Fruity beers and ciders are on trend this June – Isthmus

It is a truth universally acknowledged that summer brings radlers. New Glarus Brewing Company recently released a bigger, bolder take on the grapefruit-beer concoction. “I wanted to do something crazy, totally different from what we do with our other fruit beers,” says brewmaster Dan Carey. 

When Dan Carey says he’s going crazy, that alone is reason to take notice. His take on the style, called Imperial Radler, is made with grapefruit, tangerine and guava juices. Imperial Radler is crisp and full of tropical fruitiness. Some might think of it as akin to a mimosa, or a beer-mimosa.

Yet what stands out is that it’s made with six kinds of hops. Hops are not what one thinks of in a radler. The hops include Comet, Amarillo, Chinook, Bravo, and two from New Zealand — one of which is so new and experimental, it has only a number and not a name. They create a bold blend of bitterness that works surprisingly well with the upfront fruitiness. 

It’s also big for a radler, finishing at 8.5% ABV (hence the “imperial.” distinction). Radlers are light, bubbly and refreshing, and are often served in Germany as beer to enjoy before, after or even during cycling. This version’s high ABV makes it hard for me to fully grasp that it’s a radler. Drink this one ice cold to discern the full range of what is going on. It’s sold in 12-ounce cans ($11-$13/four-pack). 

Summer at Hop Haus Brewing Company brings a new fruited wheat ale. Brewmaster Phil Hoechst is planning a mid-June release of Wheat Wave, an American wheat made with guava and mango. It features Elani hops, known for tropical notes of pineapple, peach and orange. “We wanted to offer a lower ABV beer with a tropical vibe, a beer you can drink on the beach or boating,” says Hoechst. The beer finishes at just 4.8% ABV with 12 IBUs. It will be available in 12-ounce cans ($10-$12/six-pack).

More fruitiness is coming our way from Duluth. Wild State Cider is now distributing in our area, to the delight of its growing fan base. The cidery has made a name for itself by offering many types of ciders in its taproom. Currently available in 12-ounce cans in Madison are classic dry, juicy pear, and imperial hazy honeycrisp ($12-$15/four-pack). You can also find a 12-can variety pack with the dry, pear and raspberry hibiscus ($20-$22). I’m partial to the level of sweetness and thicker body of the imperial hazy. If you enjoy crisp or sharp ciders, then go with the classic dry. 

Another new beer for June, this one on the malty side, is Doom Drawer Daydreams from Young Blood Brewing. This is a smooth Scottish style wee heavy with hints of caramel and breadiness. Doom Drawer Daydreams clocks in at a modest 6.5% ABV ($12-$15/four-packs). 

And congratulations to the Lone Girl Brewing Company for winning a bronze medal in the recent 2024 World Beer Cup competition. From my standpoint it is about time that John Russell’s Towhead, a Belgian blonde, received such well-earned recognition. Watch for that beer to return to the Waunakee brewpub’s taps and in cans very soon ($7/glass and $10/four-pack).

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