The global craft beer movement’s continued pursuit of new and exciting flavour experiences has logically brought experimentation with fruit in the brewery.
However, two key brewing trends have driven the current crop of fruit beers that we as drinkers seem to be enjoying.
The rise of aromatic hops that commonly provide citrus and tropical fruit characteristics has naturally inspired brewers to consider complementing or bolstering these flavours with additions of real fruit.
Perhaps the most prominent American example is Ballast Point Brewing Company’s Grapefruit Sculpin IPA, a hugely successful beer since followed up in the San Diego brewer’s range by the Pineapple Sculpin IPA.
The embrace of sour beer styles such as the Berliner weisse, a sour wheat ale unique to Berlin, has also re-introduced fruit to beer.
The original versions of these beers were commonly flavoured with a shot of fruit flavouring at the point of sale, but brewers today typically add fruit upstream in the brewery.
Raspberry, passionfruit and peach are among the fruits added to complement the light, refreshing, lactic sourness that is a hallmark of the Berliner weisse.
Larger scale production of these beers has been made possible by a modern brewing method called kettle souring, which enables brewers to sour a beer in a matter of days, prior to it undergoing traditional fermentation.
While this technique may be new, fruit beers certainly are not. Berliner weisse was supposedly referred to by Napoleon’s troops in 1809 as ‘the Champagne of the North’, due to its lively effervescence.
Belgian brewers have also been making fruit beers for centuries. Cherries or raspberries were commonly added by brewers in Belgium’s Senne Valley during fermentation of their lambic beers, respectively creating the kriek and framboise styles.
And another ancient Belgian style, witbier, requires the addition of orange peel along with spices to be considered a true example of the style.
New from James Squire, Tall Tale Tropicana Spring Ale is one of the new wave of fruit beers that feature fruit additions to complement their hop character.
In this case, guava and passionfruit have been paired with the signature tropical profile of Australian Galaxy hops.
“It may sound like the tasting notes would be better suited to a fruity sauvignon Blanc. But trust us – it’s a beer,” says Malt Shovel head brewer Haydon Morgan.
“Adding fruit to a brew gives it a refreshing twist particularly to traditional styles such as Pale Ales
and IPAs. With spring in the air, we thought it was time to seize the season and give one a crack
You can find Tall Tale on tap in James Squire Brewhouses and in pack online via MoCU.
James Squire Tall Tale Tropicana Spring Ale
Light in body and mild in bitterness, Tall Tale infuses guava and passionfruit pulp complemented by a refreshing pale ale base, creating the perfect springtime drink.
Fixation Brewing Company Squish Citrus IPA
This new world IPA has its citrus hop profile turned up a notch by the additions of blood orange and grapefruit, making for a beautifully aromatic and flavoursome adventure.
Boatrocker Brewing Company Miss Pinky Raspberry Berliner Weisse
Using over 250kg of fresh Victorian raspberries in the brew, Miss Pinky offers beautiful raspberry aromas and flavours up front with a dry and tart finish.
Sailor’s Grave Dry Hopped Raspberry & Elderflower Grisette
A farmhouse style beer featuring the addition of elderflowers and raspberries. Dry hopping with Hallertau Blanc makes for a blend of earthy, floral and fruity aromatics.
Grifter Brewing Co Serpent’s Kiss Watermelon Pilsner
This supremely sessionable pilsner offers just a pleasant hint of the watermelon addition, providing ideal refreshment for summer.