As we finally round the corner of spring and with it the veritable fruit salad of warm-weather beers. Putting fruit in beer isn’t new. The Mesopotamians were brewing with fruit thousands of years ago. But here in America, the first modern fruit beer was made 32 years ago at McMenamins’ first brewpub in Hillsdale, and featured some blackberries growing up the back fence. Fruitheads really didn’t have their day until Dogfish Head busted out Aprihop in 1999 with the tagline, “A fruit beer for hopheads or an IPA with a fruit problem.” In honor of the forecasted rain-free weekend in the South Sound, Peaks and Pints offers five-beer flight of fruit beer we call Craft Beer Crosscut 4.15.17: A Flight of Fruit.
4.5% ABV, 8 IBU
Dogfish Head continues its love affair with fruit with its refreshing Festina Peche neo-Berliner Weisse. This lacto-cultured beer pours a straw yellow with an earthy, lemongrass and lager aroma with a hint of funk. It washes over the tongue with whole grain cereal sweetness; then … Bam! sour notes and peach flavors storm into the picture, leaving puckered cheeks in their wake. It’s a clean beer that’s heavy on the tart, but is just forgiving enough that no sugars are needed to counter the experience. It’s a perfect blend of sweet backbone and acidic refreshment.
Peaks and Pints can never say enough good words about the beers from Samuel Smith Brewery. It has origins dating back to 1758 and is part of the shrinking segment of independent British breweries. Its Organic Raspberry Fruit Beer is just that, a fruit beer, rather than a sour or a lambic. According to Samuel Smith’s, it’s brewed at the All Saints Brewery in Stamford, England using all manually operated equipment. Barley and wheat are combined to make an ale, fermented and aged for an extended period, then taken to Samuel Smith’s brewery in Tadcaster, England. It is at this stage where they blend in pure fruit juice to create a very fruit-forward ale with malt and some bittering hops on the back.
Ballast Point’s unique riff on a German style Kölsch beer pours amber in color with fluffy white head and a lovely, fresh peach aroma. The initial flavor of seemingly branch ripe peach is remarkably delicious and effortless on the palate complementing the subtle fruitiness of the Kolsch yeast. On the back end, it’s almost has a sweet, doughy finish. This Ballast Point refreshing treat is perfect for warm weather.
5.6% ABV, 9 IBU
Brewed and blended by Ommegang‘s sister brewery Liefmans in Belgium, Rosetta combines old (aged on cherries at least three years) and young Flemish brown ale (or oud bruin) with a lively and fruity kriek, or cherry beer. The blend, which was developed by Ommegang Brewmaster Phil Leinhart, results in a complex yet refreshing mahogany-brown brew that is an intriguing interplay of tartness and sweetness.
Founders Brewing Co. of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is celebrating its 20th anniversary year throughout 2017, and they intend to do so in style, with a series of new barrel-aged beers including Frootwood. The cherry ale aged in oak barrels hits the tongue with a Battle Royale of flavors: bourbon, cherries and maple syrup. The wood proves itself the star of this beer, adding depth and taming the tart cherry while the maple imposes a velvety texture that lingers for not a moment too long. When you hear someone say a beer is “all over the place,” think Frootwood. Sip this one while pondering the meaning of life.