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fruited beer

When I lived in Portland, OR, a local brewpub made transcendental raspberry wheat beer. Another place I really liked did a black cherry stout. So when I moved to my new town, in the peak of the summer heat last year, I called my local brewpub and asked if they did anything similar. I was told that "Our brewers don't make fruit beer!". Well then!

Is fruited beer always analogized to wine coolers, or what?

I live in the number 1 raspberry producing county in the country (or so the local publicity says). Would a raspberry wheat beer be a do-able first brewing project?

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  1. If you're not committed to locally-produced stuff, there are a number of good fruit beers you might be able to find. Drei Fonteinen, from Belgium, makes a great kriek with Belgian sour cherries.

    If you're really wanting to brew your own, that's probably not the 1st beer to start with. Usually, homebrewers start with very basic extract-based recipes, possibly with steeped grains. Fruit beers are more advanced, and harder to make well. Even experienced brewers can have trouble with them.

    1. There are a few craft breweries, Kuhnhenn and New Glarus come to mind, who are producing extraordinarily complex beers with raspberries.

      For every one of them, however, there are 10 breweries making alco-pop style fruit beers, so the general public (and many craft breweries, for that matter) have no idea of the possibilities for the style.

      1. That would be Whatcom County, wouldn't it? I'm not surprised that the old Dutch farmers up there have little interest in fruit beers and lambics. Luckily, Pyramid is doing an apricot weizen. Might find that at Safeway, just don't try the one in Lynden on Sunday.

        1 Reply
        1. re: nanette

          Yep, I'm in Whatcom. We have scads of berries here and even some cherries. And I don't go to Lynden on Sundays :o)

          I would kill to learn how to make lambic... I am NOT a fan of Boundary Bay Brewery.

        2. This is somewhat of a controversial issue among beer purists. There's a strong backlash against the "Miller Chill" type beers which taste artificial, like soda. Maybe that's why fruit/vegetable beers seem to get discriminated against. I think it's prejudice, because there's a time and a place for any beer, in my opinion. If you like the taste, then drink it.
          It reminds me of the difference between Belgian and German beers. If you could go back to the 16th century, I imagine you'd find many Germans with the same attitudes toward fruit beer.

          1. taste and judge your seif. i've had acoupla decent fruits from atlantic brewery, a peach and a ginger ales. ship yard's raspberry was awful and i dislike all maine blueberry ales, but ejoy that belgian monk's cherry ale. i'm usually a purist, but i try any thing once except lite beer. i have an old british recipe that puts a dead chicken in the wort.
            my vicodan is kickin' in, gotta sleep.

            1. I think that making a raspberry wheat would be a very do-able project. Some friends of mine recently got into brewing their own beer and one of their first projects was actually a raspberry wheat. I know they had a little trouble with it (because it is definately harder than you standard brewing projects), but is was very worth it. We don't even live in a state where you can find really fresh raspberries, and people still ask them to make it again! I think that if that is what you are missing at your local breweries, then that should be what you make (you'll be much more committed to making an excellent product). Good luck!

              1. If you really like Fruit style beers, you'd be hard pressed to find a better one than that of New Glarus Raspberry Tart or their Kriek Style beer, unfortunately they are only sold in Wisconsin and the Northern part of Illinois.. That's US, the Belgian beers like Liefmans and Lindemans are great examples of the style you prefer, you may check out online or to see if anyone close by may have those brands..Good Luck!!

                4 Replies
                1. re: madtowner

                  I haven't had the raspberry tart, but the Belgian red with cherries is absurdly sweet to me. I can handle maybe 4 oz. and I'm done.

                  1. re: Josh

                    It's definitely a desert style of beer, I've had it with cheese cake and tirimasu once, it's was pretty decent. I think you are right though, it's not much of a quaffer, just a sipper..

                    1. re: Josh

                      While the Belgian Red's sweetness is a bit much, I wouldn't want those who haven't tried it to come away thinking it is like a Lindeman's. It does have a tart side, that adds complexity, but I would agree that the sweetness limits its appeal.

                      On the other hand, the Raspberry Tart is an outstanding beer for those who like sour fruit beers.

                      1. re: brentk

                        Frank Boon lambics are well balanced and semi dry. Refreshing too.

                  2. Oxford Oganic Raspberry Wheat Unibroue Ephemere 3 fruit flavors
                    Kasteel Rouge cherry Sly Fox has a raspberry wheat
                    New Glarus fruit beers are superb

                    Google BURP,brewers united for real potables you will find much info about craft and
                    home brew ?ALE STREET NEWS? don't know,only look at it maybe once a year
                    or so.

                    1. You could probably get Abita Purple Haze where you are. Its a raspberry wheat beer that many love.Made from the natural springs of Louisiana. Also DogfishHead makes a Festina Peche. On the bottle it says "malt beverage brewed with peach concentrate". it's nice.