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Tim Bissell Tim Bissell
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The Three Pint Stance (04-27)

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As the craft beer map continues to expand and brewers around the world are trying new ingredients and styles. Session beer, shandy, gose and chili stout have all had their moment in the sun; now, it appears that the summer of 2016 will belong to the fruit beer.

Being the home of Sea Dog Brewing Company and its Bluepaw Blueberry Wheat Ale, fruit beer is nothing new to us Mainers. Around the country, many breweries are experimenting with new and exciting fruit/beer style combinations.

One brewer in particular - Ballast Point from San Diego - is releasing many fruited variants of their regular beer lineup. A couple of the real standouts are the Pineapple and Grapefruit versions of their Sculpin IPA.

The Grapefruit adds a great depth to the citrus character of the hops and leads to an even more refreshing hop experience. The Pineapple variant takes a different approach, balancing some of the hop bite with the softer, more tropical pineapple.

Another Ballast Point offering worth mentioning is the Mango Even Keel, a mango infused version of the Even Keel session pale ale. At 3.8 percent ABV, this is a very flavorful session beer that is light in alcohol but big on floral hops and peppery mango flavor.

But the west coast breweries aren't the only ones getting into the fruit game. Samuel Adams, in the latest in their ever-expanding Rebel IPA series, has introduced Rebel Grapefruit IPA. They've taken a multi-faceted approach to introducing the grapefruit flavor by using both the peel and the juice of the grapefruit.

Adding fruit to beer might be in right now, but it is a practice that goes back as far as the late 1800s, when Belgian Lambic breweries started adding cherries to their lambic to create Kriek lambic, a sour, spontaneously fermented beer that has a fantastic cherry flavor. After a few years of making Kriek, Lambic producers got their hands on some raspberries and the popular Framboise Lambic came into existence. If you haven't had any sour beers but are intrigued by fruit beer, a kriek or framboise lambic is a great place to start your adventure into the wild world of sour beer.

What's in my glass?

Brewery: Harpoon Brewing Company (Boston, MA/Windsor, VT)

Beer: Camp Wannamango

ABV: 5%

IBY: 22

Having produced a number of fruit infused versions of their UFO Hefeweizen series, Harpoon is no stranger to fruit beer, but Camp Wannamango marks their first foray into using the tropical mango in a beer. Camp Wannamango is floral and bright and incorporates the peppery mango flavor perfectly. The mango is present, forward but not overpowering. To call back to last week's column, Camp Wannamango would be a 100% perfect yard work beer.


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