If you’ve felt the searing pain of your seat-belt buckle lately, you know summer is well underway. And when the heat is so intense that the inside of your mouth is cooler than the moisture all around you, you know it’s time to drink – and it better be refreshing. While this is no definitive list, here are a few brews you can put in your cooler when you plan to bear the heat while baring it all.
Kona Brewing Co., Kona, HI
A self-proclaimed “liquid aloha” to any beach party, this pale-straw colored wheat ale starts with a biscuity, citrusy and tangy aroma, logically from the passion fruit, then provides a fairly light-bodied, bright, citrus taste with that twist of passion fruit that gives way to a lasting wheat taste. It’s a drinkable and unique use of fruit that neither makes the beer too sweet or too tart. I’ll hula to that.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico, CA
Imperial India Pale Ale
Not everything about summer requires less hops and malt, Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum comes in like an afternoon storm (you know, the kind where you can still get a tan). Beginning with aromas of pinapple, malt and slight hop bitterness, the taste begins with an upfront crisp bitterness to reveal a creamy blend of fruit, floral and citrus tasting hops, all balanced with some caramel tasting malt. While weighing in at 100 IBUs and 10% ABV, neither aspect becomes too dominating; it must be made really well.
XXXXX Extra Stout
Pike Brewing Company, Seattle, WA.
In the summer, one craves straightforward simplicity. Enter the XXXXX Extra Stout. Dark as night with a light brown head, this toasty-smelling brew tastes of bitter dark chocolate, coffee while balanced with a slight hop bite. This stout is by the book and you’re smarter for reading it. Enjoy cold (and with a price point that can’t be beat, enjoy often).
Victory Brewing Company, Downington, PA
Maybe it’s the German hops, but this blonde ale tastes like the halfway point between lager and ale. Crisp yet balanced, the near-prickly effervescence makes it a summer treat and the balanced taste gives it a slightly hoppier pale ale feel. Usually I’m skeptical of seasonal marketing gimmicks, but this one gets it right: summer is sweeter with Summer Love.
Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma, CA
Beginning with an innocent pineapple aroma, this golden colored ale has tongue-ripping hop action but is quite balanced with a creamy malt (backbone I guess, but I hate that overused beer phrase). It’s got a light to medium body with a sweet and hoppy finish. Excellent and available almost everywhere (my gas station is even hip to this beer).
This list will continue to grow, so check back for more, and please comment if you think my picks are nuts!
Also, stay tuned for the sequel, “Summer Beers 2: Local Boogaloo” for when I manage to go out and taste awesome, locally brewed summer beers.
Thanks for reading, let’s go drink now.