The summer solstice officially arrived, ushering in the season of Banana Boat and beach chairs. My readers are always asking for new seasonal beer suggestions, and with the temperature rising, they’re getting a little impatient. Here’s a six-pack of summer beer suggestions that goes beyond ales with a hint of lemon.
Smuttynose Summer Weizen Ale: Wheat beers are a common, popular summer option. New Hampshire’s Smutty-nose Brewing brews theirs with a German malt bill and Belgian yeast, adding a twist to a traditional style. This one has hints of citrus and spice that are subtle enough to please most macro-lager drinkers. 15 IBUs, 5.3 percent ABV.
Newburyport Plum Island Belgian White: Newbury Brewing Company is a kegs-and-cans-only operation founded in 2012 by two bandmates with a love of beer. Chris Webb and Bill Fischer conceived the brewery while watching a Bruins game, then secured financing from a loan officer who knew Webb’s father. That loan officer, Mike Robinson, was an award-winning home brewer, and he is now Newburyport’s head brewer. Considering it’s canned, Newburyport’s pale ale is a solid summer go-to, but try the Belgian White. It’s cloudy, fruity, and effervescent, not to mention portable. 5.4 percent ABV.
St. Feuillien Saison: You know saisons are becoming more than a beer geek thing when your father starts to ask you about them. My dad has discovered that saisons, also known as farmhouse ales, pair well with food. That makes this St. Feuillien canned offering great for your next barbecue. Whiffs of lemon and a dry, peppery finish make this more complex than some summer offerings. Pour it into a glass and taste the terroir of southern Belgium. 6.5 percent ABV.
Goose Island Sofie: I love tart beers, and when the warm weather hits I find myself gravitating toward them more and more. Sour beers are gaining in popularity. This is not a sour beer, per se, but the yeast strain used in this saison imparts sour cherry notes in both flavor and aroma. It also provides a lightness to this farmhouse ale, of which 20 percent is aged in wine barrels with citrus peel. Try some sour beers (Berliner Weisse is a great style) and you’ll find yourself going back to them when the temperature rises. 6.5 percent ABV, 25 IBUs.
Founders Rubaeus: As with many limited-release beers from the standout Michigan brewery, you may have trouble finding this one. This is Founders’ answer to over-sweet, over-lemony summer ales and shandy. Fresh raspberries are added at multiple stages during fermentation. I still found this one quite sweet, but it’s also refreshing. 15 IBUs, 5.7 percent ABV.
Baxter Brewing Summer Swelter: It’s good to squeeze one “traditional” summer beer in. I went to school in Lewiston, Maine, and “Vacationland” seems like an appropriate place for another keg-and-can brewery. Baxter is rapidly expanding. You can find many of its beers in Massachusetts, including a stellar IPA (Stowaway) and stout (Phantom Punch). Summer Swelter is unfiltered and flavored with Kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass. You won’t suffer summer beer fatigue with this one, however, because there’s a nice hop underbite to crisp things up. 4.7 percent ABV.