What is a smoothie beer?

A smoothie beer is a type of beer that incorporates fruit purees or fruit juices, creating a beer with a thicker, smoothie-like texture and fruit flavors. Smoothie beers bridge the gap between beers and smoothies, appealing to fans of both beverages.

How are Smoothie Beers Made?

Smoothie beers are made by brewers who add fruit purees, real fruit juices or other fruit products to a base beer style. The fruit additions create the signature thick, smoothie texture and provide vibrant fruit flavors. Brewers need to take care when adding fruit to avoid an overpowering fruit presence that overwhelms the beer. The fruit additions are balanced against the malt and hop character of the base beer.

There are two main methods used to create smoothie beers:

  • Adding fruit purees, juices or other fruit products directly to the finished beer. This is the easiest and most common method. The brewer simply blends the fruit into the fermented beer. One downside is that the fruit flavors can seem artificial or “added” versus integrated into the beer.
  • Adding fruit products during the brewing process. The fruit is added to the brewing tank and fermented together with the wort. This helps integrate the fruit flavors and can create a more natural, cohesive product. However, adding fruit during brewing increases risk of contamination.

Both methods result in a smoothie-style beer if enough fruit is used. Brewers need to experiment to find the right fruit balance for their particular smoothie beer goals.

What Fruits are Used in Smoothie Beers?

Almost any fruit can be used in a smoothie beer, but some of the most popular choices include:

  • Strawberries – A classic flavor, strawberry smoothie beers have a sweet berry taste.
  • Raspberries – Tart and tangy raspberries create a bright, refreshing smoothie beer.
  • Blueberries – Blueberry smoothie beers have a subtle sweet and fruity flavor.
  • Mangos – Mangos bring tropical flavors like pineapple and citrus to smoothie beers.
  • Peaches – Juicy, ripe peaches give smoothie beers a pleasant stone fruit flavor.
  • Pineapples – Pineapples give smoothie beers a tropical, lightly sweet and tart kick.
  • Cherries – Both sweet and sour cherries can be used to make cherry smoothie beers.
  • Bananas – Bananas add dense, creamy flavors and texture to smoothie beers.

In addition to these fruits, smoothie beer brewers also use blended mixes of various fruits to create unique flavor combinations. Popular mixes include strawberry-banana, mango-peach, and cranberry-raspberry. The possibilities are endless when it comes to fruit fusions!

What Beer Styles Work Best as Smoothie Beers?

Smoothie beers are often made by adding fruit to lighter beer styles like blond ales, wheat beers, saisons and kettle sours. The lighter malt flavors allow the fruit to shine through. That said, brewers do experiment with adding fruit to darker beers like porters and stouts, which can work well in some cases.

Here are some top beer styles for smoothie beers:

  • Blonde ales – The light body and crisp flavors are a perfect canvas for fruit flavors.
  • Wheat beers – The signature wheat flavors complement many fruits like oranges, berries and peaches.
  • Fruit beers – Starting with a fruit beer base provides an already fruit-friendly foundation.
  • Saisons – The funky, fruity Belgian saison flavor profile works well with added fruits.
  • Kettle sours – The tart, sour beer base contrasts nicely with sweet fruit flavors.
  • Cream ales – The creamy mouthfeel matches the thick texture of smoothie beers.

The base beer style will influence the overall flavor experience, so brewers select a style that aligns with the fruit flavors they want to highlight.

Popular Commercial Examples of Smoothie Beers

While homebrewers and local brewpubs make their own smoothie beers, some larger craft breweries are releasing commercial smoothie beers. Some popular examples include:

  • 21st Amendment Berry Cooler – This blend of wheat beer and strawberry puree is like an alcoholic smoothie.
  • Elysian Dayglow IPA – Mango and blood orange purees added to this IPA make it tropical and juicy.
  • Golden Road Mango Cart – A wheat ale with lots of mango puree, it tastes like a mango smoothie.
  • New Belgium Smootch – A tart cherry and chocolate smoothie-style ale.
  • Epic Blueberry Lager – One of the first smoothie lagers made with blueberry and pomegranate juice.

Commercial smoothie beer releases range from one-off seasonal brews to year-round offerings like Golden Road’s popular Mango Cart.

Are Smoothie Beers Considered Real Beers?

There is some debate among beer lovers about whether smoothie beers truly qualify as “beer” given their significant fruit additions. However, most experts consider smoothie beers part of the beer family, just at the fruitier end of the spectrum.

Smoothie beers are brewed using traditional beer ingredients – malted barley, hops, yeast and water. The base styles like blonde ales and wheat beers certainly qualify as beer. The fruit is simply an additional ingredient for flavor and texture, just like coffee, spices or other ingredients added to some beer styles. There are no rigid requirements that beers only contain malt, hops, yeast and water.

Fruit beers have a very long history going back to ancient times. While modern smoothie beers take the fruit additions to another level, they are still fundamentally beers. Most smoothie beers have 4-6% alcohol content from fermentation, just like other beers. They share far more DNA with beers than they do with wine or mead (fermented from fruit juice).

Smoothie beer is now recognized as an official beer style in homebrewing competitions, cementing its status as a type of beer. In the end, smoothie beers can simply be seen as a creative offshoot of the incredibly diverse beer family.

Benefits of Smoothie Beers

What are some of the benefits and positive attributes of smoothie beers?

  • Fruit flavor – The big benefit is the vibrant fruit taste, which beer drinkers may find more appealing and refreshing than traditional beer flavors.
  • Texture – The smooth, creamy mouthfeel resembles a smoothie, a nice change of pace from clear, thin beers.
  • Versatility – There are endless fruit and base beer combinations to explore for unique smoothie beers.
  • Food-friendly – The fruitiness makes smoothie beers good with desserts or fruit-based dishes.
  • Fruit nutrition – Smoothie beers deliver some of the vitamins from the fruit used, adding a bit of nutritional benefit absent from most beers.

For those looking for a beer with more flavor dimension and a smoother mouthfeel, smoothie beers deliver. The fruit additions provide a whole new spectrum of tastes and aromas not found in typical beers.

Challenges of Brewing Smoothie Beers

Brewing a well-balanced, appetizing smoothie beer can also pose some challenges, including:

  • Avoiding overwhelming fruit flavor – Getting the fruit quantity and type right is crucial to prevent washing out the beer or clashing flavors.
  • Fruit sediment – Fruit solids can settle out during fermentation, requiring extra filtration.
  • Quick flavor deterioration – The fragile fruit flavors fade fast, limiting smoothie beer shelf life.
  • Contamination risks – The fruits raise contamination chances during brewing compared to malted grains.
  • Missing traditional beer taste – Some smoothie beers lose the “beer” element and taste only like fruit juice.

Brewers need to find the ideal fruit and beer recipes to ensure their smoothie beers meet expectations. Small pilot batches are useful for dialing in the exact flavor profile.

Smoothie Beer Recipes

Homebrewers looking to brew their own smoothie beers can try some of these recipe ideas:

Mango Orange Wheat Smoothie Beer

This tropical smoothie wheat beer uses orange and mango purees.


  • 6 lbs wheat liquid malt extract
  • 1 oz Hallertau hops
  • Wheat beer yeast
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup mango puree


  1. Bring 3 gallons water to 155°F and steep crushed grains for 30 minutes. Remove grains and dissolve malt extract into water.
  2. Bring to a boil and add hops. Boil 60 minutes.
  3. Cool boiled wort to 65°F and transfer to fermenter. Pitch yeast.
  4. Ferment at 60°F for two weeks until finishing gravity reached.
  5. Transfer to secondary fermenter and add orange juice and mango puree. Allow to condition 1 week.
  6. Filter beer into keg or bottles and carbonate. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

Blueberry Lime Sour Smoothie Beer

The addition of lime juice ramps up the tart, sour flavors in this blueberry smoothie beer.


  • 6 lb pale liquid malt extract
  • 1 oz Citra hops
  • American sour beer yeast blend
  • 1 cup blueberry puree
  • 1⁄2 cup lime juice


  1. Bring 3 gallons water to 155°F and steep crushed grains for 30 minutes. Remove grains and dissolve malt extract into water.
  2. Bring to a boil and add hops. Boil 60 minutes.
  3. Cool boiled wort to 65°F and transfer to fermenter. Pitch yeast blend.
  4. Allow to ferment and sour for 1 month at 70°F.
  5. Transfer to secondary and add blueberry puree and lime juice. Condition 1 more week.
  6. Keg or bottle the smoothie sour beer. Carbonate and serve chilled.

Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie Milkshake IPA

This smoothie beer uses lactose sugar, strawberry puree, and yogurt to create a thick, creamy milkshake IPA.


  • 8 lbs pale liquid malt extract
  • 1 lb lactose sugar
  • 2 oz Mosaic hops
  • American IPA yeast
  • 1 cup strawberry puree
  • 1 cup plain yogurt


  1. Bring 3 gallons water to 155°F and steep crushed grains for 30 minutes. Remove grains and dissolve malt extract and lactose sugar into water.
  2. Bring to a boil and add hops. Boil 60 minutes.
  3. Cool boiled wort to 65°F and transfer to fermenter. Pitch yeast.
  4. Ferment at 65°F for two weeks until finishing gravity reached.
  5. Transfer to secondary and add in strawberry puree and yogurt. Allow to condition 1 week.
  6. Filter into keg or bottles and carbonate. Serve chilled.

Serving and Storing Smoothie Beers

To best enjoy the full flavors of smoothie beers, follow these serving tips:

  • Serve extra cold – The colder temps enhance the creamy mouthfeel and fruit flavors.
  • Use a glass – Drink from a tall pint glass to appreciate the appearance and aromas.
  • Pour gently – Aggressive pours can cause excess foaming so pour slowly and smoothly.
  • Pair with fruit desserts – The fruitiness pairs deliciously with fruit-topped cheesecakes, tarts and pies.
  • Drink fresh – The delicate fruit flavors fade over time, so drink smoothie beers ASAP for best quality.

Smoothie beers should be stored cold and consumed fresh whenever possible. Leaving smoothie beers warm or aging for months will cause the fruit notes to deteriorate, leaving odd flavors. Keep refrigerated and drink within a few weeks of bottling for optimal taste.


Smoothie beers bring together the best aspects of fruit smoothies and beer into one innovative beverage. The tropical flavors and creamy mouthfeel offer an indulgent experience for beer drinkers looking for something different. While brewing smoothie beers poses some challenges, the possibilities for fruity flavors are nearly endless. With the right recipe and fresh ingredients, homemade smoothie beers let brewers explore new territory at the intersection of fruit and fermentation.

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