Fruity IPA – Our In-Depth Guide to These Zingy Brews

Fruity IPA, a delicious and refreshing craft beer, has emerged as the latest buzzword in the craft beer world.

IPA, or India Pale Ale, is a style of beer that is characterized by strong hop bitterness, a moderate to high alcohol content, and fruity notes from the American hops used.

Fruit IPAs are a variation of this style that are brewed with a variety of fresh fruit ingredients, such as blood oranges, lemons, and pineapples, to create a unique flavor profile

Fruity IPAs have become increasingly popular over the past few years, and it’s easy to see why. They offer beer lovers a unique and flavorful alternative to traditional IPAs.

Fruity IPAs are typically lighter in color and body, with a slightly sweet and tart finish. The fruity character tends to stand out more prominently than in a traditional IPA, giving the beer a unique flavor profile.

A hoppy beer, Fruity IPAs are often brewed with a variety of hops to create an intense flavor profile. These hops can range from citrusy, tropical, and piney to floral and herbal.

The hop bitterness is usually balanced out by the sweetness and flavors of fruit, creating a refreshing and enjoyable beer.

In addition to their unique flavor profile, Fruit IPAs are also a great way to enjoy craft beer without the bitterness associated with traditional IPAs.

The flavors of fruit help to balance out the bitterness, making the beer more approachable for those who may not enjoy IPAs.

Our favorite Fruit IPAs are also a great choice for those who want to experiment with different fruit flavors. With a variety of common fruits available, brewers can create a unique beer that appeals to a range of beer drinkers.

Are Most IPA Beers Fruity?

green apple and orange fruits on brown woven baskets
Photo by Odd Fellow on Unsplash

Yes – American IPAs especially.

The bold-flavored American hops, such as Citra, Centennial, Chinook, or Cascade, often used in the brewing of an American IPA not only offer the assertive bitterness preferred by many craft beer drinkers but also lend the beer flavors of pine, citrus, and tropical fruits.

A British IPA will tend to be maltier, caramel-like, or even have a bready flavor with European hops offering more bitterness than sweetness, although they will often have floral aromas.

Many IPAs such as Deschutes Brewery Fresh Squeezed already have a strong citrus taste or fruit character without the need for any actual fruit in the beer. This is due to the use of copious amounts of Citra & Strata hops.

There is an extensive dry-hopping process in many IPAs, such as Sierra Nevadas Torpedo family of IPAs, using hops such as Colombus, Chinook, Simcoe, and Citra, which are all intensely bitter and aromatic with notes of grapefruit and a distinct taste of bright citrus.

However, some brewers will add either whole, fresh fruit flesh or fruit purees and fruit juices to the brewing process as a way to enhance the flavor of the beer and give it a more fruity taste.

The most popular fruits added to IPAs are citrus fruits such as either grapefruit or fresh orange, which accentuate the citrus character of the hops used in this beer style, or more exotic fruits such as pineapple or mango to build on the tropical character of some hops.

Is a Hazy IPA Fruity?

glass of beer
Photo by Jan Gunnar Nygård on Unsplash

Hazy IPAs are a recent variation of the IPA which has become very popular over the last few years, especially on the East Coast where they are known as New England IPAs (NEIPA).

The main difference between a Hazy (NEIPA) and an IPA is the level of clarity of the beer.

A typical IPA will be crystal clear, while Hazy IPAs will be cloudy or even opaque. The complex process of brewing a hazy IPA, and the European ale yeast used, add haze-inducing proteins to the beer.

Many people think of a Hazy IPA as being creamier or smoother than a traditional IPA with more of a fruity flavor than a West Coast IPA and a more subtle bitterness.

Just like traditional IPAs, some brewers also add fruit after fermentation for more of a fruit beer.

To further complicate matters there is also the beer style known as a Juicy IPA.

Again a hazy and fruity beer, this style of IPA is brewed with a high proportion of wheat and will usually feature a higher dose of late-addition hops. The hoppy bitterness of the beer is balanced with the characteristic juicy, fruity flavors

Our Top Rated Fruit IPAs

Stone Tangerine Express Hazy IPA by Stone Brewing, San Diego

  • ABV 6.7% IBUs 57

Stone already make some of our favorite IPAs, which are hop-forward beers with amazing fruity and floral aromas from the abundance of hops they use.

For Tangerine Express they have used a sterling selection of Magnum, Centennial, Citra Mosaic, Sterling, Simcoe, Cascade, and Azacca as well as adding some fresh tangerine and pineapple puree for a strong fruit flavor.

The result is a light golden beer, a very drinkable 6.7% ABV, with a slight haze. The bright and fresh fruit aromas of the high-end pineapple and tangerine puree combine perfectly with the citrus and tropical aromas from the hops.

The mouth-watering, juicy, lush fruit character makes this an ideal IPA for sipping in the days of summer, but the brewery co-founder was adamant the beer should be in the year-round lineup of Stone’s portfolio.

Note: Stone also produces a fruity Tropical Heat Edition of their infamous Ruination IPA, but as a draft-only special release.

Spotted occasionally at craft-brew meccas with a large number of taps, this version of Ruination has habanero chilies added, in addition to fresh mango puree.

Although your average beer drinker may be wary of the habanero addition, the heat actually balances perfectly with the fruitiness of the mango and the citrus hop flavors, almost enough to hide the 7.7% ABV.

Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty Lo-Cal IPA by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Delaware

  • ABV 4.0% IBUs 30

Slightly Mighty is the number one best-selling Lo-Cal IPA in the country and is proof that beers that are low in calories or carbs don’t need to be low on flavor too.

The secret to this beer, which has a mighty hop character yet only 95 calories, comes from an ancient Chinese delicacy – the monk fruit.

Although it is sweeter than sugar per ounce, monk fruit contains no calories. The monk fruit serves to amplify the body and the complexity of the beer.

Instead of a formidable malt bill found in most IPAs which balance hoppy bitterness with a malty sweetness, the monk fruit acts as the backbone of the beer for those mighty hop muscles and flavors to build on.

The result is a delicious hazy gold fruit cocktail of a beer that delivers tropical fruit notes of pineapple, coconut, and mango along with the citrus of the aromatic hops which makes it ever so drinkable.

Brewed with locally grown barley, Slightly Mighty has a crisp dry finish with a refreshing hop profile and, at only 4% ABV, it is very sessionable.

Again a year-round beer that is now widely distributed nationwide.

Galaxy White IPA by Anchorage Brewery, Alaska

  • ABV 7% IBUs Undisclosed

Just a few years ago, an American craft brewer using a funky yeast like the wild yeast Brettanomyces was unheard of. This Belgian-style IPA also uses tart kumquats, coriander, and peppercorns and is aged in huge oak barrels.

With all those complexities going on it’s easy to forget this is actually an IPA, a showcase for the huge amount of Galaxy hops that have been added.

Although the grassy coriander and peppercorns shine through in the taste, the dominant flavor is of the wild yeast and kumquats used in the brewing process.

The taste is juicy but dry with a peppery bitterness cutting through the tart kumquats and is strangely refreshing. A hazy beer, its aroma is spicy from the hops with coriander and lemongrass notes.

The fact that it’s a 7% ABV brew will definitely surprise most casual drinkers as it’s actually really drinkable, especially when aged for a year or two like most Belgian beers.

Triple Mango IPA by Tröeggs Brewing Company, Pennsylvania

  • ABV 11.3% IBUs 125

The only triple IPA on our list of examples of fruit IPAs, Tröeggs Triple Mango clocks in at a super strong ABV of 11.3% with a staggering level of bitterness at 125 IBUs.

This beer is absolutely loaded with hops, but don’t let those figures put you off – the end result is definitely worth trying.

Tröeggs is well-known for its hop-forward IPAs, which have flavors of passion fruit, grapefruit, and other exotic citrus fruits through the choice of hops they use, but Triple Mango enhances that cocktail of citrus and tropical flavors by adding fresh mango to the brew.

Although there is a mountain of hops in this beer, the final taste is actually quite sweet coming from the cane sugar, the mangoes, of course, and the malty caramel backbone.

And, despite the fruity taste, remember it is a strong beer – although it’s readily available in six-packs, that doesn’t mean you have to drink six.

Homefront IPA by Cigar City Brewing, Florida

  • ABV 6.6%. IBUs 65

Originally conceived by a former MLB pitcher who went on to co-found the Center of the Universe Brewing Company and Freemont Brewing in Seattle, the brewing honors for Homefront IPA have now transferred to Cigar City Brewing in Tampa.

It joins a portfolio of hop-forward IPAs which includes the popular Jai Alai, one of the top-selling cans of hoppy IPA in the nation.

One of the quirkiest concepts I’ve ever come across in craft brewing, Homefront IPA is aged over donated Louisville baseball bats after being brewed with fresh oranges.

The resulting beer, as you would expect, bursts with citrus and pine flavors. With a moderate ABV and IBU level, it’s a very refreshing and ever-so-drinkable beer.

Even cooler than that, proceeds from the sale of this beer go to the charity Operation Homefront which supports the families of wounded soldiers.

Cigar City has definitely hit a home run with this beer!

Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin by Ballast Point Brewing Point, California

  • ABV 7 % IBUs 70

Sculpin IPA is an award-winning IPA from Ballast Point Brewing which has proved so popular that they now produce a whole range of Sculpin IPAs including the original IPA, a Hazy Sculpin, an Alhoa Sculpin Hazy IPA, and their latest addition, Grapefruit Sculpin.

The Grapefruit Sculpin adds a fresh squeeze of tangy bitter Grapefruit to their signature IPA with the tart freshness of the Grapefruit perfectly complimenting the citrussy characteristics of the hops.

One of my favorite flavors in many IPAs is a hint of grapefruit, so enhancing a brew with even more grapefruit isn’t going to get any complaints from me (or many other hopheads, to be honest!).

Many put the success of the Sculpin IPAs down to the hopping at 5 stages of the brewing process, and this provides a perfect venue for the extra bitterness blast from the added Grapefruit.

Available all year round, if you like extra bitter and sharp IPAs keep an eye out for this fruity version in your local craft beer hangout.

Positive Latitude Passion Fruit Imperial IPA by Odell Brewing Company, Colorado

  • ABV 8.0 %. IBUs 49

Another Imperial IPA, but this time only a Double IPA rather than Triple, Odell has been experimenting with fruity IPAs for some years now.

Their first fruity IPA used over 3000 pounds of fresh Colorado peaches in each batch of beer, they have also, more recently, made a Tangerine Imperial IPA, and their latest version adds fresh passion fruit puree to the brew.

This Double IPA is loaded to the max with passion fruit and juicy hops that amplify the tropical notes of the beer. It even uses a special yeast strain to give it an extra juicy flavor.

Although the hops are definitely present in the beer, they are not quite as forceful as you might expect from a Double IPA.

Pouring the beer, you will notice a bright golden hue, much lighter than your traditional IPA, and you will detect a fruity and floral aroma.

The perfect beer for the upcoming spring and summer months, although it is a limited release, so should you spot this beer on your travels, buy it immediately so you don’t miss out!

Easy Weekend Lo-Cal Hazy IPA by Anchor Brewing Company, California

  • ABV 3.7%. IBUs 28

We finish our list of fruity, fruit-added IPAs with a session IPA from craft brewing legends, Anchor Brewing, which is also another low-cal IPA at just 99 cals per serving.

Adding fruit seems to be a popular way of boosting the flavor and aromas of the modern type of light or low-cal beers using only natural ingredients. These don’t add to the calories or carb count of the beer too significantly.

Easy Weekend by Anchor is packed with the natural peach flavors from the added peach puree, and also has delicate notes of apricot.

Brewed using red wheat ale and 2-row malt, it has a complex malt background that balances with the hops for a low to moderate bitterness suitable for a session IPA.

It pours with a hazy but bright golden hue perfectly suited for those summer days and lazy or “easy” weekends.

Final Thoughts on Fruity IPAs

Whether you’re a fan of traditional IPAs or just looking for something new and exciting, Fruit IPAs are worth a try.

With so many different flavors and styles available, there’s sure to be a Fruit IPA out there that’s perfect for you. So grab a glass, sit back, and enjoy the refreshing and fruity flavors of a Fruit IPA.

This blog is reader-supported. Posts may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.