Ask any publican in town and he or she will tell you that there are two kinds of beers that sell faster than any other: The hazys and the fruited beers. (Lagers have come back into vogue as well, and are also particularly popular during this time of year, but they can’t compete with hazy-anything and fruited-anything.)
I suspect that one of the greatest appeals of fruited beers is that the fruit tends to soften the other aspects of the brew (such as hop bitterness or kettle/barrel sourness) and also adds an additional level of aroma and flavor. In my opinion, the best fruited beers have just enough fruit to add a new dimension without overpowering the basic flavors of the beer. In other words, I always still want my beer to taste like beer.
Given the great popularity of fruited beers these days, I thought it would be nice to do a quick round up of lighter-style offerings that focus on crispness, cleanness, and refreshing flavors. Here are a handful of my favorites:
1. Notorious POG, Berliner Weisse with Passionfruit, Orange, and Guava (Stone): This beer has so many delicious things going on, it’s hard to recommend it just for summertime. Bright golden yellow and bursting with fresh guava aromas, this kettle sour expertly combines flavors of pineapple, guava, orange, and passionfruit in a surprisingly rich-bodied beer that remains crisp and refreshing, can after can.
2. Peach Cruiser IPA (Coronado): With an impressive nose of Mosaic hops, this low bitterness, light-bodied IPA is juicy, fruity, and nicely peachy with just the right balance of hops and fruit.
3. Landfall Pomegranate Berliner Weisse (32 North): Tropical aromas of fresh pomegranate waft from the glass, with satisfying top notes of pomegranate and wheat in the mouth. Light, crisp, and refreshingly tart, this is a beer to have by your side all summer long.
4. Even Keel Mango Session IPA (Ballast Point): Golden apricot in color, with fresh citrusy-hoppy aromas on the nose, the mango really comes through in the mouth, where it accentuates the tropical flavors of the hops. For a session beer, this offers nice body and provides the slightly bitter finish you expect from a more classic IPA.
5. Fruitlands Rose Gose (Modern Times): Apricot/pink in color with a big lemon nose, this tart, light bodied kettle sour is a symphony of cranberry, lemon, and cherry flavors with a subtle note of saline on the finish.
All these beers are widely distributed, mostly in cans, at major retailers around San Diego. Some are stocked at Vons, Trader Joe’s, and Ralph’s, and most can likely be found at the better specialty shops, such as Bottlecraft, Bine & Vine, Clem’s Bottle House, Holiday Wine Cellar, Best Damn Beer Shop, Keg N Bottle, and Distillers Outlet.