Monday, July 10, 2006

The Beers of Summer

Ah...Summer. I love summer. I heart summer. I dig summer. Especially because each summer there are a few releases of summer beers that you can't get any other time of the year. These seasonal beers are somehow able to convey some flavor or aroma of summer that coppertone previously had the market on. And what better time of year to have what you want than summer? Summer is when we get to relax, kick back, enjoy ourselves, indulge ourselves.

The kind of cool thing about summer beers is that in the official beer world, they don't really exist as a historical style, so they can be whatever the brewer desires. Summer beers really started when microbreweries realized how popular their seasonal harvest, winter and holiday beers were. Why not summer ales? After all, it is a time when there's a plethora of fresh herbs, spices, fruits and produce at a brewers disposal. Summer ales tend to be lighter ales, wheat beers and fruity beers: beers you can drink after mowing the lawn, or in my case, after not mowing the lawn.

Summer Pix 4 Chx:

Craftsman Smoked Black Lager - Pasadena, California
As part of their self-proclaimed "contrarian style," Craftsman Brewery makes a black summer beer that has been smoked over beechwood, creating a beer that is dark, but not heavy, with roasted malts that are smokey, but nowhere near ashey. Its a very crisp and dry lager that pairs, shall I say, PERFECTLY with summer bar-b-q or, according to executive chef Sang Yoon, "Anything off the grill." Forget about it. Seriously.

Three Floyds Brewing Co. Gumballhead - Munster, Indiana

This American Pale Wheat Ale is a summer release from an awesome brewery in a place called Munster, Indiana. Its an extremely drinkable beer, especially on hot summer days. The aroma is clean and crisp with the distinct grapefruity-ness of Amarillo hops. This beer reminds me of the pool boy, beautiful, but not complex. This is a perfect lakeside picnic companion.

Allagash Brewing Company, Allagash White - Portland, Maine

Modeled after the traditional "White" beers of Belgium (also referred to as "wit" beers), Allagash White gets its unique flavor brewing from wheat and a special blend of spices. This beer is light and slightly cloudy with notes of Curacao orange peel and coriander. Allagash combined these ingredients with their very own proprietary Belgian yeast strain to create the remarkably unique and refreshing beer that is today their flagship brand. This beer is a great compliment to salads with fresh vinaigrettes, goat cheese, summer lunches of chicken and fish. Try it with apple pie. Trust me...its unbelievable.

Craftsman Orange Grove Ale -
Pasadena, California

Okay, I'll admit it. I love Craftsman Brewery. I really do. This beer lives up to my expectations. This delish summer ale is brewed using whole fresh Valencia oranges. I call them "landsman brewers" because they don't let any part of the orange go to waste. That means that they use the peel in addition to the bitter pith. This ale is no orange crush. Its a bright pale ale with subtle orange peel in the nose and quenching citrus nuance with a dry finish.

We're just in July, so you'll have plenty of time to try these and other artisanal summer brews. Don't feel pressured though, because after the summer beers come the fall beers! There are so many styles to look forward to: Marzen/Oktoberfests, Harvest Ales, Pumpkin Ales, etc. So I can tell you my love for beer will still be strong, after the beers of summer have gone.

1 comment:

  1. i happen to agree with your choice in the Craftsman Smoked Lager. Had it per your recommendation and it was extremely drinkable...very smooth...and contrary to its color, a very good warm weather beer. ive heard of three floyds but have never had the pleasure of trying their beers. im curious where youve gotten their beers in CA. oh, and BTW - my screenname links to my myspace webpage which has a link to your well as many breweries, brewpubs, bars, and webpages i enjoy. feel free to check them out.