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
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
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
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
A delicious and desirable honey beer that drinks like a fine, warming Belgian golden ale.
Tsingtao Brewing Co. Alcohol Free Lager
94 points
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
Malty and hoppy refreshing beverage that tastes like beer
Awards: 2022 Best Non Alcoholic Beer
93 points $13.50 Best Buy
Damm Brewery Daura Märzen Double Malt Gluten Free
93 points
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
A decadent holiday flavored Ale that delivers delicious dessert-like flavors in balanced, not-too-sweet package.
Awards: 2022 World Beer Championships Gold Medal - Best Herb Spice Beer
Ghostfish Brewing Company Ghostfish Kick Step Gluten Free IPA
92 points
Fresh fruity hops and chewy finish make this a knock out gluten free Pale Ale that delivers all the body and American hops you want.
Awards: 2022 World Beer Championships Gold Medal - Best Gluten Free Ale
Pagosa Brewing Company Great Pumpkin Specialty Ale
92 points
A great English Brown Ale accented by warm seasonal flavors.
Awards: 2022 World Beer Championships Gold Medal - Best Specialty Ale