Fruity Beers – a Refreshing Industry Trend
What are fruit beers? As its name suggests, this beverage is beer made with fruit added as a flavoring. Usually, the process relies on malt-scented cherries, raspberries, plums, or strawberries. The fruit can also be used in fermentation, such as in producing Lambic beers fermented with cherries to create kriek or with raspberries to produce framboise. However, the essential ingredients remain hops, malt, yeast, and carbonated water.
While fruit-flavored beer has no unbroken pedigree in brewing history, it may well date back thousands of years to China and Egypt. However, the concept has often been scoffed at, especially among Germans and the English. A perception persisted that fruit profiles were added to mask off flavors in poorly brewed beer and associated with failed brews.
The Belgians, however, were not put off. These rebellious risk-takers began the modern fruit beer brewing tradition almost a century ago with their cherry Krieks, Lambics, and, more recently, their framboise and peche. With fruit beers gaining popularity since introducing craft brew/ distillery beer in the 80s, Americans stepped in with exciting variants such as pumpkin and chili beer and cherry stouts.
What Are Fruit Beer Characteristics?
Fruit can be incorporated at several stages, most commonly during fermentation and at the end of the boil. The fruit type and amount used are up to the brewer. Results can be aromatic, hoppy, tart, sour, or sweet, allowing and relying on imagination and creativity.
While color is based on the base beer style with a hint of the fruit, typical fruit beer features include a noticeable fruity aroma, but not overwhelmingly so. Then, the flavor, too, should be fruity, slightly sweet, but nothing like fruit juice, while the mouthfeel will be thinner than a standard beer. Clarity will also depend on the base product and the fruit used.
The fruit should never overpower the appearance, aroma, and taste, although certain fruits will have more influence than others, such as plums, cherries, and raspberries. The profiles should also never be artificial – brews should strive for natural fruity layers without compromising the base style. The fruit should complement the beer while leaving the beer as the star.
Why a Fruit Beer?
Fruit beers are less bitter than regular beers and pleasant to drink year-round and around the globe. Critically, the fruitier, less bitter flavor profile makes fruit beer, especially low alcohol variants, an ideal entry-level and occasional beverage among women. This appeal helps extend and expand opportunities in a historically male-based market. As a result, the global fruit beer market, estimated at $266.9 billion in 2022, is forecast to grow to $379.5 billion in 20281.
Examples of Award-Winning Fruit Beers
The list of impressive fruit beers from craft breweries is longer than you may think; it includes:
- Hardywood Park Craft Brewing’s’ Raspberry Stout (Richmond, VA)
- Dry Dock Brewing Company’s Apricot Blonde (Aurora, CO)
- Pyramid Brewing Company’s Apricot Ale (Seattle, WA)
- Pagosa Brewery and Grills’ Peachy Peach (Pagosa Springs, CO)
Other featured innovations are Strange Brewing Company’s Cherry Kriek (Denver, CO), Wasatch Brewery’s Apricot Hefeweizen (Park City, UT), and Melvin Brewing’s Chchchch-Cherry Bomb (Jackson, WY). And the list goes on. While peaches, cherries, and apricots are commonly used, you can also find beer embracing mango, pineapple, grapefruit, coconut, and vanilla.
For home and commercial brewers, sourcing pure and natural ingredients is paramount. These additives would include high-quality taste and odor molecules, such as from Advanced Biotech.
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