Summer IS Beer Time
When one thinks of the qualities of a summer beer, the mind drifts to lofty
dreams of a light, refreshing drink with a crisp, perhaps fruity flavor. To fulfill
such warm-weather dreams, German-style wheat ales are the classic warm
weather brews. These beers, inspired by the great German weiss tradition,
use a proportion of at least 50 percent malted wheat in the mash to add a
luminous protein haze. The most well-known and popular of the German wheat
ales is certainly the hefe-weizen. Perhaps the most notable feature of this
style is the signature clove and banana flavors that are present. The high
carbonation rate of these beers also makes them ideal for quenching thirsts.
Also perfect for summer are Belgian-style wheat beers, also known as "wit" or
"white" beers which use a proportion of unmalted wheat in the mash. These
beers have very noticeable flavor additions in the form of Curacao, orange
peel and coriander. The beers often have a hazy white appearance and a
spicy nose and overall flavor.
A helles-style ("helles" is German for pale or light) beer will nicely quench that
summer thirst too. This style has a pale or golden color, a rich, malty body,
and a low hop bitterness and aroma. Another one of the German golden
brews that fit well in summer is Kolsch. This beer is the one most unlike the
others. In a land of lagers, the brewers of Cologne ("Koln" in German) rebelled
against the prevalent bottom-fermenting styles and created a hybrid beer
form. A Kolsch is a pale golden ale with a dry flavor, medium hop bitterness
and a mild, fruity aroma. Tip - when visiting your local brewpub you might find
something called a Summer Solstice Ale. Give it a try - it's usually a Kolsch.
Reminiscent of the Kölsch style is a Blonde Ale, which is essentially a creation
from the American craft-brewery movement. Pale straw to deep gold in color,
this brew has a lightly malty palate with a subdued fruitiness and clean hop
German/Czech Pilsners, a style that became popular in Europe during the
19th century, make for yet another fine hot weather coolant. This beer has a
bright golden body and distinct hop taste usually from Saaz hops. It is often
"dry hopped" which gives this brew an enticing floral hop aroma.
And now for the final category of beer fit for summer drinking - lawnmower
beer. These beers make up the largest segment of the American beer
market. They're lagers and light lagers with minimal flavor profiles. If you're
thirsty on a hot summer's day a very cold can of Bud, Coors, Miller Lite, Old
Milwaukee, or Pabst might prove an acceptable, taste-free, refresher.
beernexus.com - SPECIAL REPORT
Summer Beer Style Guide