What’s Brewing? Fruit beers are summer in a glass | TribLIVE.com
Food & Drink

What’s Brewing? Fruit beers are summer in a glass

Mark Brewer
Fat Head’s Brewery’s Bumble Berry
Wells Young’s Banana Bread Beer
Rivertowne Brewing’s Hala Kahiki
Jackie O’s Pub Brewery’s Paw Paw Wheat
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Sea Quench Ale

Oftentimes someone will say with a funny look on their face, “I like pineapple and mango but I’m not crazy about it being in an IPA.”

The truth is there’s no pineapple or mango juice added to most IPAs. Flavor and aroma notes are added to some menus to give consumers an idea of what they might be able to detect from the various types of hops that were used during the brew. Ninety-nine percent of the time there is no fruit juice added to your IPA.

On the other hand, there are beers that have fruit added for taste, color and aroma.

The use of fruit in beer was banned in Germany as part of the Reinheitsgebot (the German Beer Purity law) from 1516 all the way until 1987. Interesting to note that there are no traditional English fruit beers either. However, Belgian brewers are notorious for their lambics with the use of cherries (kriek), raspberries (framboise), peaches (peche) and black currants (cassis). When you see a beer with cherries it’s always a good idea to think “sour or tart” rather than thinking “sweet.”

If it’s sweet, then the brewer likely used a cherry flavoring because cherries alone or in a puree won’t produce a sweet taste in beer. Banana is another fruit that is a challenge to extract taste from in beer. Brewers will use a hefeweizen yeast that produces banana and clove-like aromas and flavors to help assist with what the actual banana won’t produce. Pumpkin is another fruit from which the flavor is hard to produce in beer. Brewers often roast the pumpkins before brewing with them to extract some flavor but have learned to satisfy consumers seeking pumpkin by simply adding pumpkin pie ingredients to the brew. The taste of lemons and limes comes through abundantly in beer. Brewers can extract flavor from the fruit and/or from the fruit’s outermost layer, which is referred to as the zest.

I’ve enjoyed many beers brewed with real watermelon, raspberry, mango, blueberry and more. Like shandys, I refer to these fruit beers as “summer in a glass!”

Jackie Os Pub Brewery’s

Athens, Ohio

Paw Paw Wheat (9.2% ABV)

Pawpaw trees are native to Ohio. The pawpaw fruit has similar flavors and aromas to those of mangos and melons. The flavor of this beer is wheat with lemon, banana, mango and a bit honeydew. The high alcohol is hidden well.

Rivertowne Brewing


Hala Kahiki (4.8% ABV)

Hala kahiki is the Hawaiian phrase for pineapple. This is an easy drinking beer. Appears hazy yellow with an abundant amount of fresh pineapple aroma and flavor. Finishes fruity with a touch of malt.

Fat Head’s Brewery


Bumble Berry (5.3% ABV)

Brewed with fresh harvested spring honey and infused with fresh blueberries. A light, refreshing ale with a nice blueberry aroma. Crackery malt flavors with a hint of sweetness and a refreshing blueberry finish.

Wells Young

England, UK

Banana Bread Beer (5.2% ABV)

If you like banana bread you’ll love this beer. Brewed with fair-trade bananas that will awaken the senses. Fruity with rich aromas and flavors of banana and toffee. Balanced by the silky richness of a masterful malt blend and the peppery spice of the freshest, ripest hops. Banana bread in a glass!

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Milton, Del.

Sea Quench Ale (4.9% ABV)

This beer is made with lime peel, black lime and sea salt. It’s citrusy-tart and is definitely refreshing. The taste of lime on top of lime is abundant but never too much as the sea salt keeps it refreshing.

Mark Brewer is a Tribune-Review contributing writer. He’s the author and illustrator of “Brewology, An Illustrated Dictionary for Beer Lovers.”

Categories: Lifestyles | Food Drink
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