Like Bridget Jones’s Baby actress Renee Zellweger and The Hangover hottie Bradley Cooper (dated for a whole TWO years before splitting in 2011), grapefruit and beer may seem an odd pair at first glance. But, it works. Well. Grapefruit has a diverse flavor profile — sweet, tart and bitter all rolled into one. Methods for brewing with grapefruit depend on the brewery, and each has its own take on this tart fruit. Some prefer to put the fruit flavor in the boil, allowing the sugars and sweetness to ferment out to leave a subtle citrus flavor. Others layer by adding grapefruit juice to the boil, followed by the rinds in the secondary, followed by hops, hops and more hops. With its sweet tartness, it’s a killer complement to IPAs, wheat beers, radlers and others. They say variety is the spice of life, so Peaks and Pints has construction a flight of grapefruit craft beer that we call Craft Beer Crosscut 3.27.18: A Flight of Grapefruit Beer.
Stieglbrauerei zu Salzburg brews Stigl-Radler Grapefruit from 40 percent of the brewery’s Goldbrau helles lager and the rest fruit soda from “purely natural ingredients.” This cloudy Austrian grapefruit 2.5-percent ABV thirst-quencher keeps saccharine qualities in check, meaning the radler is so crushable you could start with it in the morning and don’t have to end until long after the sun goes down. Or so we’ve heard.
6.7% ABV, 60 IBU
Modern Times Beer’s February monthly release is a style mash-up combining the San Diego/Portland’s hazy IPA malt bill and low bitterness/high aroma hopping style with the clean fermentation character of its West Coast IPAs. The result is a supremely drinkable IPA that puts the focus squarely on the Mosaic, Chinook, Simcoe, and Oregon-grown Nugget hops, which means grapefruit hops, resin and grassy and bready malt.
7.7% ABV, 60 IBU
The Pacific Northwest is known for its craft beer, and there’s plenty of the good stuff to be found on Bainbridge. Father and son Chuck and Russell Everett launched Bainbridge Island Brewing in 2012 excelling at IPAs. In the winter of 2015 their little island was struck by a furious windstorm, which knocked out our chiller while a tank of IPA was freshly fermenting. They couldn’t release it as the original beer, but it was delicious. So they hit the beer with pink grapefruit and figured they’d save the batch by releasing it as a special one-of in their taproom. But some escaped. Then a lot of people started asking for it. Now it’s their best selling beer. Windfall hits the tongue with grapefruit, grassy hops and malt. The finish is moderately bitter with a fruity hops aftertaste. Refreshing.
7% ABV, 70 IBU
Ballast Point accentuates the grapefruit to the nth degree, while still retaining Sculpin’s fruity underpinning. Named after the poisonous fish, the Sculpin goes all out with grapefruit rinds; pith and pulp added to the brew, and later a mega dose of citrusy hops is added. Wake up to a grove-fresh fragrance, like Florida distilled into a 5-ounce serving. The grapefruit’s tartness turns Sculpin into a tangy thirst-quencher, a neat trick for a beer boasting a substantial 7 percent ABV. The result is a delicious sweet and fruity beer, but one that stings.
6.5% ABV, 80 IBUs
Hop Valley’s Citrus Mistress rules Washington state, outselling the Eugene brewery’s top seller in Oregon, Alphadelic IPA. If you dig grapefruit, the lady plays nice. The peel is very much forward. Hops are present, but not overwhelming. Orange, pine and tropical fruit are behind the yellow and orange curtain. It has a juicy finish, of course.