Are you tasting the pith? Because this summer British brewers are picking, peeling, zesting and juicing countless fruits to add into their brews. No, I’m not taking the piss; cold fruit beers are the hot trend right now. You shouldn’t expect syrupy-sweet novelty beers, as the best of these use fruit to give a delicious freshness and add to the already fruity flavours in the beers. Here are eight great British fruit beers to look out for, just know that many are limited release, so drink them while you can.
Almost overnight citrus-infused IPAs have become a thing. As brewers continue to try to get the fruitiest, most citrusy and tropical aromas and flavours into their IPAs, an obvious solution is to just add actual fruit into it. Sure, it might sound like its cheating, but the Citrus IPA has developed into a genuine style of its own where the best zing with zesty hops, all amplified by the citrus fruit. Fourpure’s Juicebox is brewed with orange peel and it’s aptly named for all of its tangy, tropical, juicy aromas, an orange freshness, and a bitter depth of pineapple, mango and mandarin. The ‘tallboy’ 500ml cans also recall (to me at least) lazy, hazy evenings spent drinking beer as the sun goes down. Only now the beer in those cans isn’t warm, flat lager, it’s bright, lively IPA.
Camden Town Brewery Strawberry Hells Forever
This beer started with two double-decker buses and a lot of empty wicker baskets. In June 2016, 150 green-fingered (and soon to be red-fingered) brewery workers and friends arrived at Cammas Hall Farm in Essex and collectively picked 300 kilograms of the sweetest strawberries. These where hurried back to the North London brewery, blitzed and added into a fresh batch of Camden’s lager, additionally brewed with some wheat to give a smooth creaminess plus some fragrant American hops. The result is a blush lager that’s a glass of tart and tasty berries, a smooth biscuit base and a subtle, summery strawberry finish.
BrewDog Elvis Juice
Every time I have an Elvis Juice I laugh to myself at how gloriously grapefruity it is. It’s ridiculously zesty and like a glass of fresh squeezed grapefruit, which is like a can of Ting for grown-ups – and it’s such fun to drink. It works so well as it’s brewed with a great balance of bitter, pithy hops and the tangy, zingy grapefruit, ensuring a gulping drinkability for its 6.5% ABV. This one is made year-round so you’ll find it more frequently than the others.
Northern Monk Mango Lassi Heathen IPA
Another big beery trend right now is for IPAs to be brewed with very low bitterness, low malt flavour, incredibly aromatic tropical hops and to be left with a thick haze in the beer, something not dissimilar to fruit juice. A fine example of this new style of IPA is Northern Monk’s Heathen. Stepping it up, they’ve made a Mango Lassi version of the beer which adds loads of fresh mango to give a smooth, creamy base, a touch of fleshy fruit then a long, juicy finish that’s remarkably drinkable. It comes in a ‘360°’ can with a lid that completely comes off, turning the can into a cup.
Magic Rock Shredder
Smash, bang, wallop… whatever your drinking verb of choice, Shredder is a massively boshable brew. It’s a wheat beer made with mandarin juice, lemon peel, curacao orange and coriander seed and the fruit in it is simple and lush without overpowering. The base brew is appropriately smooth for a wheat beer, there’s a tangy-zesty quality, some floral coriander and a peppery spice to keep it refreshing. This is a great food beer, especially with Thai or Vietnamese.
With their Phantom range of fruit-infused sour beers, Beavertown are making some of the most interesting and thirst-quenching drinks – just approach them as if you’ve got a cocktail rather than a traditional beer. Look out for Dame Melba Phantom, brewed with peaches and raspberries, or there’s one brewed with pineapple. All the Phantom beers start with a light wheat beer and get their tart, refreshing acidity from lactobacillus (the kind of bacteria you might find in natural yogurt) before the fruits are added for extra flavour. There’s also Yuzilla, made with yuzu juice and dried lime, and it’s based on the style Gose, which also contains some salt to make it extra appetising (but not actually salty).
Mad Hatter Tzatziki Sour
This is something a little different… As a warning, the whole time you’re drinking this you’ll be thinking ‘what the hell is this’ and before you figure it out your glass will inexplicably be empty. You can’t escape the cucumbers, the fragrantly spicy mint, the yogurty tang (Greek yogurt is actually used in the process and it gives the beer’s acidity) and hint of savouriness, but when you’re drinking a beer based on tzatziki you’d be disappointed if it wasn’t tzatziki-like, right? It’s unusual and brilliant. Have it with grilled lamb chops or just a pitta on the side.
Summer Wine Mauna Kea
Think Um Bongo. Think about the kind of cocktail that gets served in a hollowed-out pineapple. And think about what the words ‘Hawaiian IPA’ conjures in your mind’s tastebuds. Mauna Kea is brewed with pineapple, passion fruit, mango, coconut and lychee and it’s a tropical smoothie of a brew that retains all of the qualities you want from an IPA and then gives you all the fresh fruit as a juicy bonus. It’s another one of those beers that can’t fail to make you smile – and that’s what these kinds of beers are all about.
The thing I like most about these new fruit beers is how they are good fun while also representing great brewing skills to make sure they don’t become just novelty, flavoured beers. And yes, you can definitely taste the pith.