You’ve probably squeezed many a lime or lemon slice into the mouth of a beer bottle, or at least seen others do it. That little twist of fruit adds a nice touch to a refreshing brew-especially in the summertime. Luckily many brewers these days are infusing fruit flavors into their beers in a produce-aisle range of offerings.
Fruit can balance otherwise heavy beers or add extra freshness and flavor to the lighter styles. Fruits have been added to beer for centuries, especially with Belgian lambic styles, which commonly add cherries (kriek), peach (peche) and raspberries (framboise) to the brew, and recently new variations such as currant (cassis). Lindemans Framboise is thought to be the category leader when it comes to fruity lambic brews.
Many brewers have gone the Belgian route to offer some refreshing options. Some of these are seasonal brews and others are available year-round. You’ll find raspberry or peach wheat beer, blueberry ale, and cherry lager-and it doesn’t get more summery than Fruli Strawberry Beer, a Belgian wheat beer infused with the sweetness of the berry.
Both ales and lagers are made with fruit, and the body, color, hop character and strength depend on the type of fruit used. Like their Belgian counterparts, American fruit beers tend to be created from a wheat beer base. Malt flavor is typically hidden with a low hop bitterness to allow the fruit to come through.
So the next time you try to put a whole strawberry, blueberry or banana into your beer bottle, remember that the experts have probably already done it for you.