Why Lone Tree’s Fruit Beer is not Fruit-Forward

Subtle and balanced used to be the norm for many craft beers, but heavy-handed fruit flavors can dominate now. That doesn’t work for Lone Tree with its classic Peach Pale Ale.

“We want [our beers] to be highly drinkable. So we don’t go too crazy,” said Marketing Director Dennis Stack. “We have fun and experiment here in the tasting room but ones that go to the market such as Peach Pale Ale, it’s just a simple twist on a classic style.”

A consumer may see the word “Peach” in the name and assume it will be a fruit-bomb, but nuance is key in the creation said Head Brewer Dennis O’Harrow. The brand is an original product for the 10-year company and O’Harrow said they have scaled the peach one way and another but they want it to taste like a beer.

“That’s first and foremost,” he said. “Our strawberry-kiwi? That’s more like a Jolly Rancher, but the Peach, we definitely want it to stand out as a Pale Ale.

“You can definitely taste the beer behind it. You can taste the hops behind it. And then just this really nice follow-through of peach as well.”

READ MORE: Fresh, Juice, Puree & Concentrate: Best Uses for Fruit Addition

Other than adjusting hop amounts for alpha acids to create the same IBU, O’Harrow said not much has changed in the decade of creating the brand. That means ordering peach puree from Oregon Fruit along with all the proper ingredients has been fairly dialed in and consistent.

“We have it on [the production schedule] pretty much every other week,” he explained, adding that in winter months they make 20 barrels at a time but for the summer months, they double that for the brewery’s 40-barrel vessels.

“We just did our recent batch of 40 barrels and it’s pretty much already spoken for,” he said about beer buyers in the company’s distribution area. “It just takes some forethought, which these guys back here are great at planning ahead and making sure we have the inventory we need based on supply chain issues.”

Picking up accolades at the 2021 GABF has helped bring the fruit beer back into the brand’s spotlight, Stack said and a larger push since picking up Bronze at GABF has seen an uptick in sales.

“People always see the fruit beer and they are always surprised that it is a Pale Ale because they see peach and their brain just stops,” Stack said. “They think it’s a Blonde or American Wheat and they are gonna get a ton of fruit.

“When they try it, they’re always pleasantly surprised that it’s not overwhelmingly sweet. We certainly make those types of beers where you kind of get the real fruit-forward. But this beer is not meant to be that.”

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