Posts tagged ‘summer’

Leinenkugel’s: Lemon Berry Shandy

By popular request (meaning my dad asked me to) I present to you my review of Leinenkugel’s newest (and year-round!) shandy: Lemon Berry Shandy. As my regular readers know I am a HUGE fan of Summer Shandy. The beginning of Shandy Season is the highlight of my May. Or as was the case earlier this year, the highlight of my February 29th. Despite my love of that lemonade beer from Chippewa Falls, I hadn’t yet picked up some of this new brew. Possibly because I had only been able to find it in 12 packs and I’m just not that interested in 12 beers I may or may not like. But I found a six pack two weeks ago, and now I’ve finally gotten some time to drink one!

Style: Fruit/Vegetable Beer. This is really an unfortunate category because it lumps Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (not that great) with New Glarus Raspberry Tart (amazing.) And it includes everything in between. Basically, these beers taste like the fruit or veggie added to them and there isn’t much else in terms of malt or hops to speak of.

Overall Impression: Do you like lemon? Do you like berries? Do you like them even more together? This is like the Powerthirst (warning-video link) of berry lemonade. Honestly, I didn’t like it as much as Summer Shandy but it wasn’t bad. Definitely more of a summer beer than a fall. Also, it tasted like a Honey Bear (Berry Weiss + Summer Shandy) and while this, being in one bottle instead of two, is certainly cheaper, I wanted something new and a little more different.

Appearance: Ooo! It’s pink! Okay, well, it’s pink-amber but hey, close enough. Head dissipates very quickly. Cloudy–basically looks like you put Berry Weiss and Summer Shandy together. I think Leinie’s might be trying to capitalize on the Honey Bear phenomenon.

Aroma: Kinda smells like lemon cleaner–same as Summer Shandy. It’s VERY lemony. And then you are hit with BERRY! (See what I mean about this being like Powerthirst? Read my all caps type in the voiceover style.) It also kind of smells like an Astro Pop shot (Smirnoff Ice + grenadine, drop in a shot of UV blue–awesome.)

Taste: Berry! And lemon! And….not much else.

Mouthfeel: Light, lots of carbonation. It pretty much feels like it should.

Try this if you like: Summer Shandy (I mean, they’re basically the same), Leinie’s Berry Weiss, Naked Dove Berry Naked (hands-down the best fruit beer I’ve ever had), New Glarus Raspberry Tart (not quite a beer…but SO GOOD)

3 stars

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End of Summer: Otter Creek Brewing-Otter Summer

Even though it’s probably going to be about 90 degrees today, I’m doing my last summer beer review until probably next April or May. So here we go, with Otter Creek Brewing‘s Otter Summer.

Otter Creek Brewing is a Vermont-based brewery (apparently I really like Vermont beer) and by the beer selection on the website, it appears to be pretty small. There are 3 year-round brews and 3-seasonal brews (a Summer, Oktoberfest, and Winter.) I’d like to get my hands on the Oktoberfest, but for now, let’s talk about the Summer!

Style: American Wheat Characterized by a light golden color, high carbonation, and moderate bitterness. Not very fruity.

Overall Impression: All bite and no bark. Since this is a summer beer, I was expecting a little bit of fruitiness. It would have been a great balance to the otherwise hoppy flavor. Then again, it is pretty true to the style Otter Creek claims they are going for.

Appearance: Light golden in color, with easily visible carbonation bubbles. Little to no head retention.

Aroma: Mild hoppy scent, not much else to smell here.

Taste: Mostly hops. Not overly bitter, but there isn’t much else to taste here.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean.

Try this if you like: Sam Adam’s Summer Ale, Bell’s Oberon.

Brooklyn Brewery: Summer Ale

Yes, yes, I know. It’s August, and that means the Oktoberfest brews are coming out…and here I am reviewing a summer ale. Well, it was 80 degrees in Chicago today so I feel justified. Plus…this beer was really good. But you all have to wait till next April to get it. 😛

Tonight’s selection comes from the Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, NY. This summer ale is available from April through July, and I definitely recommend picking one up when you can.



Style: English Pale Ale. I’m not convinced EPA is the best descriptor of the style of this beer, because it is not as bitter as one might imagine, but it works. These are characterized by good clarity, good head retention, and gold to reddish color.

Overall Impression: First thought: “Wow! This is really good!” And that impression continued throughout. It’s a great summer beer: refreshing and would be good in a session.

Appearance: Clear golden color, good head retention. The above picture was taken about 5 minutes after I poured it.

Smell: Very nice fruity/hoppy/spicy/malty aroma. Characteristic of EPAs.

Taste: Quite good! It is crisp but not overly bitter, and has a slight lemony taste. You can also taste the malt, and it is really quite excellent.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with an almost creamy texture.

Try this if you like: Boddington’s Pub Ale, Samuel Adam’s Summer Ale

4 stars

 

 

Magic Hat: Wacko

My last “build-your-own-sixpack” adventure to Wegman’s ended with a good selection of summer seasonals, and here’s the first.

“Wacko”, by Magic Hat Brewing Company, is a very interesting beer. For starters, check out this beautiful red color!

Okay, so it looks a little less red here, but let me tell you, when I poured it, I was not expecting it to be the reddish gold hue that I got. The second interesting thing about Wacko is the taste. It is a fruit-hop duet almost in perfect balance. But I could not identify the fruit. Examination of the bottle revealed beet juice as an ingredient, so maybe that’s where the fruit taste came from.

Wacko finishes clean, with a crisp taste, and virtually no aftertaste. It was definitely a refreshing thirst-quencher, and isn’t that all you really want out of a summer beer?

Try this if you like: fruity summer beers, i.e. Ithaca’s Apricot Wheat, Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss, Naked Dove’s Berry Naked, or Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche

4 stars

Dogfish Head: Festina Pêche

Dogfish Head is probably one of America’s best craft breweries–not necessarily because everything they brew is fantastic, but because they are willing to try new and exciting things. Sometimes they succeed in incredible ways. Bitches Brew, anyone? Unfortunately, sometimes they also fall short, like tonight’s selection.

Festina Peche did just about everything a BerlinerWeisse beer is supposed to do–I just didn’t like it. Too much peach and not enough of anything else.

And the bottle was so pretty too...

Festina Peche is a mildly cloudy, golden yellow beer brewed with peach extract in the BerlinerWeisse style, which basically means an intensely sour light beer. Traditionally these beers are served with raspberry syrup to combat the tartness, but the extremely strong peach flavor more than eliminates the need for extra sweetness.

The aroma is VERY peachy–it was a little overpowering. The taste of peach was also a little overpowering. According to Dogfish Head, the beer is “delicately hopped”, which evidently means you won’t taste any bitterness whatsoever. I really could have gone for just a hint of hops. Something to combat the peach.

Did I mention peach? That’s really the only word you need to describe this beer. Ignoring the intense flavor, which by the end was making me a little nauseous, Festina Peche did have some good points. It’s incredibly smooth–almost silky, in fact. It is also highly carbonated, but low in %ABV (only 4.5), so it’s a good summer refresher.

I really, really didn’t like the taste of this one, but based on what I know about the style, it does what it is supposed to do–so I’ll give it a higher rating than I really want to.

Try this if you like: Bell’s Oarsman, New Belgium Lips of Faith

Smuttynose Brewing Company: Star Island Single

Today’s selection is from a brewery new to the blog: the Smuttynose Brewing Company. Located in Portsmouth, NH, it’s been around for a short 17 years. But if the Star Island Single is any indication, these (relative) newbies are good at what they do.

This medium-bodied golden session ale has a distinctly fruity aroma. It is clear and smooth, with the slight taste of hops balanced by fruit and honey flavors. It finishes crisp and dry, which made me just want to drink more of it! It was incredibly refreshing for being so crisp. I would definitely drink this on a hot summer day. It was also ranked #5 in the 2010 U.S. Open Beer Championship in its category.

Try this if you like: very drinkable beers (see my Summer Shandy review), beers that aren’t too bitter

Tröegs Brewing Company: Sunshine Pils

Three posts in a row! Today for your reading and drinking pleasure we’ve got Sunshine Pils, a summer seasonal from the Tröegs Brewing Company in Harrisburg, PA.  As you might have gathered from the name, Sunshine Pils is a European Pilsner–with a bit of a hoppy kick!

Sunshine Pils is a lovely golden color with a decent head (if you pour it properly.) It has a slight citrus aroma, and a slightly less citrus taste. You can definitely taste the hops in this one, but the bitterness isn’t overpowering. Sunshine Pils is crisp and refreshing, a good summer beer, but one you should probably have with food–especially if you’re not the biggest fan of hops. Because it’s a lighter beer, it is easier to drink…but you’ll probably be thirstier afterwards.

Try this if you like: other pilsners, IPAs