Although Pink beer has been around for some time now, its popularity seems to be on the rise as craft brewers experiment with different combinations of beers brewed with fruits such as cherries, grapes, cranberries, strawberries, and blood oranges to name just a few. As well as one of the most widely used ingredients in a Pink Beer that is not a fruit at all but rather the petals of the hibiscus flower.
Various styles of beer have been brewed in shades of pink for many years. Sour beers and Lambic beers are great examples as the majority of them are typically brewed with raspberries, cranberries, and pomegranate which results in a pinkish hue.
One of the best-selling beers at Big Robb’s pub was a cheery beer which was simply a blonde ale with cherry juice added to it to give it a soft pink-colored hue and a slight cherry flavor.
The Perfect Summer Beer
The trend for these colored beers is picking up and very much like a rose wine, they are being promoted as the perfect summertime drink.
Unlike wine however they do not fit into a singular category flavor-wise, you will find pink beers that are ales or lagers, they can be a blonde, sour, IPA, pale ale, cream ale, or a Vienna lager to name just a few. Brewers can add color to pretty much any light to pale-colored beer, as such it is impossible to pin down a specific flavor profile for pink beers.
We have seen pink beers that have been made using cherries, oranges, apples, peaches, and cranberries. While others have been brewed using pink grapes and others using various grape musts which result in a beer that is as close to having a wine taste as a non-sour beer could.
The point is that just because a beer might look similar to another due to its pink shade, unlike a rose wine it does not mean they have any other characteristics in common and in fact are in most cases quite diverse from each other. Do not expect to see the BJCP brand them as a beer style any time soon.
What Beer is Pink?
Unlike official beer styles that have guidelines that must be followed in order for the beer to be classified in that style, a pink beer is simply any beer that has adjuncts added for the sole purpose of coloring the beer pink. Adjuncts are simply ingredients added to the beer during the brewing process.
How are Pink Beers Made?
There is not one set method to make a pink beer, there are numerous techniques that can be used by brewers to achieve the color they are looking for.
A few examples would be…
Pressing grapes and adding them to the wort (unfermented beer) and letting the mixture ferment together.
Adding berries (typically strawberries or raspberries) to the wort and fermenting them with the beer.
Blood oranges have been used in the same manner, scrap the oranges out of their peels and add them to the wort, you can also use the rind of the orange (outer skin) but do not use the white part of the skin as it will make the beer overly bitter.
We have seen brewers add strawberry jam to the wort in the same way fruit would be added.
Hibiscus is a very popular ingredient that many brewers use to make pink beer, it can be added either before fermentation or after fermentation has been done. Our recommendation is to add it after fermentation very much like adding dry hops, except make a hibiscus tea and add it (more on that later).
Fruit juice is also an option, very much in the same way radlers are made by adding orange or grapefruit juice to beer, a pink beer can be made by adding cherry, strawberry, cranberry, or raspberry juice to the wort. This is typically done before fermentation, however, you can add it after fermentation, but you must be careful if you do. When you add any sugar to a beer post-fermentation there is still active yeast in the beer and it will go to work eating the sugar which will create pressure inside your bottle or keg. At our pub, we would do this from time to time but the key to not allowing this build-up of pressure to occur was to keep the beer cold and the yeast dormant.
Pink Beer Recipe
Looking to brew your own pink beer, if so we would recommend that you first brew either our blonde ale recipe or our light beer. They both will work well to allow the pink to shine through.
After you have brewed either of those beers, we are going to recommend that you use Hibiscus as the ingredient to get the color you are looking for. Not only will it provide a nice soft pink color but also fruity, berry, and floral-like flavors.
You can add the hibiscus during the start of the boil if you like, however it will provide more bitterness to the beer. If you are just looking for a pink color with a soft flavor without the bitterness then it is best to use it as a dry hop addition after primary fermentation is completed.
For a 5-gallon batch begin by making a tea. First, boil 3 cups of water and then add 3 ounces of hibiscus to the water. Let the hibiscus steep in the water for approximately five minutes. Then strain the tea and pour the liquid directly into your beer.
The result will be a soft pink beer with delicious flavors and aromas from the hibiscus.
Pink Beer Party Punch
For those people who do not want to make their own beer but are rather looking to make a quick but delicious pink party punch made out of beer then you may want to try this.
Very similar to a summer beer recipe or a shandy, which are both beer cocktails made out of half beer and typically lemonade and or vodka, this drink gets its pink color by using pink frozen lemonade.
To serve 6 – 8 people you will need:
- 2 bottles of your favorite light-lager beer
- One can of sprite, 7-up, or ginger ale
- One container of frozen pink lemonade from concentrate
- One cup of vodka
- One cup of club soda
Mix the vodka and pink lemonade in a pitcher. Fill your serving glasses with ice. Just before serving add the club soda and beer to the pitcher. Don’t stir at this point, pour them into the glasses. You can also add frozen berries to the pitcher if you desire.
The result will be a delicious pink beer that is sure to be a hit at the next party you host.
As you have seen the unofficial category of pink beer can encompass many different beverages that have many different flavor profiles, the only thing they have in common with each other is they are pink, they contain beer, and taste delicious. Enjoy!
P.S. If you like to make your own beer be sure to grab our gift to you on the side of the blog or at the bottom if you are on your smart device. Pick up Big Robb’s top 5 favorite beer recipes from his brewpub. Cheers!