With the recent explosion of fruit-forward beers, I thought it would be appropriate to collect as many as I could find and hunker down with my beer tasting squad to see which of these new releases are worth spending your hard earned cash on. We tasted each beer and give each a simple ranking: 5 points for fruit flavor and 5 points for overall taste – a total of 10 points. Here are the results:
Editor’s Note: None of us claim to be beer or fruit beer experts in any way, we’re just huge fans of local craft beer. Also we may have had a few drinks prior to these tastings.
5. Watermelon Dorado Double IPA
Ballast Point – San Diego, CA (10% ABV)
Our Watermelon Dorado Double IPA is not one to back down from big flavors. Mash, kettle, and dry hopping blend to create a huge hop profile that is balanced with a blast of watermelon. The result is a refreshing brew that is all summer and no seeds. (via Ballast Point)
Dina: First of all it’s no fucking double IPA. And second of all: ew. I can’t drink this. It tastes like a watermelon runt – which I don’t even know if that exists. It smells like a rotten watermelon. 3/10
Braden: I gave it a 5 on fruit. It’s probably like one of the most fruity things that we had. It tastes like bubblegum fruit. Overall 0. It’s just not that good. I mean I’ll drink it cause I’ll drink anything but. 5/10
Emily: It’s like so sweet and like not in a good way I don’t think. It’s also very artificial which I think is the problem. I bet the problem [breweries] run into is that fruit [in beers] can be so hard to detect. They probably had to make it [super] artificial so you could even detect it. But I just think that this..it’s too fake. 0/10
Joey: I gave it a 1. It tastes like an old watermelon Jolly Rancher. I gave it a 1 overall. I can’t drink this dude. It’s a bummer too because I really wanted to like this. 2/10
Average Score: 2.5/10
Critics Consensus: While Dorado might be a decent double IPA on it’s own, Watermelon Dorado is too artificial and cloyingly sweet to be the refreshing summer beer we want it to be.
4. Orange Splash Lager
Anchor Brewing – San Francisco, CA (5.2% ABV)
Combining aromas of orange citrus and hoppy notes with a moderate malt bill, Giants Orange Splash Lager boasts a perfect balance of flavor. The finish is crisp and refreshing, complemented by the lingering bitterness from hops and zest. (via Anchor Brewing)
Dina: I didn’t care for it I don’t really taste “orange” to be honest with you. I rated the fruit at a 2.8 and the overall flavor at a 3.2. I expected it to be lighter and splashier, as says the name: Orange Splash. I enjoy the can. The can is cute. It’s adorbs. 6/10
Braden: It’s a little dry, it’s definitely not fruity. I don’t know whoever said it was fruity. I gave it a 2 for fruit and a 4 overall. I thought it was actually still pretty good. I could drink this. 6/10
Emily: I also gave the fruit element a 2. I didn’t really get orange from this I don’t think. Overall I gave it a 2. I think it smells weird. Overall I’m not a fan. 4/10
Joey: I gave it a 2 for fruit as well. I was not getting any orangeyness. Maybe if I drank it in a different glass? Also I like the taste of the beer, but it felt a little heavy? I don’t know if I wanna drink more than one of these. I wrote also it doesn’t taste like a [traditional] lager. I gave it a 3 overall. 5/10
Average Score: 5.25/10
Critics Consensus: This beer ranked low on our list not because it tasted bad (it didn’t), but more because we were craving more orange flavor. Absolutely worth having one (or two) with a hot dog at a Giants game.
3. Mango Even Keel Session IPA
Ballast Point – San Diego, CA (3.8% ABV)
Our Mango Even Keel is the ideal beer for easy drinking. This hoppy, session ale gets a flavor boost from mango, which perfectly plays off the citrusy hop bouquet. With fruit, hops, and a low ABV, this beer truly is on another level. (via Ballast Point)
Dina: I gave the fruit a 4, and the only reason it’s not higher is actually I taste more vanilla than mango – do you get that? I’m unclear why but it’s like a sherbet-y kind of? I don’t know. Overall I fuckin love this I think it’s a 4.5 and I wrote “it works for me”. It’s enjoyable and almost dessert-y! 9.5/10
Braden: It’s incredibly enjoyable, if only it had more alcohol (Editor’s Note: I won’t be telling Braden the ABV prior to the tastings again). You can kind of taste that it’s not incredibly strong. Um. There’s a lot of other flavors going on. I gave it a 4 for fruit and 4 for overall. It could almost be a 5 for overall cause it’s really fucking tasty. 8/10
Emily: To go along with Braden’s comment (“you can tell it’s not that high alcohol content”), like I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. Even though it’s only like 4-point-whatever [ABV] I don’t feel like I’m missing the extra I don’t know. I feel like I could definitely drink this. The other two [Orange Splash and Mango Wheat] I don’t think I would like drink more than one. For mango I gave it a 4.5 cause even when I first smelled it I was like MANGO like right away. Overall I gave it a 4.5. I could drink this. 9/10
Joey: For me, I did not like this beer. Really weird that you guys were all about it. I gave it a 2 for flavor. I thought it tasted like stale candy and I did not like how artificial it tasted. It was like, “Hey this is what mango Now And Later would taste like!” not like actual mango. You know what I mean? I wrote “yikes”. I gave it a 3 overall. It’s a little too intense for me. 5/10
Average Score: 6.3/10
Critics Consensus: It may not be for everyone, but those who liked Mango Even Keel REALLY liked it.
2. Pineapple Sculpin IPA
Ballast Point – San Diego, CA (7% ABV)
Our Pineapple Sculpin IPA came from one of many small-batch cask experiments to enhance the flavor of our signature IPA. With so many tropical hop notes in Sculpin, how could we not try adding some sweet, juicy pineapple? The combination of fruity flavors and hop intensity definitely packs a punch. (via Ballast Point)
Dina: I gave the pineapple flavor a 4.1 because when I sipped it I was like “wow that is a real pineapple flavor”. Like if you were to squeeze a real thing of pineapple into a beer it would taste like that. But overall I gave it a 3.7 – I thought it was a little bland and…I kinda just don’t want it to be honest with you. I don’t really care for it. It’s no Mr. Pineapple. 7.8/10
Braden: Fruit: 4. Overall 5. I really enjoyed it actually. It was a little fruity, but it still had the alcoholic punch that I do so enjoy. 9/10
Emily: I gave the fruit a 3. I think it reminds me of like canned pineapple a little bit. I think that’s more of the vibe I get.Overall I gave it a 3. I liked it, didn’t love it. And I didn’t hate it. 6/10
Joey: I gave it a 1 for pineapple. I feel like I’m not trying to be hypercritical or whatever. I WANT to like this beer. Dude, I’m just not getting any pineapple flavor. I don’t know maybe my NOSE isn’t working right or whatever I’m just not getting that. Like, Mr. Pineapple I’ve had – it’s a beer from Arizona and it’s like imagine Hell or High Watermelon but with pineapple. It tastes like pineapple juice when you’re drinking it. This does not. This tastes like a citrusy Sculpin. I gave it a 3 overall. 4/10
Average Score: 6.7/10
Critics Consensus: Not as fruit-forward as some of the other beers on this list, but overall it’s a solid choice. If you like Sculpin, you’ll probably like this too.
— The Day Drinker (@daydrinkerblog) April 7, 2016
1. Mango Wheat
Anchor Brewing – San Francisco, CA (4.5% ABV)
Anchor’s Mango Wheat is crisply refreshing, effervescent, golden ale that highlights the delectable character of this singular fruit: Brightness without sharpness, fullness of flavor without heaviness, tropical aroma without pungency, and complexity without cacophony. (via Anchor Brewing)
Dina: Sun-ripened mango indeed. I would give this a 4.3 for fruit accuracy. It was wheaty with a sun-drenched goodness. I enjoyed it. Overall I gave it a 4.5 (later changed to 3.9 for sourness). I t was like walking through the fields and I think this one was a lot splashier than the last one. 8.2/10
Braden: Drinking this I could defintely picture myself taking a 6-pack (or more) of these cans to the beach. For fruit I gave it a 3 – it didn’t totally capture the essence of a mango. Overall, it was pretty good I gave it a 4.7/10
Emily: For fruity element I gave it a 4. I was getting that mango vibe. Overall I gave it a 3 I think it was a little too sour to drink a ton of it personally. I also think I need to eat this cracker. 7/10
Joey: I gave a 4 for fruit flavor. I was way more fruity than [Orange Splash] and didn’t feel very heavy so I gave it a 4 overall. It was light. It was crisp. It was refreshing and it was unexpected. So I liked this one. 8/10
Average Score: 7.55/10
Critics Consensus: Anchor’s Mango Wheat far exceeded everyone’s expectations and is everything you could possibly want in a summer beer. Do yourself a favor and pick up some this weekend.