Sampling Summer Beers

My sister-in-law Karen sent me a link to a Real Simple article titled 6 Ahhhhh! Summer Beers, which inspired me to post about my own recent summer beer tasting. I found these beers on the seasonal shelf at Total Wine and More in McLean, Virginia. I love Total Wine because they let you build your own six-pack, and my six-pack included:

  • Mendocino Blonde Ale, Mendocino Brewing Company (CA), typical summer beer, perfect for hot days.
  • Lucy, Starr Hill Brewery (VA), a spiced summer beer that I cannot recommend. It’s rare for me to disrespect any beer, but Lucy has a weird unappealing flavor. A drain pour.
  • Saranac Summer Brew, Matt Brewing Company (NY), a blend of lemonade and lager that tastes just as you would expect. Quite drinkable at 3.5% ABV but how many of these would someone actually drink in one sitting? One was enough for me.
  • Rope Swing Summer Pilsner, Redhook Brewery (NH), a clean, bright Pilsner, what you’d look for in a summer beer.
  • Karnival Kölsch, Stoudts Brewing Company (PA), a refreshing, smooth German-style ale.
  • Orange Blossom Cream Ale, Buffalo Bills Brewery (CA), a Cream Ale brewed with honey and orange peel, with orange flower extract added. I love orange flavor, so no surprise that I enjoyed this beer.

Would I encourage you to go out and buy any of these beers today? No, I wouldn’t. But a couple are definitely worth a try, specifically the Orange Blossom Cream Ale, for its uniqueness, and the Karnival Kölsch, which is another solid brew from Stoudts.

Goose Island Summertime is another notable summer brew I’ve tried lately. I bought a six-pack at Magruder’s and picked up another six-pack the next time I was there because I liked it so much. The strange thing is, Summertime is a Kölsch, and I’m not a big fan of the style. I just don’t think the Kölsch style allows for enough creativity; the style is not that interesting or complex. Of course, that’s not what you’re looking for in a summer beer. Summertime is a delicious, clean-finishing thirst-quencher. I may not be a big fan of Kölsch, but I am a big fan of Goose Island (IL)!

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