My friend and Brewing Up Cocktails collaborator Ezra Johnson-Greenough has teamed up with the recently opened Burnside Brewing to organize a new festival devoted to fruit beers. While I like an occasional fruit beer as much as the next guy, I’ll admit that the idea of an entire festival devoted to them seemed a little overboard. However last weekend I got to preview some of the beers on tap and they’ve won me over. The participating brewers have created a strong line-up that avoids the sickly sweet connotations of many fruit beers, using ingredients in subtle ways to complement a wide variety of styles. There will be 31 different beers available throughout the fest; here are three that stood out for me:
Hopworks Chupacabra Chili — Do chili peppers count as fruit? By the strict botanical definition, yes, and I give props to Hopworks for playing that card to sneak a savory beer into the festival. Ben Love infused their Seven Grain Stout with six different kinds of chilis. Most of the chili beers I’ve tried have been lagers or pale ales, but the stout works surprisingly well.
Fort George Badda Boom Stout — A rich stout flavored with cherries and raspberries. Cherry is one of those flavors that can completely dominate a drink if you’re not careful, but Fort George pulled this one off perfectly. I get more flavor the raspberries in this beer. It’s deep and complex, with a good combination of roast and dark fruit.
Upright Brewing Barrel-Aged Pure Wit with Orange and Tangelo Peel — It’s no surprise that Upright shows up once again in my list of favorites. This barrel-aged version of their Pure Wit with extra citrus peel is a delicious summer beer.
The festival runs 11-9 this Saturday and 11-6 on Sunday, outside at Burnside Brewing. Complete details here.