The citrus-infused IPAs have been decades in the making, but now they're in every beer aisle. From California's Stone Enjoy By Tangerine IPA to Funky Buddha's More Moro Blood Orange IPA in Florida, there's likely a brewery near you tossing some sort of tart fruit into its fermentors. And at the very least, you've probably encountered Ballast Point's Grapefruit Sculpin, which adds a fruity twist to its award-winning Sculpin IPA.
Fruit beers are far from new, but where a pint of apricot wheat ale usually just tastes like apricot candy and toast, citrus IPAs use the fruit to complement the citrus-like hops in the beer. The basic allure is simple, more citrus in an already citrus-like beverage. For example, "grapefruit plays well with the citrusy, tropical hop profile of Sculpin," says Colby Chandler, Vice President, Specialty Brewer at Ballast Point. Grapefruit Sculpin, says Chandler, grew out of the San Diego brewery's experimental cask beer program in the tasting room. "We got great feedback from those first initial casks, so we decided to keep making more."
Some, however, might argue that imbuing a world-class IPA like Ballast Point's Sculpin with fruit is unnecessary and bowls over the more delicate flavors of the hops they love. Thankfully, the San Diego brewery has no shortage or regular and Grapefruit Sculpin for us to compare and pick a side. So we want to know: Would you rather your next glass of Sculpin have an extra hit of grapefruit, or do you prefer to keep your beer clean and let the hops speak for themselves?