Spring is in full force across the country, which means one very important thing. Many of America’s finest microbreweries’ summer seasonal offerings are hitting the shelves at your local megamart. Today, we’re taking a look at some of the best summer seasonals around, focusing on the West Coast. First, a word on seasonal brews.
Unlike the traditional American beer giants (Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Coors), many microbreweries change their offerings with the change in the seasons. Summer beers, of course, tend to be lighter in color and body, with a focus on refreshment. In the fall, rich ambers with a malty, full-bodied profile become available, while in the winter, dark styles like porters and stouts appear, full of chocolate and coffee-like flavors.
Next week we’ll preview the East Coast’s selection of summer brews, so don’t fret if you can’t get your hands on the beers featured below. For those of you who can, though, you’re in for a treat. To the beer!
Alaskan Summer Ale
Alaskan Brewing Co. (Juneau, AK) puts out a wide selection of excellent beer year-round, and is best nown for its Alaskan Amber. However, Alaskan Summer Ale is, in my opinion, the best brew from this notable microbrewery. Alaskan Summer is a Kolsch – a traditional German styl e originating in Cologne. With its light body and excellent balance between malt and hops, Alaskan Summer is the quintessential “session beer.” It’s easy to knock back more than one!
Where to get it: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming.
Another summer brew from a brewery better known for another offering, Skinny Dip (New Belgium Brewing – Fort Collins, CO) is a lesser-known sibling of one of America’s favorite microbrews: Fat Tire. Like many summer brews, Skinny Dip is light-bodied with a citrusy flavor profile that’s very light on hops. Skinny Dip’s calling card is a rare ingredient – kaffir lime leaf. Kaffir limes originated in southeast Asia and impart an acidic, somewhat astringent flavor that is highly refreshing. Take a cooler full of Skinny Dip on a hike, or to the beach – you’ll be glad you did!
Where to get it: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
If you’re looking a special summer offering that’s a bit more complex and sophisticated than the typical light, citrus-based summer brew, try Twlight Ale from Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR). With its golden, straw-like color and fluffy white head, this may look like a lot of other summer ales. However, unlike many of its beer cousins, Twilight Ale maintains a serious hop presence, with almost twice as many IBUs (International Bitterness Units) as the Alaskan Summer Ale mentioned above. If you’re looking for a summer ale that’s full-flavored without having to make the jump into IPA territory, for example, Twilight Ale is a great option.
Where to get it: Alaska, Arizona, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming
If you are looking to refresh yourself with a great selection of beer, check out our beer of the month club.