4 Summer Beers
Now that we’ve made it through the cold winter and rainy spring, it’s time to turn our attention to warm-weather entertainment and festivities. That’s right, it’s finally summer!
With rising temperatures and outside gatherings of family and friends, it’s important to find refreshing and versatile beverages that will please a wide audience and pair well with a variety of foods. While wheat beers, lagers and even pale ales might do the trick, some of the best options are traditional saisons, or farmhouse ale.
A saison, the French word for season, was traditionally brewed in the autumn or winter for consumption by farm workers in late summer during the harvest. While the flavor profile, color, alcohol and conditioning of the brews can vary, traditionally the beer was quite rustic, with the addition of a significant amount of hops and spices, moderate alcohol (between 5–8% abv) and some degree of bottle conditioning.
The Belgian yeast strain typically used provides a distinct foundation, while flavors of wild organisms, especially Brettanomyces, are often present, with varying degrees of intensity, dependent on the brewery’s style.
Domestic brewers are experimenting with nontraditional American hop varieties for additional layers of aroma and flavor.
Originally brewed for consumption within the year, selections today offer such depth and complexity—and perhaps a bit more brett influence—that they cellar well. Age will take these beers from fresh hop and primary fruit characteristics to nuanced, earthy selections of intrigue.
Wonderfully complex, spicy and refreshing, there’s no better way to welcome a new season.