Eight Favored Summer Seasonal Beers

Victory Summer Love Ale

A crisp and hoppy blonde ale, a bit bitter, yet oh-so refreshing, Victory Summer Love Ale is a summertime favorite across the country. She has the familiar taste of German pilsner malts, ending with a pop of lemon that stem from American and German whole flower hops. Brewed by the Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, PA, Victory Summer Love Ale contains 5.2% alcohol by volume. She’s best served in a lager glass, and pairs well with chicken, pizza, and spicy Mexican dishes. If you love bright flavors and citrusy finishes, you’ll fall in love with this Ale. For her complete profile, visit www.victorybeer.com.

Sierra Nevada Kellerwies

Hot summer days call for a classic hefeweizen beer, such as Sierra Nevada Kellerwies, with its smooth malt flavor that is sure to satisfy. With an origin in Chico, CA, Kellerwies pours a frothy head and a hazy amber color, created using the traditional Bavarian-style open fermentation, adding depth and flavor complexity. The beer is best served by pouring two-thirds into a pint glass, swirling gently, and then pouring in the remainder. It’s Perle and Sterling hops and Two-Row Pale, Wheat, and Munich malts make this beer a great companion to a spring garden salad, fresh strawberries, cheese, and German cuisine. For more information on this classic summer beer, please visit www.sierranevada.com.

Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale

First released as a summer seasonal brew in 2008, Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale quickly became a fan-favorite, a golden beer to return year after year. The Petaluma, CA brewery describes its Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ as a cross between a wheat beer and an American IPA, brewed with three different types of wheat and Centennial, Cascade, and Citra hops. The hops compliment the apricot, peach, pine, clove, rose petal, and spice flavors absolutely perfectly. The refreshing taste pairs well with anything grilled outside on a warm summer day. For a little Sumpin’ more, visit Lagunitas website at www.lagunitas.com.

Harpoon Summer Beer

A German-inspired Kolsch-style beer brewed in Vermont since 1999, Harpoon Summer Beer is light and refreshing, with a crisp taste. Kolsch ales have characteristics of lager beers but are brewed with an ale yeast, giving it a straw-gold color and mild flavor. Harpoon recommends serving this beer in a small, straight glass—the ones circulated among Koln, Germany’s beer halls. It pairs well with a wide variety of foods, from salads to self-speared seafood. With 5.0% alcohol by volume, it is the perfect refreshment for any summertime activity. Enjoy the outdoors and visit www.harpoonbrewery.com for more information.

Anchor Summer Beer

San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Company  has been rolling out its Summer Beer for over 30 years—a tried and true American-style filtered wheat beer. It’s crisp and clean flavors are due to the fact that over 50 percent of its grain bill being malted wheat, which produces a fluffy head of foam and a mild taste. The fermenting process includes ale yeast, which compliments the malted wheat and adds to the light flavor. So enjoy the ocean breeze, kick off your boat shoes, and pop open a cold one. Find out more about this 4.5 percent alcohol by volume beverage at www.anchorbrewing.com.

Saranac Shandy

Looking for a unique summer beer? One unlike any other? Try Saranac Shandy—a mix of a light lager and real lemonade (The kind made with squeezed lemon juice, water, and sugar!).  The New York brewery uses North American Pale Malt to give the beer its golden color, and paired with the lemonade, the beverage is crisp and refreshing with a lemony aroma and sweet taste. It’s the perfect BBQ beverage, pairing well with anything grilled, cheeses, and key lime pie. For more information about this summertime favorite, please visit www.saranac.com.

Anderson Valley Summer Solstice

Looking for something special to enjoy after dinner, when the sun begins to set? The Anderson Valley Summer Solstice, from Boonville, CA, is a seasonal ale with hints of vanilla and toffee, resembling the taste of cream soda. A copper-colored ale, its smooth, malty, and slightly sweet, with a hint of spice that lingers. Best drunk from a lager glass, it pairs well with dishes containing sweet sauces. It also makes a nice beer float with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Never sterile filtered or heat pasteurized, learn more about this 5.0% alcoholic beverage from www.avbc.com.

Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils

Hey there, now why don’t ya try Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils? From Longmont, CO, it’s a crisp and dry pilsner known for being a beach-bound fave (It also pairs well with light fish!). Little Yella Pils is made in small batches, built with 100 percent pure pale and German malt and Saaz hops. It has a gently hoppy flavor and a low ABV: just 5.3 percent. Take advice from Oskar Blues Mama and relish in the summer weather with some Yella Pils—you won’t regret it. Gotta know more? Visit www.oskarblues.com.

Carbomb Creation

irish-car-bombA Carbomb is a popular Irish drink, especially around St. Patrick’s Day.  It was created in 1979 by Charles B. Oat, retired bartender and current instructor of the CT School of Bartending, where I received my license.  During the last class, he always proudly tells his story:

It was a follow up to a shot he created in 1977 on St. Patrick’s Day.  The original shot (Bailey’s, Kahlua, and Jameson’s) was called a Grandfather because it was to toast to the many grandfathers in Irish history.  Charlie created this famous concoction behind the bar of Wilson’s Saloon, located in Norwich, CT.  However, the shot’s name soon changed to “IRA” because as you add the whiskey to the shot of Bailey’s and Kahlua, it bubbles up like an explosion.

In the midst of celebrating St. Patty’s Day at the saloon, and after downing a few shots chased with Guiness, the idea came up to actually drop the shot into the glass of Guinness.  “Bombs away!” was the last thing Oat said before he dropped his first shot, giving the drink its new name of “Irish Carbomb” or “Carbomb,” in other company.

For a while, the drink languished in Connecticut but was spread across the United States by the many Navy personnel who frequently visited Wilson’s Saloon.  Many years later, the drink became world renown because of the Guinness Corporation’s marketing blitz in the late 80s and early 90s.

Irish or not, it is a fun drink to try.

Here is the recipe:

½ oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream

½ oz. Kahlua

½ oz. Jameson’s

Pour into a shot glass.  (This is an IRA.)

Serve along with a half-filled pint glass of Guinness.

Serving a Proper Pint of Beer

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Pouring a beer correctly with the right amount of foam is a difficult task, and it took me quite some time to learn.

The right collar of foam is an essential part of the beer’s appeal to presentation and taste. It should be golden and perfectly carbonated, topped with a nice collar of foam. A properly poured glass of beer releases the right amount of carbon dioxide which makes it less filling.

The size of the head is determined by the angle at which you hold the glass under the beer faucet at the beginning of the draw. If you hold the glass straight, the beer will end up with a thick head, but it the glass is tilted sharply so that the beer flows down the side of the glass, the head will be short.

For a proper head in a round-bottom glass:

  1. Don’t tilt the glass, but place it straight up under the tap.
  2. Grasp the tap handle at the base and open the faucet all the way.
  3. This should top your beer with a ½” to 1” collar of foam.

For a proper head in a flat-bottom glass:

1. Hold the glass tilted slightly, but do not let it touch the beer faucet.

2. Open the faucet all the way, grasping the tap handle at the base.

3. Straighten the glass as the beer pours.

4. This should top your beer with a ½” to ¾” collar of foam.

TIP: Pulling the tap handle from the top will open the faucet too slowly and draw foamy beer.

The result? An eye-appealing, refreshing glass of your favorite beer.