“Fruit beer is basically beer made with fruit, so it’s a pretty broad category,” says Averie Swanson, head brewer at Austin, Texas-based Jester King Brewery. She says fruit incorporation has long been a part of Belgian beer-making. And as Belgian sours have lately risen in popularity in the U.S., so have fruit beers. (You’ll see that plenty of sours make this list.)
If you like to drink the seasons then we suggest loading up on Camden Brewery’s Strawberry Hells Forever during the summer months before switching to this Cumbrian treat when the nights start to lengthen.
It’s a dark beer that has undergone a slow re-fermentation with damsons and is produced in limited editions, so snaffle it while you can. It has a bit of vinegar sourness, a grape mustiness and is unusually dry.
Soft Parade by Short’s Brewing Co.
Michigan-based Short’s has been making Soft Parade (named after an album by The Doors) for well over a decade, and their experience shows. Made with rye and puréed blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries, it’s a mildly spicy, mildly tart, surprisingly mellow beer that takes focus and consideration to appreciate. Great name. Great bottle art. And a great beer.
Titanic Plum Porter, 4.9%: £1.65 for 500ml, Morrisons
The roasted malt flavours of this porter provide a more flavoursome base than many of the brews in this list, so the plum juice addition has to do a little more work to make its presence known without wrecking the beer.
It makes an instant impression with the aroma – sweet fruity fragrances mingle nicely with the coffee notes – and the plummy pleasures continue with every sip, adding a rich fruity intensity to the brew and a sweet, juicy contrast to the toasty bitterness that lurks beneath.
Seed by Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.
While the tartness here is mellow compared to many other fruit beers, the strawberry and raspberries burst through on your tongue. Released during summer by Maine-based Bissell Brothers, Seed is crisp and fresh, and the moderate amount of carbonation paired with its light body makes this an ideal warm-weather brew.
Hell or High Watermelon by 21st Amendment Brewery
As you would expect from its namesake fruit, this summer seasonal isn’t overpowering. The watermelon is present and hangs around pleasantly long after you’ve swallowed. But this wheat beer is more than just a fruit-bomb. If Belgian-style fruit beers don’t do it for you, this gentler brew from Northern California’s 21st Amendment may be more to your liking.