THE BREW It’s getting hot outside. For fans of the malt, this means one important thing – summer beers! There are a dizzying number of seasonal brews available. To get you started, we’ve broken down six of the most popular ones. Cheers!
Blue Moon Honey Moon
Blue Moon has managed to craft a beer that packs a significant alcoholic punch, but lacks any discernable bite. Sweet orange peel combines with clove honey and a hint of hoppiness to make a beer that is without parallel in smoothness. The honey taste is readily apparent, even in the finish. Honey Moon’s texture is almost buttery, lingering on the tongue for a moment after drinking. Light and refreshing, it’s a different taste for summer.
There’s something a little disturbing about a salty beer. Sure, we all like to eat salty snacks with our brew, but salt in the beer? The Miller Brewing Co. has put considerable effort into marketing this “chelada” style lager, but flashy stands in the grocery store don’t always translate into quality beer. Like its rival BL Lime, Chill has a heavy dose of lime flavor, but it lacks the smoothness of its cousin. It’s difficult to get past the salt. One pull of this will have the corners of your mouth sagging in disgust. Try again, Miller.
Pair with: Something light – chicken, fish, and vegetables.
Bud Light Lime What could taste more like summer? At first sip, Bud Light Lime conjures images of poolside barbeques and long days on the beach. Barely noticeable hops combine with strong lime flavor that leaves a lingering finish. A slightly yeasty aftertaste serves as the only reminder you’re drinking beer. But what makes BL Lime so quintessentially “summer?” Is it the not-so-subtle lime flavor? Is it the ease with which even non-beer drinkers can guzzle it on a hot day? Does it even matter? Purists may scoff and call it a mass market abomination, but most will just call it delicious.
Pair with: A hot summer day.
Leinenkugel Summer Shandy What do you get when you combine a wheat beer and lemonade? Leinenkugel apparently decided to find out and created this hybrid. Although it looks like a beer, Summer Shandy is dominated by a very sweet lemony taste. One could argue that it’s not really a beer at all. The wheat flavor of the malt is present, but takes a back seat. It’s easy to drink, but a departure from the strong beers Leinenkugel normally produces. Beer geeks will not approve.
Pair with: Masochism.
Sam Adams Summer Ale Sam Adams seasonal beers offer beer drinkers year-round variety with a different specialty brew each season. Sam’s Summer Ale is dominated by the sweet orange peel it’s brewed with. Few other flavors are discernable, apart from the modest bitterness injected by the hops. This one has a distinct alcoholic bite to it as well, a welcome contrast to the sweetness. A wellrounded, thoughtfully crafted beer.
Pair with: Something spicy.
Sierra Nevada Summerfest Brewed in the German and Czech tradition, this one is dominated by hops and powerful light grain flavor. Sierra Nevada may have gone too far though. Hops are intended to temper the sweetness of the malt, not destroy it. The grain flavor has barely any time to touch the taste buds before the drinker is kicked in the teeth by the hops. Disappointing, especially considering this style of lager is potentially delicious.
Pair with: Full-flavored food that’s heavy on the garlic.
= Nasty! Pair with: Dessert.
= I’d try it again.
= Pretty good