Artisanal Beer And Season Beers With Fruits And Herbs From The Brewery, Uncommon, And Craftsman

Brewers look to fruits and herbs for seasonal beers

Adding spices and fruits to beer isn't new–who hasn't added lime to a Corona?–but West Coast brewers are going more exotic with ingredients like kaffir lime and mountain sage. It's a brave new world of beer.

Christina Perozzi, beer consultant for places like Rustic Canyon and Laurel Tavern, says a lot of "flavored" beers are made with artificial extracts and added sugar, but good craft brews will be subtly spiced and taste all-natural. They should be crisp and refreshing, not heavy and cloying.

Some of the best are limited-edition seasonal beers: Spices like nutmeg and cinnamon are often used in winter brews, but summer ales are lighter, with fresh herbs, stone fruits and citrus.

Here are a few for hot-weather sipping:

The Bruery Trade Winds Tripel From Orange County, this light-bodied, Belgian-style ale has hints of coriander and minty Thai basil. Available at L.A.-area Whole Foods and at Wally's Wine and Spirits

Uncommon Siamese Twin The Santa Cruz brewery adds a Thai twist with cumin, lemongrass and coriander–plus a citrusy snap from kaffir lime. Available at Essex Public House, 6683 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; 323-460-6608 or

Craftsman The Pasadena brewery's Triple White Sage is fragrant with sage from Central California, and has a dry, hoppy finish. The Orange Grove Ale gets subtle citrus notes from fresh Valencia oranges–including the rinds, which add a touch of bitterness. Both will be available at Father's Office and Lucky Baldwins later this month