The best fruit beers whisper.
Instead of bellowing at drinkers with artificial flavors of pulp and pit, they are soft, complex beverages that invite you inward. Pfriem head brewer Gavin Lord was eating fresh nectarines and vanilla ice cream to finish off a quiet date night with his wife when the idea for the brewery's Nectarine Golden Ale tiptoed into his brain.
Inspired by the blend of sopping stonefruit and mellow vanillin, Lord sketched a beer that balanced from sweetness by gentle white grape tannin and fruity Brettanomyces bruxellensis. To manifest his idea, he put fresh Flavortop nectarines from a friend's orchard in Maryhill and a delicate Belgian golden ale for six months together in sauvignon blanc barrels from Napa, then allowed them to naturally carbonate to champagne-level sparkle.
A dry, oaken masterwork with a marshmallowy midpalate blend of fruit and yeasty funk, Nectarine Golden Ale blooms in front of you as it slowly rises in temperature. Initial sips reveal gentle hopping and the beer's more tart side, and shift into a beautiful liquid orchard of shimmering grape and pungent nectarine as the level lowers in your glass.
You can find it online or at the brewery in Hood River, and it's worth the effort—just last week, it won the World Beer Cup in the Belgian-style fruit beer category. Next time we see Lord, the ice cream is on us. Recommended.