About Fruit and Specialty Beers

The specialty beer category includes some of the more unique and individualized styles. Many of these beers either do not have a clearly defined style guideline or do not fit under the umbrella of another category. Smoked malts and wild yeasts can drastically alter any beer's flavor profile, adding another dimension and layer of complexity for a brewer. Steeped in centuries of brewing history, styles such as rauchbier and lambic continue to be some of the more revered and sought after beers for consumers. Both styles exhibit a flavor profile that may not be for everyone, yet have very clear and devoted followings.

This category also includes barrel and wood-aged beers. Although the bourbon barrel continues to be the most popular, brewers have pushed this category far beyond bourbon barrel aged stouts, experimenting by aging any style from pilsner to Belgian-style quad, in any barrel they can get their hands on. Fruit flavored beer is another anchor of this category. Whole fruit or fruit juice may be added at multiple points during the brewing process with varying impact on the final beer. Regardless of how fruit is utilized by the brewer, the resulting beer should always preserve a balance between the added fruit and base beer style. This category also includes a wide range of hybrid styles, beers brewed from specialty yeast and malts and gluten-free ales and lagers.

Top Picks for Fruit and Specialty Beers

Fremont Brewing Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star Imperial Oatmeal Stout
97 points
Ebony color. Aromas and flavors of grilled black bread, ganache, chocolate covered pecans, and hints of soy with a round, vibrant, finely carbonated, off-dry full body and a warming, complex, very long finish revealing suggestions of toasty waffle and white pepper. Great flavor integration and length; drink this.
Awards: 2022 World Beer Championships Platinum Medal - Best Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
Fremont Brewing 2021 Spice Wars Edition Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout
96 points
Ebony color. Aromas and flavors of artisan licorice, black tea, fine dark chocolate, candied ginger, lemon peel, cardamom, and bananas flambé with a velvety, lively, finely carbonated, off-dry medium-to-full body and a warming, elaborate, very long finish with notes of chocolate-covered espresso bean and raisin. A colossal, velvety Barrel Aged Imperial Stout for palate pampering.
Awards: 2022 World Beer Championships Gold Medal
Fremont Brewing 2020 B-Bomb Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Winter Ale
96 points
Dark brown color. Aromas and flavors of caramel, toasted panettone, dried figs, sticky date pudding, and hints of turmeric with a round, vibrant, finely carbonated, off-dry full body and a warming, elaborate, very long finish that shows touches of coconut. Finesse and elegance. Try this Wood Aged Ale with exceptional integration of oak and malt.
Awards: 2022 World Beer Championships Platinum Medal - Best Wood Aged Ale
Tarpon River Brewing Honey Love Honey Beer
95 points
Light gold color. Aromas and flavors of honeycomb on fresh biscuits, crisp apples, wildberry jam, and dried apricot with a round, vibrant, effervescent, fruity light-to-medium body and a silky, compelling, medium-length finish with suggestions of milk toast and candied orange peel finish. A delicious and desirable honey beer that drinks like a fine, warming Belgian golden ale.
Lady Brett Blackberry Lambicus Ale
94 points
Elsewhere Brewing Company 1039 Grant Street S.E. #B4 Atlanta, GA, 30315, USA www.elsewherebrewing.com josh@elsewherebrewing.com
Awards: 2022 World Beer Championships Gold Medal
Tsingtao Brewing Co. Alcohol Free Lager
94 points
Yellow straw color. Aromas of white corn and hints of herbs with a supple, bright, finely carbonated, dryish thin body and a seamless, brisk lemon-ginger tea and croissant finish. A rock-solid N/A Beer that delivers the crisp clean flavor of your favorite everyday lager.
Awards: 2022 World Beer Championships Gold Medal - Best Non Alcoholic Beer
Sobah Finger Lime Cerveza
93 points
Best Buy
Gold color. Aromas and flavors of green citrus aromas, perhaps amarillo hops, fresh bread dough, and banana bread and bruised apple with a silky, crisp, dry medium body and a sleek, interesting, medium-length finish that exhibits suggestions of honey malt, sunflower seed, and caramel. Malty and hoppy refreshing beverage that tastes like beer
93 points $13.50 Best Buy
Damm Brewery Daura Märzen Double Malt Gluten Free
93 points
Amber color. Aromas of toasted pineapple bread, hints of coconut, and seedy bread with a slightly chewy, crisp, effervescent, dryish medium body and a seamless, interesting, medium-length snappy rapini finish. An estery, chewy, full-flavored Gluten-Free Lager to be enjoyed by all, not just those avoiding gluten.
Eight & Sand Beer Company Somethin Pumpkin Spice Vanilla Cream Ale
92 points
Eight & Sand Beer Company 1003 N. Evergreen Ave Woodbury, NJ, 08096, USA https://www.eightandsandbeer.com/ jbkizitaff@eightandsandbeer.com
Awards: 2022 World Beer Championships Gold Medal - Best Herb Spice Beer
Ghostfish Brewing Company Ghostfish Kick Step Gluten Free IPA
92 points
Ghostfish Brewing Company 2942 1st. Ave S Seattle, WA, 98134, USA https://ghostfishbrewing.com aeron@ghostfishbrewing.com
Awards: 2022 World Beer Championships Gold Medal - Best Gluten Free Ale