Thursday, December 12, 2013
As a craft beer drinker, I am always on the look out for the new, the novel, the hard-to-find. Sometimes, I forget that there are beers available that have been around a while and just work, no questions asked. When they are made by bigger brewers or show up on the shelf at the supermarket, it's easy for me to find reasons to pass them by for the next newest release. While doing some beer and cheese tastings, I picked up a few lighter beers to use for research, and three of them gave me pause because they were just what I was looking for - but on an average day I might not have stopped to try them at all.
1. Harpoon Summer Beer
I am not sure how long Harpoon has been brewing this beer, but I am almost certain I hadn't tried it before I picked it up at Hannaford. It is a Kölsch, which is a somewhat rare German beer style that's slowly creeping back into our palates. Kölsch beers like Harpoon Summer pour a clear golden color, and have a lot of biscuty flavors in both the aroma and in the taste. What makes this one special is that it finishes slightly sweetly, almost a tiny bit of fruit, but its creamy texture makes this easy to drink with absolutely anything. If you are fatigued by the typical lemony or spiced generic "summer" beer this is where you should turn your taste buds instead. It is quenching, and would go great with any food. As a bonus, it comes in bottles or cans, so you can take this with you to your summer destinations.
2. Smuttynose Vunderbar Pilsner
Like the Harpoon, this lighter style of beer is not only affiliated with summer, but there are elements to it that just work very well when the temperature starts to rise. It pours clear and finishes cleanly and crisply, leaving you both satisfied and wanting another sip. The Saaz hops are slightly spicy, but not so strong that this can't be a great compliment to a meal.It's been a little hard to find in town art the summer is beginning to wane, but if you see it, it is a great choice for those end-of-August days ahead.
3. Founders All-Day IPA
So you like it hoppy. Here's your answer for times when hops are the only thing that can cure your summer fever. This used to be a seasonal beer (available from April to August), but will start being brewed year round this fall. The best part of this brew - besides its sharp and strong hoppy profile - is that it's a only 4.7% ABV so you can have several while you're sitting on your porch or lighting up the grill. Like Harpoon's Summer beer, this has been released in cans as well, and this beer has the potential to be a go-to beer because it can also travel everywhere. Personally, I enjoy that it always tastes very fresh, it finishes clean and relieves any hop cravings that might sneak up on me.
Do you have any unsung heroes of summer to share? Let us know in the comments.Tweet
Carla Companion is a craft beer lover and investigator of all things beer. She started a craft beer website and blog thebeerbabe.com in 2007, sharing her thoughts as she explored what was new in beer, as well as brewery visits, trips and "beer adventures." Moving to Portland in 2009, she found herself surrounded by the Maine beer community and has been exploring it ever since.
In her blog, Carla profiles craft beer (and some mead and cider, too) being brewed in Maine, as well as looks into the people, places and stories behind the beer that makes the community so vibrant. Join Carla on her beer adventures and advice on where to get the best, newest, and most interesting fermented drinks around.
Carla can be contacted at askthebeerbabe [at] gmail.com or on twitter at @beerbabe.