Friday Top 5: Beers of Summer
With the daily temperature peaking at 105 most days, we can tell that summertime is upon us. When this season hits, I always look forward to all the summer-release beers that show up on the shelves. Many beer companies take advantage of their customer’s need for a refreshing brew during the summer heat, and beer is definitely the best way keep cool and unwind after a long, hot day. I enjoy looking around hoping to find a cheery and delightful depiction of a summer paradise on the label, and give it a try. Good summer beer isn’t just light and drinkable, but is easy to pair with barbeque and poolside sipping.
Several ATH folks and friends gathered around to conduct a summer beer taste-testing session, and selected 11 beers to complete our ratings. We realize this does not encapsulate every single summer seasonal, but we grabbed what we could find. We were served a sample, discussed the flavor, created a nickname and rated it as follows: Great Summer Beer, Average and Never Again.
5. Sam Adams Summer Ale – “Citrus Highlife”
As you can see from the ratings, the majority thought this one was a typically average summer beer. It has the citrus tastes that most crave, combined with the carbonation and lightness of a lower grade beer. I found out that it has a rare pepper from Africa that was first used as a brewing spice in the 13th Century. Maybe our mediocre descriptions spoke too soon.
4. Leinienkugel Summer Shandy – “Lemonale”
In case you are in my position of never drinking a “shandy”, it is actually a mixed drink made from beer, usually a Pilsner. This explains the natural lemonade flavor in this beverage; with a lemon dominated aroma from the moment the bottle is opened. One of our taste-testers expressed that they “could drink the shit out of it all day.” I agree.
3. New Belgium Somersault – “Kurt Russell’s Pale Ale”
We had an additional taste-tester come into the picture during this time that immediately named this one due to its combination of intensity and smoothness. It’s quenching, not overly complex and simply sweet. Someone even called it “firefly nectar”. Overall it has great drinkability with great fruity tastes.
2. Brooklyn Summer Ale – “Two-Shake Heffy”
The first sniff and taste are what led to this nickname. It’s definitely a wheat beer known for its hop bitterness, and we caught that right away. It has a very clean taste, a fair amount of carbonation, and overall a nice summer drinker even thought we expected more citrusy flavors. It is also available in a can, which has become a growing trend for specialty beer.
1. Shocktop Belgium White – “Orange Crush”
This beer was the most pleasurable out of our selection, and we were surprised that this was our top rated. Most everyone was satisfied with the citrusy taste and blissful aromas of wheat. Majority agreed that we would drink this fairly light beer on any summer day in any given situation. They offer this one in a can as well, so pick up a sixer that next trip to the river.
Our taste-testing selection also included: Shiner Ruby Redbird “Grapeshit Sassafrass”, Blue Moon Honey Moon Summer Ale “Ghost Beer”, Pyramid Curve Ball “Lonestar Summerstock”, Saint Arnold Summer Pils “Champlain”, Cantina “The Bonnabrew”, and Sierra Nevada Summerfest “Bitter Not Have That Beer Again”. Let us know what other summer seasonal beers we should take a poke at, maybe round two is around the corner…