Favorite Fruits for Each Season
Traditionally there are certain fruits that would be used in beer depending on the season. This would have come from the harvest season for each fruit. For most of history this would have been the only time that each specific fruit would have been available. Now, with global trade available and products such as Aseptic Fruit Puree, many fruits can be used year round. That being said, the type of fruit being used during each season is often determined by seasonal beer styles as well as personal preference.
Summer is almost over. But I find myself drinking lime in my light lagers to beat the heat. Citrus fruits and lager go well together. Just remember that Citrus tends to be stronger in flavor and lighter lager styles are more delicate. You may need to use less Aseptic Fruit Puree for this combination. Wheat beers also pick up in the summers. This is another style where citrus does well. But, watermelon, pink guava, or prickly pear are wonderful choices for wheat beers. And if you want to compliment the yeast, using banana Aseptic Fruit Puree in your next hefeweizen is wonderful.
IPAs and Pale Ales are year-round beers in most peoples opinion, but I find myself drinking them more this time of year. In classic American IPAs and Pale Ales, citrus fruits such as blood orange and tangerine play well with the citrus and pine hops. More modern hop varieties from all around the world are giving off more flavors of tropical fruits. Utilizing mango, passionfruit, or even curuba (banana passionfruit), can add dimension to the wonderful hop notes.
More traditionally, this time of year brings out the amber ales, brown ales, and Belgian styles. Adding a bit of citrus to Belgian styles compliments the spice characteristics often associated with the yeast. And no one is going to argue that adding banana Aseptic Fruit Puree in your famous chocolate banana bread brown ale wasn’t the best idea you’ve ever had.
Winter is a time for darker beers. And darker beers means darker fruits. Cherry, plums, and blackberries are great for this time of year. Any brewery that’s been around awhile has had a Chocolate Cherry Stout on tap at some point. Darker beer styles using already have dark fruit flavors coming from the darker malts used. If you’ve ever noticed notes of plum, raisin, fig coming from a beer, then you know what I mean. Play off of those flavors. Compliment the malt bill with fruits in the same. That said, although certain fruits may compliment the style, using it may not be effective. For example, strawberries are not as intense in flavor as many of the other fruits listed here. Using just strawberry Aseptic Fruit Puree in a rich stout may not be effective. The flavors would get lost very easily.
Spring is the time that I start to crave more sour styles. Passionfruit Gose anyone? Although most people will have there own preferences, I have found that due to the acidity in beer styles like the gose or Berliner Weisse, pretty much every fruit pairs well here. And with more smoothie and pastry style sours out there. Go wild! Saisons are often a great spring beer too. The go-to fruits I find most often are blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Gooseberries are a wonderful addition to a lighter saison. A very subtle use of plums or cherries also work great in this style. And if you really want to get wild, a strawberry basil saison will blow your mind.
Choosing your beer styles for each season will help determine what fruits to use each season. Having availability of almost any fruit all year round with products like Aseptic Fruit Puree is a big advantage nowadays. At the end of the day, it comes down to the preference of the brewer. Just because I think a Lemon and Lime Imperial Stout at the height of summer does not sound appetizing, doesn’t mean it is wrong (It should be a crime though!). It is important to ask the question “why this fruit?” and “do these flavors compliment each other?”. If you have answers to those questions, then go for it. Do your research, and be creative.
Production Manager of Lock 27 Brewing