Beer Revere: Top 10 Summer Beers
Summer ushers in hazy days and long evenings; bringing with its sunny disposition an urge to see friends and spend time putting the world to rights over a cold beer. This time of year is one of my favourite at Hop Hideout as it often means the abundance of pale ales, saisons and lager beer styles available to enjoy. I’m also a big fan of sour beers like gueuze this time of year as their sparkling carbonation really works with those oily and salty elements often found on the BBQ menu. All of these styles scream sunshine, so I’ve hand-picked a few suggestions for you to search out.
1. Wiper and True: Small Beer no. 11 (2.7%): Bristol based newbies managing to effortlessly hit a low abv whilst keeping bags of flavour. Full bodied from it’s addition of oats, tons of citrus and tropical fruit flavours from the combination of hops used in the brew including Galaxy and Palisade. Ideal as a starter beer to your summer evening.
Fourpure: Dry Hop Pils (4.7%): Pilsner meets hops and lots of them in this big US pint sized canned beer from London based Fourpure. The hops used take you on a journey across the globe from the noble notes of Czech Republic Saaz to the herbal and spicy highs of US Sterling with additional layers of apricot from the Australian Summer hop and lively lemon flavours from New Zealand’s Motueka. Chill this one right down (4-7C) to enjoy its super crisp nature.
Cloudwater: Lager (5.5%): Specialising in modern and seasonal beers this Manchester outfit have hit the ground running with their fresh take on classic styles. This beer has been lagered for fifty days and dry hopped with UK varieties Admiral, Pilgrim and Pioneer, ensuring a proper kick of flavour with honey and herbal notes. A chilled lager on a hot summer day can’t be beaten in terms of refreshment. It’s great to see smaller UK craft breweries focusing on this style and amping it up to something special.
Siren: Love of Work (3.6%): Head brewer Ryan Witter-Merithew pushed the boundaries at Berkshire based Siren (he’s recently left to work at Hill Farmstead) and always managed to come up with combinations that seamlessly work together. Here he’s taken an idea forged on a trip to America’s Hill Farmstead Brewery and interpreted it back in the UK. It’s a light hoppy blonde ale brewed with Earl Grey tea then dry hopped with Amarillo, Citra and Centennial making a decidedly juicy, moreish, bitter tinged and harmonious beer.
Brass Castle: Yorkshire Wit (5.2%): This is a gently spiced Yorkshire take on a classic Belgian style witbier. With its use of wheat and oats in the malt bill plus orange peel, coriander and nutmeg, but quietly done, in a way that just accentuates the taste with another citrus dimension. A gentle carbonation and its aromatic and fruity nature is an ideal barbeque companion boosting spicy grilled sausages with the coriander partnering naturally to those savoury notes.
Buxton: Axe Rocks (6.4%): Dark beers like stout and porter are to be drunk all year round, sometimes they can be forgotten about in the heat of the glowing sun. This one from Buxton is a little of a compromise as it’s a black ale meets IPA – so there’s a roasted flavour from the dark malts and heaps of citrus and grapefruit notes from the hops. After a few pale ales and lagers I find a beer with some boldness is good to add variety to your palate. The dark malts also work beautifully adding depth to smoked foods think Moroccan spiced lamb and roasted tomato skewers on the grill.
Beavertown: Quelle (4.1%): Inspired by a classic Belgian farmhouse style ale – saison; typically brewed in the quieter winter months to quench the thirst of farm workers during the long hours of summer days. It’s a style that is synonymous with providing refreshment. If you’ve never tried one before and like golden ales this London saison is worth a punt – zesty lemon, light, dry, spicy, some floral notes and hugely drinkable.
Lagunitas: Daytime Ale (4.6%): Classic American paired down IPA, dipping into what’s often cited as a session IPA – or in Lagunitas’ words a ‘fractional IPA’, which essentially means a lower abv but with the same powerful US Cali hop flavours. Summer in a glass, enough said.
Kees: Pale Ale Citra (4.6%): Citra is one of those loved hops and Kees Bubberman is one of those loved brewers. This Dutch man has just left Emelisse, moving from there to head up his own brewery. This golden, light, pale ale showcases the intense citrus and lychee fruit flavours of this hop and is a stunning beer for sipping in the sun.
Girardin: Gueuze (white label) (5%): This small family-owned lambic brewery located near Brussels in Belgium since the mid 1880s are hugely well respected and produce fantastic sour beers. The white label gueuze can be purchased in smaller 25cl bottles and is perfect for those trying this style for the first time. Notes of lemon and green apples ooze from this beer with effervescence characteristic of a Prosecco or Champagne. It’s not a super sour puckering beer more a gentle tartness, dry and acidic and ideal to match with salty and fatty barbeque foods.
Jules Gray is a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers, she has been writing about beer for Exposed since 2012 and heads up the award winning Hop Hideout, a specialist beer shop situated in Sheffield’s Antiques Quarter at 448 Abbeydale Road. www.hophideout.co.uk