Food & dining


Why three summer beers are better than one

Say goodbye to summer beer fatigue.

Newburyport’s Riverwalk Brewing Co. has a solution for consumers tired of drinking the same seasonal during summer’s dog days: Make three of them.

In June, Riverwalk released Screen Door, described as a “hoppy summah ale.” This month comes Range Light, a double dry hopped India Pale Ale. Admiral’s Little Ella, an Extra Pale Ale, will follow in August.


“One of the things that we’ve noticed about seasonal beers is, especially with the big brewers, they tend to put out one, they put it out early in the season, and people get exhausted by it pretty quickly,” says Riverwalk founder Steve Sanderson.

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Riverwalk is able to offer several in part because the brewery is small and in part because a new partnership with a mobile canning company makes packaging and labeling a breeze. Riverwalk’s summer series is a progression, with the beers becoming hoppier as the sticky season rolls along. Because the beers are brewed to move quickly (IPAs left on the shelf too long lose their aromatic qualities), Sanderson wasn’t afraid to up the hops quotient.

“We feel more comfortable doing that knowing that it’s going to be in and out,” says Sanderson, who notes that the latest batch of Screen Door sold out at the brewery in less than a week. “We know it’s going to stay fresh.”

While Samuel Adams and others have made “summer beer” synonymous with lemon, the term is more marketing parlance than any kind of strict stylistic guidance (George Costanza might say that any beer can be a summer beer if you believe it). The only rules Sanderson had for his three summer releases is that they be light in body and less than 6 percent alcohol by volume.

Screen Door is brewed with both Pilsner and wheat malt and accented with citrusy, rather than bitter, hops. Range Light, the July release, starts with British Golden Promise malt (think multigrain toast) layered with Mosaic, Cascade, and Columbus hops, which provide tropical fruit character and dank berry notes.


The final beer, Admiral’s Little Ella, is the most interesting.

“We get a little bit crazier with the hop combination,” says Sanderson, who notes that the Admiral, Ella, and Calypso hops originate in the UK, US, and Australia respectively. Sanderson is curious to see how Ella’s dark cherry notes play with the earthy, resinous, tea-like qualities of the others.

“All three of the beers are hoppy, but given that it’s summer, these should be something you can drink in any setting,” says Sanderson.

Riverwalk Brewing Co. (3 Graf Road, Unit 15, Newburyport, is open afternoons, Thursday to Saturday. The beers are also sold at all Massachusetts Craft Beer Cellar locations.

gary dzen

Gary Dzen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen