As summer time fast approaches and the weather gets hotter, fruit infused hoppy beers seem like the perfect idea. This is wildly optimistic, particularly when you consider that some of the Drinkmonger and Royal Mile Whiskies team were in snowy Speyside doing whisky research last week, but we live in hope.
Stewart Brewing & Beavertown Brewery
Stewart Brewing are one of our local breweries, brewing on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Since they upgraded their brewery a couple of years ago, they have been making more experimental beers, of which Hopricot (an apricot infused pale ale) is the latest.
Beavertown are a London based brewer, not far from our sister shop, Royal Mile Whiskies London (well, it would take you about 40 minutes, so not far in London). They are hugely popular, and their Bloody Ell (a Blood Orange infused IPA) sells very quickly every time there is a new batch.
What we are looking for in these fruit infused beers
Rather than being fruit dominant, like Sam Smith’s Strawberry beer for example, these two are hoppy beers with a dash of fruit. So the hops and malty notes should be prominent, with the fruit enhancing the fruitiness of the hops. Basically, the fruit shouldn’t be overpowering, and there should be enough bitterness to balance the sweet notes.
They are slightly different beers (an IPA versus a heavily hopped Pale Ale) but we decided to pitch them against each other, and see who won out.
Stewart Brewing Hopricot
Get it here for £3.35
Apricot zest notes, grapefruit, malty notes, sweet fleshy, more savoury fruit notes. The palate has balance, and the apricot is only a tiny dash on the overall flavour.
When we tasted it some people wanted more apricot, but for the most part, it was felt that this was well balanced with a nice suggestion of fruit.
This beer would be great to share over a cheese board, with the light apricot flavours complimenting creamy cheese.
Beavertown Bloody Ell
Get it here for £2.65
On the nose, orange sherbet notes, citrus and orange Club biscuits. The palate has lovely bitter notes, herbal notes, grapefruit, lychee, orange zest, lemon pith and good malty notes.
A more forceful fruit burst than the Hopricot, but the sheer impact of the hops balances this beer, and keeps it an IPA, rather than becoming a fruit beer.
A quick vote at Drinkmonger HQ went down to the wire, with only one vote in it. The winner was Bloody Ell. If you want more forceful notes, go for the Bloody Ell, but if you want a more subtle hop and fruit note, go for the Hopricot.