July 15th, 2011

The First Sip: Summertime and the Sippin’s Easy

It’s so damn hot… milk was a poor choice! But beer, my friends… beer is never a poor choice! What better way to fend off the dog days than with a cold refreshing pint? And with the weather, our favorite breweries are releasing all their summer brews for our liking. These beers are typically lighter bodied, drier and easier drinking. After all, a thick, sweet stout doesn’t really sound like it hits the spot when sitting on the patio in the Texas heat.

So while you’re out looking for a summer libation, here’s a few for you to check out:

Saint Arnold Summer Pils
Let’s kick this list off local. If you are beer person, you have probably tried Summer Pils. If you aren’t a craft beer person… try Summer Pils. I can almost guarantee that you will like it. This beer is a Bohemian Pilsner style lager. With it’s light body and smooth, yet slightly bready flavor, there is nothing about this beer that doesn’t translate to the perfect summer back porch beer.

Brooklyn Summer Ale
This beer is a new favorite of Pauldo’s, and an example of a fine summer ale that is a little nontraditional. This beer is a “Light Dinner Ale” style, which is basically a lighter version of an English Pale Ale. Whereas this beer is light and refreshing, its style still allows it some flavor depth from the English malts and earthy English hops. It’s a nice mix in a summer dominated by lagers and wheat beers.

Shiner Ruby Redbird
This one is a new summer seasonal by that little brewery in Shiner. It’s a lager beer with some flavorings added in. In this case it’s red grapefruit and ginger. The beer is light and you can definitely smell the grapefruit, but the flavor is much more mellow than the aroma. The beer finishes with a kick of ginger, so if you aren’t a ginger fan, you may be put off of this one, but the combination of flavors is an interesting experience.

Victory Summer Love Ale
Victory Brewing Company gives us a light blonde ale to beat the heat. I can’t attest to having this one, but the website description describes the hops as adding a “burst of lemony refreshment”. Sounds quite tasty… if I do say so, myself.

Harpoon Summer Ale
Another ale for our summer drinking. This one is a Kolsch style ale. Kolsch is a German “hybrid” style of beer, meaning that it is made with ale yeast, but has characteristics closer to a lager beer. Basically, even though it’s an ale, it’s brewed to be lighter bodied and more crisp than an ale. It’s an unassuming ale with moderate hop levels just enough to enhance the crisp nature of the flavor.

Sierra Nevada Summerfest
Back to lager beer we go. This one is a very refreshing pilsner-style lager. I love this beer and find it to be one of the most refreshing lagers I’ve ever had. It’s a very smooth beer with just enough hops to make it refreshing without being too grassy or bitter. This beer is a personal favorite when I’m lounging by the pool getting’ my bronze on.

Leinenkugels Summer Shandy
From the northwoods of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin comes this gem of a summer beer. If you like a nice citrusy, fruity wheat beer, look no further. This wheat beer is light and refreshing with a nice kick of lemon and citrusy flavors just enough to make you say, “Ahhhh!” Leine’s does it right by giving you just enough fruit to make it flavorful, but not enough to make you feel like you are drinking lemonade beer.

Abita Wheat
Our Cajun neighbors bring us a nice mix of a beer. This is a wheat beer, but unlike a traditional wheat beer, this one is a lager and not an ale. That being said, you will get a nice wheat beer with a much lighter body that makes for a nice mix in the Texas or Louisiana heat.

Breckenridge Summerbright Ale
This one is an American Wheat style beer. American Wheat beers are like normal wheat beers, but the flavors are very muted, if not drown out all together. The result… a very basic, no frills beer. Summerbright is just that. It’s a very plain beer that goes down easy without much else in the way. A nice beer to have after a long day of working in the sun, perhaps.

Rahr Summertime Wheat
Here we have an unfiltered, lightly hopped German Hefeweizen. What makes a German hefe different than a regular wheat beer, you ask? A German hefe has some unique clove and banana flavors that derive from the yeast. Though still refreshing, expect a little more body and some more flavor contributions than your typical wheat beer.

Well, there’s a few to get you started. There are a handful more, but for the most part, you are dealing with wheat beers, wit beers and lagers with the occasional pale ale thrown in the mix. The takeaway lesson here is that summer beers are going to be something light and easy to drink, so enjoy a few on the patio (or in the nice air conditioned comfort of your local pub).

Until next time, stay crafty, my friends!


— Jeff


Jay — Monday, July 18, 2011 4:07 pm

The Victory Summer Love is pretty hard to find, but I picked up a sixer at Spec’s downtown on Saturday.

Jeff — Monday, July 18, 2011 5:27 pm

Jay – How was it? Haven’t had it.

Melanie — Tuesday, August 9, 2011 11:29 am

Can anyone tell me where I can find Leinenkugels Summer Shandy? I just relocated to Houston and I can’t find it anywhere near the Galleria area. Thanks.

Jeff — Tuesday, August 9, 2011 11:39 am

Specs or HEB are your best bet. Unfortunately, it may be out of rotation by now. Summer Shandy is the summer seasonal and it’s typically only available up to August. Given that it’s time for the Oktoberfest beers to make their debut, I’d guess that Summer Shandy is just about tapped out here in Houston. I could be wrong, though.

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