If you ask the experts the fruit trends of 2017 seem to be watermelon and coconut. And I wouldn’t say they are wrong, but I think they’re missing the impact passion fruit has had on craft beer. Likely due to the tropical notes found in many of the new “it” hops, passion fruit has taken a starring role in everything from IPAs to sours.
I would not call myself a huge fan of fruited IPAs, as I feel that the fruit often overpowers the base beer. But I do respect them for their ability to be teaching beers, to help show what a certain flavor tastes like in a beer. Most of us have probably never had a passion fruit, so a beer that specifically highlights the flavor is a good base for understanding what it means when someone describes a hop as having a passion fruit aroma and taste. A good place to start is Passion Juice, a fruited IPA from Odd Side.
Like most fruited IPAs, there is nothing subtle about the fruit addition. Passion Juice belongs to the school of thought that if an ingredient is listed on the label, you better damn well be able to taste it. And honestly for the purposes of education, that’s a good thing here.
A character usually described as tropical fruit wafts from the glass. It has the distinct earthiness that seems to be part of the tropical fruit aroma profile. The first sip reveals an IPA with low bitterness and a touch of tartness with some of that same tropical earthy funk. It’s a reason tropical fruits work so well in sours (and makes this almost a cousin to the new breed of dry-hopped sours). I caught a distinct taste of what I typically associate with Mosaic hops, which leads me to believe Mosaic was used in the beer or Mosaic has passion fruit notes.
As far as fruited IPAs go, this is one I’d drink for more than just the education. The complexity of passion fruit works so well with the IPA profile that it does tend to make the beer greater than the sum of its parts. If passion fruit really is the next big trend, it’s one I can get behind (and exceptionally more promising than craft malt liquors).