Is there a citrus surplus? If you've been in a grocery store lately, you've probably noticed that everybody from Full Sail to New Belgium is rolling out six-packs of new citrus-spiked IPAs. I trace the trend to Ballast Point, the San Diego craft brewery recently acquired for a billion dollars on the strength of labels like Grapefruit Sculpin.
Now, Widmer is trying to get a piece of the action. Portland's largest brewery, which is partly owned by Anheuser-Busch, has the fifth-bestselling IPA in the state, Upheaval, but rather than try a citrus-spiked IPA, it's fruited up its Hefe.
It's not a new thing: 20 years ago, Widmer had a beer called Widberry, a black-raspberry riff on Hefe. In 2015, it rolled out a Hefe Shandy; now, it's Hopfruit, a grapefruit version.
It doesn't work. There's more hop than fruit, and the pleasant softness of the original wheat beer is lost, the bitter grapefruit coming through mostly as peel. Not recommended.