The best fruity beers: taste tested

Drinks expert Mark Dredge shares his pick of the most deliciously fruity beers for 2024. These tropical ales have notes of papaya, lemon and grapefruit, to bring a welcome blast of sunshine into your life. Read on for Mark’s tried and tasted fruity beer picks…

The best fruity beers: taste tested

Fruity beers bring a blast of fun, tropical flavours to cheer up dull and dreary winter days. Think beers that smell like pineapple and passion fruit, juicy mango, creamy coconut, sweet papaya and guava, zesty lemon, orange and grapefruit – all the sunniest of fruit.

Most of these tropical beers have fruit added into them to give juicy and fresh flavours that complement the underlying beer styles. Often that’s a pale ale or  IPA, which already has a fruity aroma from the hops added, but the addition of fruit works in lightly sour beers too, while dark beer fans may also find coconut added to stouts.

The joy of these tropical beers is that they can leave you feeling like you’re drinking a piña colada in the sun with a colourful lei around your neck, even if you’re just sitting on the sofa, huddled up next to the radiator.

Did you know?

The aroma of many pale ales and IPAs reminds us of tropical and citrus fruit, and that’s because hop aromas come from essential oils in the hop plant, and the most common hop oils are also found in fruit such as mango, papaya, orange and lemon.

The best fruity beers

Kirkstall Brewery Judicious, England, 4.8%
This Leeds-brewed pale ale has a juicy infusion of grapefruit, passion fruit, stone fruit and a hint of creamy coconut alongside citrussy hops. Try with ginger marmalade cake. £2.75 for 440ml, available from Morrisons

Kirkstall Brewery Judicious

Boundary Brewing Imbongo, Northern Ireland, 5.5%
The pineapple, mango, orange and apricot aromas in this Belfast IPA all come from the hops only. Enjoy with mushroom larb. £48 for 12 x 440ml, available from Boundary Brewing;  £4 for 440ml, available from The Crafty Vintner

Boundary Brewing Imbongo

North Brewing Piñata, England, 4.5%
Mango and papaya are added to this vibrant pale ale from Leeds, with wonderful American hops adding even more tropical fruit and citrus aromas. Open for our spiced venison naan with pineapple salsa. £3.25 for 440ml, available from Morrisons and Asda

North Brewing Piñata

Siren Pompelmocello, England, 6%
If you like grapefruit juice, you’ll love this grapefruit sour IPA brewed in Berkshire. It zings with grapefruit and has a tongue-blasting jolt of acidity, with sweet lactose adding some smoothness. £3.25 for 440ml, available from Morrisons and Asda

Siren Pompelmocello

Vault City Cloudy Lemonade, Scotland, 4.2%
A glass of sunshine brewed in Edinburgh, this beer version of cloudy lemonade is a little sweet, then cheek-puckeringly tart with fresh lemon. Try with spinach and ricotta pancakes. £3.50 for 440ml, available from Vault City

Vault City Cloudy Lemonade

Discover all Mark’s tried-and-tasted beer recommendations.

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