Folks dig that grapefruit flavor in beer (Ballast Point’s Grapefruit Sculpin IPA, anyone?), but how do craft brewers create that fruity flavor? Lots of beer makers stick to various citrusy hops instead of actually adding grapefruit; Columbus, for example, especially gives off strong grapefruit flavor and aroma. We’ve heard of brewers using grapefruit zest or juice, and more and more we’ve actually heard about brewers using grapefruit puree.
Mmmm … puree.
In fact, Oregon Fruit Products LLC just announced the company’s 14th addition to its Oregon Specialty Fruit purees made for the craft beer market. Founded in 1935, Oregon Fruit Products offers a complete line of canned, frozen and shelf-stable premium fruit for consumers, foodservice operators and ingredient sales. Its newest grapefruit puree adds a touch of tart, citrus flavor to a variety of fruit beers, ciders, meads and other fermented beverages. The velvet-smooth puree consists of 100 percent Ruby Grapefruit juice and grapefruit pulp, with no added sugar, preservatives or additives.
“We’re seeing strong growth in our fruit puree business, all fueled by craft brewers who are seeking innovation with new flavor profiles,” said Chris Sarles, CEO of Oregon Fruit Products. “Because our purees are made with the highest quality fruit and processed into aseptic packaging, brewers are finding it a very convenient and more consistent alternative to fresh or frozen fruit.”
So, how does this process work and what about contamination? Well, all aseptic products are flash heated at ultra-high temperatures for a very short time to minimize microbes in the fruit puree. The product is cooled quickly to maintain the best fresh fruit flavor and color. The entire process is closed, with the package filled and capped in a sealed environment, without letting any contamination enter the system. The majority of Oregon Specialty Fruit purees have a shelf life of 18 months in ambient temperature.
“When one of our brewers asked me to source a grapefruit puree, I immediately made the call to Oregon Fruit,” said Dan Kopman, founder of Schlafly — The Saint Louis Brewery in St. Louis. “We add purees to our fermentations, and the real grapefruit puree developed by Oregon Fruit gave our Dry-Hopped Grapefruit IPA a distinctly fruity taste without adding unwanted sweetness.”
Oregon Fruit’s grapefruit puree is definitely inspiring some creative brews across the country: White Street Brewing Co. in Wake Forest, N.C., has created a Session IPA dubbed “Grapefruit I-Plié,” made with Mandarina and Mosaic hops and fermented with grapefruit puree. In Nashville, Indiana Big Woods Brewing Co. now has a “Kemosabe Session IPA” full of hop and citrus bitterness. Wicked Weed Brewing in Asheville, N.C., is using Oregon Fruit’s puree for a grapefruit/honey Gose-inspired ale to be released late 2015, while sour beer consumers will look forward to trying the barrel-aged grapefruit beer next year that Green Bench Brewing Co. in St. Petersburg, Fla., is crafting.
Oregon Fruit Products’ grapefruit puree is now available in 42-pound bag-in-box, 425-pound (55 gallon) drums and 2,300-pound totes. The product is certified Kosher, made in the U.S.A., non-GMO, gluten-free and vegetarian. Oregon Fruit Products does not use, nor does it allow, any of the eight major allergens (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat) in the products or processing areas. Sounds like a solid product, Oregon Fruit. Bravo.