A Fruit Too Exotic?
A well-worn story in the Yaeger household concerned Papa Yaeger not liking pomegranate. It wasn’t so much that he didn’t like the fruit but that, growing up in New York, he’d simply never heard of it since it wasn’t available back there back then. Today there are dozens of craft beers that feature this biblical fruit.
As fruit beers become more and more accepted among consumers and a playground among producers, are brewers employing rare fruits because of the new and desirable flavors they offer or simply because, hey, no one’s ever done that?
Lauren Salazar is a Sensory Specialist at New Belgium responsible for their Lips of Faith Tart Lychee. A bartender at a sushi restaurant asked if she’d like a lychee martini and she said,“I had no idea what he was talking about.” But of course ordered one for that reason. What she received was, in her words, a “gorgeous martini with two of the ugliest things floating around in my glass.” Lychees look like eyeballs. The result of her blending efforts, however, have yielded one of the most beautiful sour beers.
Nowadays you can find a beer made with Acai—regarded for its antioxidants but likely never seen fresh in this country since they’re so rare and wouldn’t make the trip from the Amazon. And I wrote a story in AAB that included Tart Lychee wherein I got to revisit a favorite example of this trend—Dogfish Head’s Arctic Cloudberry Imperial Wheat featuring such a rare fruit that, not only have diplomatic wars been fought over it, it is naturally difficult to source from the Arctic Circle. Incidentally, they’d never even tasted cloudberries before brewing with them.
Anecdotally, at a bbq over the weekend, one of the beers I supplied was BridgePort’s Summer Squeeze with yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit I’d never heard of before. It was the first sixer to disappear and has me on a mad hunt to find fresh yuzu. One fruit I got to try in New Zealand is feijoa, also known as pineapple guava because it looks like a guava and has a marked pineapple taste. If some crafty brewer is able to procure these and brew with them, please let me know.