricot (Fruit beer; Samuel Smith, England); $14/12oz 4 pack. Find at Total Wine & More. A fruit beer that fully embraces its fruit addition. The juicy aromas of dried apricot… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Ten Bends Cream Puff War Peach Double IPA (Fruit beer; Ten Bends Brewing, VT); $18/16oz 4 pack. Find at Total Wine & More. An assertive, generously hopped IPA that has old-school grapefruit and pine aromas that would be a delight on its own gets a dose of peach purée… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW