Distilled: Fruit brews are everywhere
Fruit-flavored alcoholic beers and beverages- mostly shandies, wheat beers and Hefeweizens- are everywhere. I'm guessing it's partly because it's summer, but it's also because the drink has become trendy. These brews seem to appeal to the drinking public, so here's a rundown of a few fruit-fashioned summer seasonals readily available.
Since radlers, a 3.2 ABV shandy with equal amount of a Hefeweizen and a citrus syrup/juice/soda - grapefruit is currently popular - are inescapable these days, I chose Schöfferhofer Grapefruit. I've never been a huge fan of radlers - other than as a cocktail ingredient - but I thought maybe Schöfferhofer could be the outlier.
Nope. This is a standard radler; very sweet and mildly citrusy. It reminds me of the San Pellegrino Pompelmo (Grapefruit), not a beer.
I had higher expectations for UFO's Big Squeeze Shandy because it's more beer than alcoholic soda (like radlers), and the UFO White is an enjoyable summer beer. While the Big Squeeze was better than Schöfferhofer Grapefruit, it was still too sweet. It did have a fairly strong citrus bite though, which created some balance. If you're in the mood for grapefruit, go with UFO - it was my favorite of these five.
I also sampled brews that didn't have grapefruit, Fat Head's Bumble Berry (blueberry and honey), Lost Coast's Tangerine Wheat and Ithaca's Apricot Wheat, with varied success.
It wasn't the best of the bunch, but the Tangerine Wheat was acceptable. It was (again) sweeter than I prefer but it had a well-executed recipe that let the fruit accent the beer - not the other way around.
The best of this trio was Bumble Berry, while the Apricot Wheat was only slightly better than the radler. Both were again too sweet - and if honey turns you off, Bumble Berry is out - but Fat Head's fruit brew wasn't overpowered by it. The Apricot was interesting at first sip, saccharine after.
Final countdown: UFO Big Squeeze, Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat, Fat Head's Bumble Berry (a close third), Ithaca Apricot Wheat and Schöfferhofer Grapefruit. The first three are recommended if you're into fruit beers or just curious, but don't have too high of hopes. The other two …