The addition of fruit to beer is an ancient practice. Beer is an ancient craft with a basic recipe that pre-dates writing, so it’s no wonder that brewers have experimented with a variety of ingredients during that time. The addition of fruit is a natural way to add interest to a traditional base style as well as increasing strength and nutritional value. Fruits can add sweetness or tartness. They mingle with malts and hops for greater aromatic complexity. They add novel qualities to beer flavor and color that can’t be accessed by grains alone.
Fall is the Goldilocks of seasons. Not too hot, not too cold, it’s just right for sipping fruited beer on the front porch or around a crowded table with friends and family. It’s also harvest time for pumpkins, apples, cranberries, black currants, and pomegranates, all ideal for fall-inspired fruit beers. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, Autumn Seasonal Beers “suggest cool weather and the autumn harvest season, and may include pumpkins, gourds, or other squashes, and associated spices.”
Traditionally, gose was brewed with malted barley and coriander using a process of spontaneous fermentation. The combination of ingredients, spontaneous fermentation, and saline water from the Gose give the beer its unique tart and salty flavor profile.
The popularity of lambics, fermented with cherries to make kriek or raspberries to make framboise, soon inspired brewers in other parts of the world to begin experimenting with fruit beers of their own, leading to an explosion of inventive fruit brews like radlers and shandies as well as fruit-infused base brews
Fruited beer wasn’t invented in America, but American brewers put their own stamp on the craft of brewing with fruit purees. This American Craft Beer Week, we’re celebrating those fruit beer pioneers.
Over the last couple of years, Americans have begun to experiment with a wider variety of flavors at home, creating a new appreciation for novel culinary experiences. As a result, more consumers are beginning to think and behave like foodies, which has led to experimental brewers integrating more exotic ingredients into craft beers.
In 2022, people are more motivated than ever to eat and drink healthier. Retro themes are popping up as people escape to pre-pandemic days. On the other hand, they’re also feeling a little stir crazy and ready to travel. It’s likely that two years of global pandemic are having a big impact on lifestyle trends. As a result, consumers are motivated by health concerns, nostalgia, and the call to adventure. That combo should give daring brewers plenty of inspiration for novel fruit beers.
Americans eat around fifteen pounds of watermelon annually per capita. Statistically, if you aren’t eating watermelon right now, somebody in your family is probably picking up your slack. It’s easily the most popular of the melons, and it’s a staple of cookouts, beach trips, and family reunions. Naturally, that makes watermelon a perfect pairing for beer, another warm weather favorite.
The aseptic manufacturing process preserves foods and beverages through rapid heat treatment followed by rapid cooling under sterile conditions. By using aseptic processing, potentially harmful microbes are eliminated from products, making perishable fruit pureés shelf-stable and safe for consumption. But that’s not all that aseptic processing and packaging does.
Mango’s rich, mellow perfume has the ability to enhance the sweetness of fruity beers or to accentuate the hops in beers with more bite. In recent years, craft brewers have had great success combining mango pureé with Simcoe, Citra, Cascade and Galaxy hops, to name just a few.
Strawberries are a popular pureé among brewers because the humble berry has so much to offer. It’s a popular mainstay flavor that simply cannot be engineered in a laboratory.
Blueberry alcoholic beverages experienced an 89% growth between 2019 and 2020, when Firmenich Flavors named the humble berry the flavor of the year. Its popularity hasn’t diminished since then. In fact, while the Maine native has often been associated with summertime, many food and beverage brands have been incorporating blueberries into their fall menus this year.
Cherries are, in many ways, iconic. They’re part of the collective culture, and cherry has remained a favorite stand-alone or medley flavor throughout culinary history. The sweet and sour fruit’s popularity is still growing,
While modern market goers may not be familiar with black currants yet, this piquant berry was a staple summer fruit of farmhouses and monasteries in bygone days. It’s been a versatile ingredient in European ales, wines, and preserves for centuries, adding an earthy sweetness and a floral aroma to beverages and dishes.
The Concord grape is a plump, purple enigma. On the one hand, this earthy grape from the American Northeast is an instantly recognizable fruit flavoring for candies, jams, and sodas. On the other hand, Concord grapes are so intensely grape-flavored that some people assume it can’t be real. It’s too musky and rich and deep. That’s because Concord grapes are “fox grapes,” whereas most table grapes and wine grapes are European vinifera cultivars.
The pomegranate has a long history of being utterly irresistible. That hasn’t changed in recent years, though now the fruit’s notoriety as mythic trouble-maker is being replaced by a reputation as a super food due to its abundance of antioxidants and vitamins.