Best fruit beers: taste tested

Fruit beer is no modern gimmick. It’s a time-honoured, respected style – and if you’ve been avoiding it, the time is ripe to crack open a bottle.

There are many and varied styles, from fizzy mango concoctions to raspberry and beer radlers (think of this as a pre-mixed shandy). Get involved!

Best fruit beers: taste tested

Despite brewing with fruit being perhaps as old as beer itself, many drinkers regard fruit in beer as they do pineapple on pizza – just plain wrong. But things are changing – look at menus, fridges in your local beer shop or the shelves in the supermarket and there are so many beers being brewed with fruit. It’s one of the biggest trends in beer today, and I think it’s a good thing (but then I love pineapple on pizza).

There’s a long history of fruit being added to beer, either fresh or dried, and often to add a different flavour. The Belgians have become the most famous fruit beer brewers, with big wooden barrels of intentionally soured beer having cherries or raspberries added to give a wonderful sweetness.

That kind of beer is still popular, but we’re now seeing all kinds of fruit added to a whole rainbow of beer styles, and I like to think it’s making beer more welcoming. Craft beer can seem quite daunting, with a dizzying line-up of dozens of colourful cans, but see a beer with lemon, cherries or passion fruit and immediately it can seem more approachable and understandable. We get what that beer might taste like, and we’re intrigued.

Now there are citrussy IPAs with added grapefruit and tropical fruit, tangy sours with tart berries, cherries or mango, lagers and wheat beers with melon, berries or citrus fruit, and even dark beers with dark fruit or oranges (think chocolate orange!). It’s broadening the flavours we can find in beer, by adding new ingredients many of us love. Here are some of my favourites, cherry-picked for you.

Keep it natural

Fruit can be added to beer in many formats: whole, dried, fresh or frozen; juice, peels or zests; syrups or extracts and flavourings. Some can taste quite synthetic – the best tend to use natural flavours, which remain true to the fruit.

Brew York Juice Forsyth, England 5%

With pineapple, mango and passion fruit (and lactose), this York-brewed IPA is a tropical treat – great with Hawaiian pizza or a cheese toastie. Available from Sainsbury’s and Morrisons (£3 for 440ml).

Brew York

Titanic Brewery Plum Porter, England 4.9%

Brewed in Stoke-on-Trent, the smooth chocolatey porter combines with aromas of sweet plums and berries. Try with a ploughman’s or a light apple sponge cake. Available from Sainsbury’s (£1.85 for 500ml).

Plum porter

Vault City Triple Fruited Mango, Scotland 6.2%

This Edinburgh brew literally looks and tastes like a fizzy mango smoothie. A very thick pour of pure juice, it’s lightly tart and unlike any beer you’ve ever had before. Available from Tesco (£3.50 for 440ml).


Stiegl Radler Raspberry Himbeere, Austria 2.5%

This Austrian radler (a kind of shandy) is a 50/50 mix of lager and raspberry juice. It’s bright red, zingy, fresh and very refreshing at just 2.5% ABV. Available from Hop Burns & Black (£2.61 for 500ml).


Williams Brothers Brewing Co Rubus Grapefruit IPA, Scotland 5.5%

Tangy and zesty grapefruit perfectly compliments the citrussy hop flavours in this IPA from Alloa, and gives it a juicy finish. Try with citrus baked salmon. Available from Aldi (£1.79 for 440ml).


Find all my beer recommendations here.

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