When it comes to summer seasonal beers, adding fruit to the brewing process often yields delicious results–and the perfect taste of the season. Here are 9 fruit beers in BC worth checking out this summer.
Richmond’s quirky Fuggles & Warlock turned right to the ripe berries grown nearby for their current fruit beer offering. The Last Strawberry is a Belgian Wit accented with gorgeous ripe undertones of fresh BC strawberries at their peak. A little floral, a little tangy, and a little honeyed, The Last Strawberry was a refreshing surprise from this brewer.
Available: Richmond tasting room; liquor stores in BC.
Raspberry has become the new staple summer beer flavour in Vancouver, thanks in no small part to how emblematic of summer sweetness our locally-grown raspberries are. For their first foray into raspberry-accented brews, Postmark’s aptly named Raspberry errs on the mellow side of the red-pink berry.
Available: At Postmark’s Settlement Building boutique and private liquor stores
True, this one is kind of basic, but it’s still a quaffable brew perfect for hot summer days. Someone passed a cold SunSetter to me on a recent lazy weekend afternoon soaking up some rays, and the mild flavour with a hint of peachy sweetness was the perfect way to cool off while chilling out.
Available: Pubs/restaurants; liquor stores in BC.
One of two fruit-ed beers from North Vancouver’s Bridge brewing on offer this summer, the Lemon Gin Saison is an affable meld of spicy, funky, and mellow with a hint of sweet. It’s brewed with juniper berries, lemon peel, coriander, and pink peppercorns (hence the gin-like herbal/spice notes) and fermented with French Saison Yeast.
Available: At the brewery; various retailers in Metro Vancouver
It seemed like last summer the Radler was the “it” drink. Marrying beer with a citrus juice–quite often grapefruit–the beer beverage owes its heritage to both the Shandy (beer plus mixer) and the German word for cyclist. For 2016, Vancouver’s Parallel 49’s Tricycle Radler melds the sweet pucker of Meyer Lemon with their Lager, and the result is like a supercharged lemonade shandy, with a pleasing sweet-tart finish.
Available: Select liquor stores across BC and at Parallel 49 Brewing Company’s tasting room in cans or on draught.
Penticton’s Cannery has Drupaceous Apricot Wheat Ale as their summer seasonal, and they take a light touch with the addition of apricots after fermentation. The result is a Canadian Wheat Ale with a delicate apricot finish (best experienced by a little lip smacking after a swig, to be honest–that fuzzy apricot taste and feel pops right then). If you’re looking for big fruit flavours, move on to something else. If you need just a kiss of summer stone fruit, here’s your beer.
Available: Penticton tap room; BC Government Liquor Stores, BC Private Liquor Stores
For big fruit flavour in a big, bubbly brew, Big Rock’s Cherrazza delivers in a big way. The unmistakable blend of cherry and raspberry punctuates this Belgian fruit ale, melding sweet and sour with a noticeable fizziness. Bonus: It’s a dark pink colour, so you really get the full “I’m drinking a fruit beer!” experience.
Available: In limited supply at the beer store at Big Rock Urban
Brewing in Alberta and BC, Big Rock turned to another Canadian classic taste for one of their current fruit beers. Purple Gas takes Saskatoon berries and pairs them with honey and an Albertan wheat ale for a very un-sweet take on the genre.
Available: BCL locations (in the Big Rock Variety Pack); private liquor stores in 6-packs and Variety Pack
Aldedrgrove’s Dead Frog has Tropic Vice, a session ale, that is a dream come true for fruit beer lovers. Big fruit flavour without veering into too-sweet territory, this golden ale is punched up with mango and passionfruit. It reminded me of one of those fruit cups I’d get in my lunchbox…but swapping the cloying sweetness of the syrup for a very grown up and refreshing ale.
Available: Aldergrove tap room; liquor stores in Vancouver/Fraser Valley
Not a fruit beer, but beer enhanced after brewing with refreshing fruit flavours, Ascot Beer Cocktail Co. is the work of barman Nick Devine with Main Street Brewing, and their two current bottled flavours are wonderfully refreshing sippers. Just chill and add ice. (A third flavour, Dark ‘n’ Stormy, is coming soon.)
Available: At Main Street Brewing, both in the Tasting Room and Retail Store