For a long time, it seemed like brewers and beer geeks alike were irrationally derisive of the Fruit Beer, and to this day we still hear jokes about the “best way to drink a fruit beer – step one, pour it down the drain.” You can be as dismissive as you like and showcase your fruit intolerance, but I feel obligated to say that you’re really missing out. For one thing, breweries (the ones that let the fruit complement the beer) are making some killer fruited beers these days; and for another, making your own adds a whole new dimension to many of your favorite beers and classic beer styles. Embrace it. Evolve your position on fruit in beer.
As a Specialty style, Fruit Beer is necessarily broad (or, more accurately, user- and declared-style-defined). The overarching theme of the style is “balance,” though, with a beer that’s still recognizable as “beer” but also with “evident” fruit character.
In order to get a proper evaluation, you must specify the fruit or fruits used (and if you’re adding anything other than fruit – like spices – you’re in the wrong category) as well as the base style. That style doesn’t need to be a “classic” style as defined within the guidelines, but it must provide some kind of baseline information to the judges to evaluate the “beer” side of the “fruit beer” construction.