Weekend Drinking Assignment: This Beer's A Peach!

There is nothing like the abundance of ripe stone fruits that flood farmers markets and grocery stores during July and August. Now that we're in the dog days, you really want something to cool you off. Everyone knows how well peaches lend themselves to pies and other baked goods, but personally I think they're better in beer.

Finding the perfect fruit for a beer is difficult because we tend to classify fruits as either tart or sweet. Peach falls right in the middle with a perfect balance of both. You'll see that reflected in many of the brews I've hand-picked for you to try, but there are a couple that take the flavor to the extreme, either as massively mouth-puckering with a little sweetness or vice versa. However you like your fuzzy fruit, one sip of these brews will make you a firm believer in peach beers. The flavors are all there, it's just a lot less messy.

  1. Logsdon Farmhouse Ales: Peche 'n Brett

The field of farmhouse ales gets more crowded by the minute, but David Logsdon, founder of Odell, OR's Wyeast Labs, has perfected the style. This saison is brewed with peach juice, but most of the fruity flavors and acidity is naturally echoed by the brettanomyces yeast. Open a bottle now for a slightly tart and tropical flavor, or age one for an even funkier sour experience.

  • Cisco Brewers: Peschish Woods
  • Nantucket is best known as a lazy summer haven for New Englanders. Thanks to Cisco, it's quickly become home to one of the best sour producing locations on the East Coast. Peschish Woods is probably the best of their sour Woods series. This ale is aged in oak barrels and the end result is lots of sour peach, citrus sweetness and oak in both the flavor and aroma.

  • Dogfish Head Brewing Company: Festina Pêche
  • This is a beer I return to every summer because it's so damn refreshing. As the name suggests, this Berliner Weisse is brewed with peach concentrate, but it's got a champagne-like effervescence and tartness that really stands out. To be clear, it's tart without being sour, so take a flyer on this 4.5% ABV summer sessionable even if tart/sour's not your style of choice. It's also by far the most readily available on the list, so if you have trouble finding any of the others, know Festina Pêche is out there just waiting for you.

  • Odell Brewing Company: Tree Shaker Imperial Peach IPA
  • This massively fruity Double IPA from Odell's Cellar series is brewed with more than 3,000 pounds of puréed Colorado peaches per batch. It's a sweeter beer with peach and citrus flavors front and center. The yeast is tasty and sweet, reminiscent of a Belgian, while the hops are present but not assertive, surprising for a Double IPA. This may be a fruity beer, but at 9.7%, it's got pits.

  • Perennial Artisan Ales: Peach Berliner Weisse
  • Perennial has amped up many of their brews in the past year, especially with regards to head brewer Cory King's Side Project releases. This Berliner, brewed with Midwestern peaches, is restrained on the funk but big on refreshing, all-natural peach flavor. This might come in a 750-mL bottle, but at an equally refreshing 4.1% you could easily take one to the dome.

  • O'Fallon Brewery: Wheach
  • Sometimes you just want the taste of peaches without the extreme tilt of sour or sweetness, so crack open a bottle of peach wheat beer from Missouri-based O'Fallon. You'll taste juicy, ripe peaches and spice from the wheat but what makes this beer great is its overall drinkability. Althought not technically a session ale at 5.1%, I could still see myself taking down a few of these on a hot day.

  • Brouwerij Lindemans: Lindemans Pêche
  • Lindemans gets a lot of unnecessary flack from beer geeks because their fruited "lambics" are all so sweet. My rebuttal: why does everything need to be so sour? There are so many sour fruit beers, (you'll find some great ones on this list, for instance) but this is a fantastic entry point into the Belgian lambic tradition that even those new to craft beer can enjoy. This tiny 2.5% beer has lots of Belgian yeast, peach and citrus flavors and it's a great summer treat.

  • Epic Brewing Company: Brainless on Peaches
  • Though Salt Lake City might bring to mind a more reserved lifestyle, Epic holds nothing back with this 10.7% Belgian style ale with peaches. After the base brew is finished, the brewers age it in French Chardonnay casks from Idaho's Sawtooth Winery. This version of Brainless isn't as sour as others, but is still very fruity with flavors of peach, smooth white grape and spice.

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