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Bartenders Share The Best Fruit-Forward Beers To Sip All Summer Long


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Summer is a great time to enjoy fresh fruit. There’s something nostalgic about savoring a nice slice of watermelon in the summer. Biting into that sweet, juicy, melon reminds us of the watermelon seed spitting contests of our youth. We never came close to winning, but we had a lot of sticky, sunburnt fun doing it. As adults, it’s increasingly hard to recreate the simple fun we had as children — the day to day stress and anxiety of “adulting” often gets in the way.

But there’s a subtle, simple way we can grab on to that fruit-forward summer nostalgia. Imbibing a fruit-based beer. Juicy as that fresh watermelon and just as refreshing.

Don’t worry, the fruit beers of 2019 aren’t cloyingly sweet, wine-cooler-esque sugar bombs sure to make our teeth ache. In fact, brewers all over the country (and beyond!) are crafting nuanced, subtly sweet, easy drinking summer beers we can all appreciate. Bartenders like jumping on the nostalgia bandwagon too. That’s why we asked them to tell us their favorite fruit beers to drink all summer long.

Rahrs and Sons Paleta de Mango

Shane DeForest, bar manager at the SPOT in San Marcos, Texas

My favorite fruit beer would have to be Paleta de Mango, from Rahr and Sons. It’s not too fruity and not too sweet. This is not a run-of-the-mill novelty beer, you can easily knock down a few.

Then, put some Tajin on the rim: game changer.

Founders Rubaeus

Matt McPeak, head bartender at Vandyke Bed & Beverage in Nashville

We have Founders Rubaeus raspberry ale at Vandyke and I can’t seem to stop drinking it. It’s this happy medium between a light pale ale and a cider. It absolutely crushes on a hot day. And it pairs well with a shot of fernet which is always a bonus.

Anderson Valley Framboise Rose Gose

Cameron Shaw, head bartender at The Lookup in New York City

The Framboise Rose Gose from Anderson Valley Brewing is my go-to if I’m looking for fruit beer. It’s just the right amount of fruity (definitely present, but not sweet), tart, and bright. Plus, who doesn’t love a gorgeous pink pour?

New Glarus Strawberry Rhubarb

Chris Heinrich, lead bartender at Tre Rivali in Milwaukee

My absolute favorite fruit beer is New Glarus Strawberry Rhubarb. Game changer. Between its bright, almost-green, tart acidity and this lush, strawberry juiciness, I previously did not know a beer could be this refreshing. You can’t purchase this outside of Wisconsin. So if you happen to know anybody passing through, please beg them to bring you home a case of this seasonal delight.

21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon

Nikki McCutcheon, beverage director at Moxy Time Square in New York City

I’m a big fan of 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon, it’s so refreshing and isn’t overly sweet. Perfect for the summer season!

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA

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Sam Garcia, head bartender at Boleo Rooftop in Chicago

Favorite fruit beer? Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA is just an overall great summer beer. It has strong citrus flavors of grapefruit and orange, but no fruit was actually used—it comes from the citra and mosaic hops, which is wild.

Stiegl Radler

Daniel Condliffe, bartender at JSix in San Diego

Stiegl radler. A low ABV (2.8 percent) grapefruit soda basically. Great to add a pour of liquor to (mezcal/gin) or the perfect shower beer.

Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin

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Grapefruit Sculpin IPA, a fantastic citrus twist on Ballast Point Brewing Company’s renowned flagship IPA. At 7% ABV Grapefruit Sculpin pours a slightly hazy bright golden-orange colour with low carbonation and a 1+ finger bubbly white head, receding to a frothy ring and leaving lots of lacing. Plenty of grapefruit on the nose but definitely not one-dimensional. Pine and floral hop resin from the start, with a deeper, sweeter aroma of orange juice, honey, and grainy malt. Similar flavour, with the grainy malt and honeyed sweetness starting things off before hops quickly take over. Grapefruit, orange peel, and apricot through the middle into a slowly rising pine and earthy resin bitterness. The hop bitterness and grapefruit flavour linger into the aftertaste with some light grainy balance. A nice lightly tart orange juice flavour is left on the lips. Moderate weight and carbonation. Overall another awesome Sculpin from Ballast Point; loads of hop and citrus flavour with the addition of grapefruit complementing rather than taking over. Very easy-drinking and refreshing. I’m definitely glad I got my hands on this one and I hope to find more Ballast Point brews here in Ontario soon!• • • #ballastpoint #ballastpointbrewing #ballastpointsculpin #sculpin #grapefruitsculpin #ipa #americanipa #grapefruit #californiacraftbeer #craftbeer #craftnotcrap #craftbeerreview #beer #cerveza #bier #beertography #instabeer #beerstagram #beerpic #beerreview #beerreviews #untappd #beeradvocate #beergeek #instagram #instagood #beersofinstagram #beercommunity #beeroftheday #picoftheday @ballastpointbrewing 2019.21

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Andres Padilla, head bartender at 312 Chicago in Chicago

Favorite fruit beer? Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin is my favorite right now. It’s refreshing and citrus-forward, which it makes it easy to drink on a summer day.

Anderson Valley Briney Melon Gose

Josh Cameron, head bartender at Boulton & Watt in New York City

If I’m going to drink a fruit beer, I am going to drink a fruit beer and go for it all the way. None of this essence aroma nonsense. I’m diving into the cooler and pulling out Anderson Valley’s Briney Melon Gose. Strong, solid, absolute citrus, and a strange bear with antlers on the can. Where is Anderson Valley anyway?

Leinenkugel Summer Shandy

James Lee, director of F&B at The Graham Georgetown in Washington, DC

What’s my favorite fruit beer and why? It has to be Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. Beer with lemonade flavor added. Very refreshing for hot summer days.

Artifex Unicorn Juice

Casey Lyons, bartender at Pacific Hideaway in Huntington Beach, California

I love Artifex Brewing Co.’s Unicorn Juice. Finally, a beer that is aptly named for the crowd who wants such a beer. Light notes of Passionfruit Sweetness dance around the glass as you pour one. It’s not the rock candy bomb of Blue Moon or Shocktop — perfectly balanced and palatable without an overwhelming fruit flavor.

Montauk Watermelon Session

Lauren Swan-Potras, Head Bartender at Roof at Park South in New York City

When I want a fruit beer, I will usually go with something that hints at fruit flavor. I think Montauk Brewing Watermelon Session has just enough juicy fruit notes to where I keep going back for another sip. The fact that it’s sessionable and has a lower abv makes it perfect for summer days on the beach or at the park.

Brouwerij Verhaeghe Barbe Ruby

Daniel King, Beverage Director of Liberty Common in Nashville

Brouwerij Verhaeghe in Belgium makes a beer called Barbe Ruby. It is a tart cherry beer but not a sour or kriek so the flavor is purely cherry. The carbonation is always bright and fresh. It’s so refreshing that it’s a bit more like drinking a cherry soda than a beer.

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