Brewers use wheat ales and lagers as base beers, since they are generally lightly hopped, and malted or unmalted wheat in the grain bill can allow the sometimes delicate fruit essences to show through more desirably than with 100 percent barley malt. Brewers may also use pale Belgian styles, or, at the other end of the color spectrum, porters and stouts as the bases for their fruit-flavored beers.
Fruit character ranges from mild to intense, and brewers can select from a long list of fruits for their desired beer flavor. Popular fruits include cherries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, apricots, peaches and pomegranates. Beers with fruits associated with herbs and/or spices, such as juniper berry and elderberry, may be classified in the Herbed/ Spiced Beer style. Porters and stouts may be classified as their base beer style rather than as a Fruit Beer, depending on the balance of flavors.
Characteristics: Fruity, grains, light- to medium-bodied
Wheat beer base
ABV range: 4 – 6.5% IBU: 10-30
Popular Wheat-beer-based Fruit Beer brands: Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat, Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier, Abita Purple Haze, 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer, Epic Brewing Brainless on Peaches, Laughing Dog Huckleberry Cream Ale, Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss, Sea Dog Blueberry Wheat Ale, Long Trail Blackbeary Wheat, Harpoon UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen, Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat, Samuel Smith’s Organic Strawberry Fruit Beer
Belgian, porter, stout, other base
ABV range: 6.5 – 10+% IBU: Varies by base beer
Popular Belgian-, Porter-, Stout- or other-based Fruit Beer brands: Dogfish Head Black & Blue, Kasteel Rouge
Serving Temperature: Cool, 46-54°
Cheese Pairing Ideas: Soft mild cheeses, including Chèvre, Mozzarella
Food Pairing Ideas: Salads, seafood and pork