A U.K.-based brewery called Jubel Beer recently released its first brew, a peach-infused lager called Alpine. Jubel’s founders claim Alpine fills a void in the market, saying beer is “too boring” (!) and cider is “too sweet.”
Well, we have news for you, Jubel. Peach beer is already popular among seasoned beer drinkers. Belgium’s Lindemans has been winning awards for Pecheresse, a sweet lambic with peach juice, since 1994. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery first released its summertime-friendly Festina Peche, a Berliner Weisse-style brew with peaches, in 2007. And U.K. cult brewer Beavertown has plenty of peachy keen beers, from its Peacher Man Peach and Apricot Wit to Dame Melba Phantom Peach and Raspberry Berliner Weisse.
Point is, beer is not boring, and peach is always welcome. Peach beers of varying styles are gaining traction stateside, from puckering sours to fruit-packed pale ales. VinePair gathered a bushel of peach beers and a panel of industry experts to pluck our favorites from the sack. After tasting dozens, we agreed on this 6-pack to bring to your next dinner party.
American Pale Ale
Lone Tree, Colo.
This pale ale brewed with ripened peaches, Northwest American hops, and Midwest pale malts is “lovely,” one taster noted. A candied peach aroma and soft, creamy body drew panelists in. The peach flavor, though less present on the palate than on the nose, is slightly “essence-like,” and gives way to an intensely bitter finish that wipes any perceivable sweetness clean. However, dank notes on the nose kept our curiosity piqued, and we couldn’t help but go for gulp after gulp. “It tastes like someone spiked a lager with peach essence,” one panelist said, pointing out its thirst-quenching ability.
This beer has an identity problem. It does not look, smell, or taste like a gose, the German style known for its salty, sour notes and soft, creamy texture. But, as one panelist summed up nicely: “It’s nothing that it says on the can, but forget that, because it’s a great beer.” Pale and clear with almost no head retention, Peach Dodo looks more like a cider or wine than a beer. Then, scents of “barn,” “yeast,” and “walking into a winery” further intrigued. Its fruity, tart flavor plays well with dry effervescence, reminding several tasters of a sparkling white wine. The fruit was present but barely perceptible. A slightly saline finish had us craving sip after sip — and saving a can for later.
Poncha Springs, Colo.
A New England IPA, a saison, and a kettle sour walk into a bar. The bar is inside of a juicy peach. This is how Acide, a sour saison brewed with peaches, kettle soured with lactobacillus, and dry-hopped with Amarillo and Tettnang hops, tastes. Cloudy yellow, bursting with citrus and peach aromas, and creamy on the palate, this beer tastes of “very real peach,” reminding one panelist of homemade peach-and-orange popsicles. Another found its tropical notes “a bit over the top, but not overpowering.” It all zipped up into a pleasant tartness that left a majority of tasters wanting more.
Off the bat, tasters appreciated this beer’s apricot-forward, yogurt-like tartness. “Like Greek yogurt with the fruit bits in it,” one taster said. Others found the peach notes “really fresh” and “authentic.” A pleasant, nutty finish reminded some of a piece of peach pie with a macadamia nut crust. “You can give that to anyone and they’d love it,” one panelist concluded.
Sour Pale Ale
Again and again, our panelists likened Allagash Farm to Face, a pale ale soured with “pediococcus, lactobacillus, and a whole lot of peaches” to natural wine. Its complex aroma at first was funky and bacterial, eventually opening up to its underlying fruit. Initially big on the sour (“whoa,” one taster noted, “that made my throat cramp up”), Farm to Face dissipates on the palate, revealing unripe white peach and, for one taster, brined corn. After another sip, our panel longed to pair this puckering peach beer with a semi-hard bland cheese.
Oak-Aged Wild Ale
“Peach perfection” is one way our panel described this oak-aged wild ale with peaches. Another was “a caress of tart peach with a brush of wood,” and another, “peach perfume in beer form.” What makes Crooked Stave’s Petite Sour Peach unique compared to other sour peach beers is its gentle embrace and oh-so-low ABV, making it complex yet approachable. Pricey compared to some of the others on this list, this may not be an everyday drinker, but it’s a perfect cheese course companion or, dare we say, liquid dessert.