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?
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.
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.
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.
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.