Written by Bruce Owens
I want you all to look at this column as a summer reading list. These are the 10 beers you must drink this summer. Some of these beers you are probably very familiar with, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for example. Think back when is the last time you had an ice cold Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on a 90 degree day? This is all about rediscovering some classics and finding new favorites.
There are a ton of other great beers out there to beat the heat. Alaskan Summer Ale and Yuengling Lager come to mind. That being said I am trying to make sure these beers have a wider distribution so that all reading this column can enjoy.
10. Victory Prima Pils – The perfect BBQ beer. This beer has the body and flowery aroma of a pilsner but is one of the hoppiest pilsners on the market. This allows Prima Pils to stand up to the spiciness of peppery BBQ’ed meat coming off of your grill. Prima Pils also has a great sparkling carbonation that not only is refreshing but will cleanse the pallete of thick BBQ sauces and pasta/potato salads.
9. Landshark Lager – I first had this refreshing Lager on a 105 degree day in Las Vegas. This is a perfect summer session beer. This larger is crisp, clean and satisfying and is a perfect beer to ice down by the six-pack in a bucket. The perfect cooler companion.
8. Saison Dupont Farmhouse Ale– Perfect for those scorching August nights. This beer is very dry and crisp with a lot of characteristics of a Sauvignon Blanc. During those moonlit summer nights this is the beer to be shared with someone special. Dupont’s caged, corked finished bottle will add a little class to your special evening.
7. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – You can go home again. Admit it this is the beer that started you off on your journey into the world of microbrews. Now that you have trained and sharpened your palette this is the perfect time to rediscover this classic.
6. Pabst Blue Ribbon – I have a cold can of PBR in my hand right now as I write this. This 2006 Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal winner is so under rated. Not only is this a hoppy American style lager it is inexpensive. At $15 dollars per 30 pack it is a perfect beer to fill you cooler to the brim. Available in 12 ounce cans it is an awesome companion for the golf course or beach.
5. Sam Adams Summer Ale – This is a great American style wheat beer. What makes this beer stand out among the throng of American Wheat Beers is grains of paradise, a rare pepper from Africa. The lemon zest makes this beer a no brainer to pair with grilled lemon pepper chicken or shrimp on the barbie.
4. Ommegang Witte Ale – This is a light Belgian style wheat beer with tart citrus flavors and a touch of coriander. This beer is best paired with a fresh citrus fruit salad. Throw some chilled grapefruit, orange and tangerine in a bowl with some mandarin oranges now you have the perfect companion for this great beer.
3. Harpoon Summer – The classic Kolsch Ale. It has the body and color of a pilsner, with the fruit esters of ale. I call this beer the crowd pleaser. It is light enough to appeal to American Lager drinkers and has more than enough flavor to satisfy any beer geek or even snob. Harppon summer is also great with all of your outdoor fare. Harpoon Summer matches up just as well with a New England Clambake as it does with burgers and dogs.
2. Stone Cali-Belgique IPA – What can I say, Stone does it again. This is a huge American IPA with Belgian yeast. When I say huge I want you to understand this beer is coming at you at 77 IBU’s. Cali-Belgique is not only the hoppiest of our summer drinking list it is the strongest. This beer is weighing in at 6.9%, not quite an IIPA but with the IBUs an alcohol by volume Stone Brewing Co. could have given this beer that moniker. The spiciness of the Belgium yeast playing off of the Chinook hops makes this a very interesting summer sipper.
1. Erdinger Weissbier – This is a classic German style wheat beer. This is a cloudy beer due to the fact it is unfiltered and bottle conditioned. Banana and spice aromas are obvious in the aroma of this beer along with a touch of grass and lemon. Traditionally this style of beer is served with a lemon slice. Ignore the status quo and go with an orange slice or a wedge of grapefruit. Better yet cut up a bowl of mixed fresh melons. Some cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon mixed in a bowl with a bit of pineapple are the perfect back deck companion for this great brew.
There are my ten. I wouldn’t call it a top ten but it is close. If my summer drinking is truncated to 10 beers there is something wrong going on. I could easily have 10 different beers this summer from Sam Adams, Victory or Stone Brewing Company alone. Still I hope this gives you a good start on your summer drinking.