Like Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden, 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 6.6.17: A Flight of Grapefruit.
4.5% ABV, 5 IBU
Gose is a top-fermented beer that originated in Goslar, Germany. It is brewed with at least 50 percent of the grain bill being malted wheat. Gose belongs to the same family of sour wheat beers, which were once brewed across Northern Germany and the Low Countries. Sierra Nevada’s year-round gose took more than 100 iterations before deciding on the final formula, and it took a “beautiful accident” for the brewers to get it just right. The brewers tried dozens of different strains of lactobacillus bacteria before they stumbled on a novel strain that had accidentally infected a yeast sample. The brewery adds prickly pear cactus fruit and dried grapefruit peel, both of produce a sort of melon-like sweetness to this sour.
4% ABV, 16 IBU
Maybe you don’t like radlers (a blend of fruit juice/soda and beer). That’s cool. No harm, no foul. But if you’re looking for one radler to try, give Great Divide’s Roadie Grapefruit Radler a shot. Rolling down the canning line is a beer created for a cruise down the bike trail. The Roadie Grapefruit Radler is a combination of two of Great Divide’s passions — beer and the cycling community. Inspired by the annual BoulDurango, where some of Colorado’s most tenured brewers join up for a 400-plus mile ride, it’s brewed with natural grapefruit puree. This easy-drinking ale pours a hazy sunrise gold, bursts with citrus aroma, dry and slightly tart and is a seriously refreshing beer that comes in at a miniscule 4 percent ABV.
7.2% ABV, 45 IBU
Part of their limited edition Pilot Series, Alaskan Brewing goes classic with the hop profile (Citra, Centennial and Cascade) to give Smack of Grapefruit a robust and citrusy baseline. Then they added ripe grapefruit and a lot of rye malt to help add a layer of spiciness to this fruity, bitter beer. The nose fills with hop-forward, tropical grapefruit and citrus with a little malt and rye. The taste follows the nose with tropical grapefruit and citrus from start to finish with some 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 their 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.