Fruit in your beer? Craft beer purists are either reeling with disdain or embracing fruit-inspired beers for the cool, refreshing and crisp flavors. Europeans have been on board with fruit beers for decades; U.S. craft brewers are finally scoring substantial market success of their own with beers plucked from an orchard of flavors. Here are a few to try:
21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon
This American wheat beer is brewed with real watermelon for a flavor that's surprisingly crisp, dry and refreshing -- summer in a can. The beer undergoes traditional secondary fermentation using fresh watermelon. A straw-colored, refreshing beer with a kiss of watermelon aroma and flavor. Garnish this beer with a wedge of watermelon for an added treat! 4.9 ABV.
Samuel Smith Organic Strawberry Ale
Samuel Smith's organic fruit beers are brewed and fermented at Melbourn Bros. Brewery in Stamford; then blended, conditioned and packaged at Samuel Smith's Old Brewery in Tadcaster; they are Certified Organic by the USDA-accredited UK Soil Association. Strawberries offer a soft and subtle flavor, making the character of this fruit beer extremely sophisticated and refined. The smooth malt and aromatic strawberry flavors merge together in an elegant fashion, with fresh, ripe strawberries shining through. 5.1 ABV.
St. Louis Premium Framboise
This framboise has a simple and straightforward character - not unlike the humble summer fruit with which it is flavored. There is no cloying sweetness, just the market-fresh taste and sweetness of ripened ruby raspberries. With a characteristic limbic funk midway, the St. Louis Premium is as stalwart and stoic as the king for whom it was named. The raspberry flavor is neither overly sour nor sickly sweet, its body neither obtrusively heavy nor ephemerally light - it is in short a perfectly concocted fresh fruit Belgian lambic. 4.5 ABV.
Dogfish Head Festina Peche
This ground-breaking Delaware brewery also knows something about paying homage – and Festina is a contemporary take on classic sour Berliner-Weise. Traditionally, Berliner Weisse is fermented with lactic cultures to produce its green apple-like character. To soften the intense sourness, Berliner Weisse was served with a dash of essence of woodruff or raspberry syrup. In Festina Peche, since the natural peach sugars are eaten by the yeast, the fruit complexity is woven into both the aroma and the taste of the beer so there is no need to doctor it with woodruff or raspberry syrup. 4.5 ABV.
I was surprised and pleased by the easy drinking beer that’s nicely balanced. It’s a true 50/50 blend of total refreshment made from 50 percent Schofferhofer Hefeweizen blended with 50 percent carbonated juice of natural ingredients. 2.5 ABV.