10 Great California Fruit (and Vegetable) Beers

Top 10 California

Food GPS beer editor Sean Inman chooses 10 great California beers by style.

One of the most creative brewing areas is the fruit/vegetable beer.  When the craft beer revolution first started, these beers were the intro to small-batch, micro-brewed beers for early converts to craft beer.  I distinctly remember the pleasure of Thomas Kemper’s Weizen-Berry (sadly now lost). Now, our beery palates have evolved and throwing a berry into a wheat beer will not suffice.  You can currently find beers with all sorts of squashes and pretty much any fruit you can think of, and I am not even counting the herbs that you can find in beers.  [Maybe that will be a whole separate list!]

As with the other lists in this series, this is a survey of beers brewed in California.  There is no #1 and no #10.  Just ten California fruit and vegetable beers that will give you a greater appreciation of what our bountiful agricultural state can produce.

Hangar 24 Craft Brewing Polycot – Apricot

I have actually pitted the apricots for Polycot!  Box after box of the fruit was put in front of me and you can taste it in the final product.

Almanac Beer Company Dogpatch Sour – Cherries

San Francisco area brewer, Almanac, has used fennel in a Bier de Mars, chocolate, and their beer named after a southeastern SF neighborhood utilizes cherries, which is a traditional fruit for sours.

21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon – Watermelon

I first encountered this beer at the Oregon Brewer’s Festival and loved it.  You almost expect a crunch of watermelon when you drink it.

Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin – Peppers

Most pepper beers, especially of the IPA stripe, lose the bitterness with the entrance of peppers.  But this variant of the once uber-popular and still great San Diego hop bomb really melds the two separate flavors together.

Eel River Brewing Acai Berry Wheat – Acai

I don’t think many people actually know what Acai is. It is the berry from a certain species of palm tree.  You see it in healthy juice drinks but I much prefer it in beer.

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Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

Blog Comments

Thanks for including the 21st Amendment Watermelon beer. I first had it about 10 years ago and fell in love. Only had it one other time (live in Michigan) but still dream about that perfect balance of fruit and beer.

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