Fruit and field beers are a rare specialty craft beer type. Fruit beers are made by adding fruit extracts or actual fruit during any part of the brewing process, infusing the beer with noticeable fruit qualities. Field beers, on the other hand, are made by adding vegetables and herbs during brewing.
Many drinkers hear fruit or field beers and assume that the beer will have an overpowering fruity or vegetable-like taste, but this is often not the case. The fruit and vegetable flavors typically don’t completely overpower the hop character for both beer types, despite being intense at times. Tangy, sweet, or sour acidity is typical in most fruit beers, and the flavors vary depending on the fruit. Vegetable beers may have an earthy flavor and are crisp or light, variable in color and flavor.
Field and Fruit Beer’s Origins
For fruit beers, there is no reliable lineage in brewing history, unlike several other beer styles. However, a study published in the National Academy of Sciences gives 9000-year-old evidence of fruit beer’s existence in a Neolithic Chinese village. The villagers created a beverage of rice, honey, grapes, and hawthorn fruit. The Belgians are credited with creating a new lineage of fruit beer brewing around 1930, most popularly the Lambic. They have been copied by several other brewers globally to this day.
Although vegetable beers’ brewing history isn’t defined, pumpkin ale, perhaps the most common field beer type, originated in America around 1771. Buffalo’s Bill Brewery made the first commercially brewed Pumpkin ale in the 1980s.
How to Enjoy Your Fruit and Field Beers
Because these craft beers are somewhat rare and usually finish sweeter than regular beers, it is best to enjoy your fruit and field beers on their own to notice the distinct fruit, vegetable, or spice flavor. However, you can complement them with a platter of creamy cheeses, some fresh fruit, salads, and even some vanilla ice cream as a treat.