Summer is a time for stone fruit, and the flavors of peaches, apricots and plums find a natural harmony in beer. Craft brewers exploit this kinship in many ways, from using the fresh fruit in the beers to finding hop varietals that mirror the flavors, so fans have many options for slaking their cravings.
Peaches, nectarines and apricots are relatively common ingredients for brewers looking to fruitify their brews, and Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery has a delightfully tart take on the traditional Berliner Weisse style. Festina Peche is a summer seasonal beer that is extremely light and refreshing with a great peach-skin mustiness that’s balanced by the brew’s acidity.
Local start-up Highland Park Brewery is also making a Berliner Weisse with peaches and nectarines from Masumoto Family Farms fruit. The beer, Lazy Susan, is finishing a secondary fermentation and should be released in a few weeks (brewer Bob Kunz is hoping to bottle much of the batch for release in September as well).
Hangar 24’s annual apricot brew, Polycot, should also be available any day now. The amped-up wheat beer is loaded with apricots from high-desert farms.
Almanac Beer Co. is a Bay Area-based brewery that has a series of “Farmers Reserve” sour ales that feature fruit beers aged in wine barrels, and you should be able to find bottles of their Pluot edition released in March. A month prior they also released a Farmer’s Reserve Peche that featured peaches and was aged in brandy barrels.
Finding beers brewed with plums is a bit more difficult, but you might still find a bottle of Sierra Nevada Brewing’s collaboration with the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux, Ovila Abbey Quad. The dark Belgian-style beer is made with plums, and the fruit’s sweetness matches the classic “dark fruit” character that the Belgian strong dark beers are known for.
While a glass of beer might not be a replacement for biting into a fresh, juicy peach, it may help soothe your cravings for the summer fruits.