Friday, June 20, 2008

Beers of Summer: Part Wheat

With all the pent-up excitement of a new season starting line-up, breweries are releasing their summer beers. Refreshing and quaffable, these beers are made with the leisurely pursuits of summer in mind. Here’s a very loose guide to style and sometimes looser guide to what the coop is carrying.

Summer suds are celebrated heartily by the Germans and their Weissbiers (aka Hefeweizen) comprise a huge portion of summer seasonal brews.

The south German weissbier is made by adding wheat to the mix and yields a characteristic banana, clove, or sometimes bubblegummy flavor due to the particular yeasts used in the fermentation processes.

Look for these fine examples at the Coop: Schneider Organic Edel-Weisse, Ayinger Brau Weisse, Brooklyner Weisse, Pinkus Organic Hefeweizen, Long Trail Hefeweizen, Ebel’s Weiss Beer, Stoudt’s Weizen,

While Belgian brewers are usually known for rich, fortifying beers that keep you warm in winter, they maintain a good balance with light and refreshing Wit, Blanche, or White beers for summer. Belgian whites are usually spiced with coriander and orange flavors.

Beers of this variety at the Coop are: Allagash White, Ommegang Witte, Avery White Rascal, Leelanau Whaleback White, Victory Whirlwind Witbier, Weyerbacher Blanche, Wolaver Wit, Otter Creek White Sail, Long Trail Belgian White, to name a few.

American brewers have always been quick studies and have taken off and riffed very successfully on traditional styles. Some breweries hew closely to their German or Belgian roots while others jump off with their own blends of summer beers.

Though American brewers are known for pushing beer to the limits of flavor, creativity, and experience using juiced up amounts hops, malt, yeast, or sugars, in the summer many brewmasters lighten their touch to match the season and produce more delicate offerings. Some are truly good and others seem like hapless attempts at lager or wheat beers. Let me know what you think at

If you’re having a barbeque or kicking a ball around the park check out some of these light hitters.


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