June/July 2007

Summer Beers

It's that time of year (Thank God!!) for the Boys of Summer. No, not those baseball player boys,
but our beer taster boys - taking swigs (not swings, get it?) of our collection of summer beers.
Some were base hits, while others went out of the park! What do we mean when we say
“summer beers?” Traditionally they do not possess the “big” flavors of stouts, porters or IPAs. Consumers will be looking for lightness in flavor, color and body. Basically the type of beer
you want to drink while fishing or relaxing in a hammock. Breweries submitted their summer offerings, some doing their own thing with disregard for the usual pilsner or wheat beer styles.
This made for an interesting evening for the tasters.

The Place:
Buffalo Brew Pub, Williamsville, NY

The Tasters:
Hop Jack, The Magistrate, Dr. Gareth, and new-comer Gerg

The Beers:

Magic Hat Hocus Pocus (Wheat Ale)
5 Bartlett Bay Road, South Burlington, Vermont 05403

Avg Rating: 5.25

This beer was a good start, as it was very mild. The tasters used words like “refreshing,” “light,” and “very drinkable.” Hop Jack noticed the well-balanced flavor, and Gerg said it was “perfect for the deck.” It was a little to “watery” for Gareth; he thought it was “perfect for high school students.” The Magistrate warned it should be “well-chilled for summer.”

Berghoff Solstice (Belgian Wit)
#119, 1919-27 Ave. NE, Calgary, Alberta T2E 7E4

Avg Rating: 7.5

“Trix are for kids!” Gerg smelled lemon Trix (as in the cereal) in the nose, which carried over to a citrus sweet flavor. This had the cloudiness of a traditional Belgian witbier along with banana and orange flavors and smell. This wit was nice for summer, as the flavors were relaxed, but still interesting; distinctive yet not over-powering.

New Glarus Totally Naked (Lager)
Cty Trk W & Hwy. 69, New Glarus, Wisconsin 53574

Avg Rating: 4.5

Gareth noted that the taste of this beer had a “fruit loop” quality. The tasters thought it tasted like “One step up from the big boys light efforts.” - Hop Jack. Meaning, this would be good for the usual commercial American pilsner drinker. Gerg felt the taste was stronger than the nose suggested. This would be a good “funnel beer - for the frat boys.”

Full Sail #2 (Special Lager)
506 Columbia Street, Hood River, Oregon 97031

Avg Rating: 5.25

The panel felt this beer was more like a märzen or Octoberfest than a summer beer. Heavy malt flavors predominated. When thinking of it as a summer beer, the panel was a little confused, but once they figured out the more märzen-like qualities, they enjoyed it. Gerg likened it to a romantic comedy - enjoyable, but not something that he'd seek out. The Magistrate noted that someone trying out new beers would like it.

Anderson Valley Summer Solstice (Cream Ale)
P.O. Box 505 - 17700 Hwy 253, Boonville, California 95415-0505
707-895-BEER or 800-207-BEER

Avg Rating: 5.5

“Jack it up, and we'd have something to talk about - this winter!” Hop Jack commented right off the bat. Strong caramel and cream flavors in this beer were pleasant, but Gareth felt died out quickly. This beer would be “perfect for a beer float” - Gerg, as it is sweet and tasty. However, the panel felt the flavors were too heavy for a summer beer.

Penn Weizen (Bavarian Weiss)
800 Vinial Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15212

Avg Rating: 8

This beer scored well as a classic German-style wheat beer. All the pieces were there - cloudy in appearance; light in color; banana, orange, spice and even bubble gum flavors in the taste and the nose. “If you like wheat beers, then this is it!” - The Magistrate. Gareth commented he “could drink it all day.”


Mad River Extra Pale Ale
195 Taylor Way, Blue Lake, California 95525

Avg Rating: 6.25

Hop Jack noted the perfumed nose and called it a “lawn mowing beer.” It had all the characteristics, but was something of an APA light. Appropriate for summer, and the hops flavors were good. The Magistrate would drink more that one, and so would Gerg - but the latter only while smoking a joint.


--- by Kelly Kroese, Beer Beacon columnist

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