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SUMMER BEERS (“…make me feel fine”)

By August 12, 2009September 20th, 2009Beer Education


When most beer-heads think of summer beers wheats, wits and “lawn mower beers” of all types come to the forefront. We are looking for refreshment, effervescence and quantity. While I like a good Weisen or Hefe Weisen like Franziskaner or Paulaner (please no lemon!) now and again, and will gratefully quaff a “real American Belgian” Wit like Victory’s Whilwind or Allagash – must that be the default summer seasonal choice?

By now most beer enthusiasts know about the curiously mild and light ale style known as Kolsh – from CologneGermany. In the western German region where Cologne is located, historically they didn’t have to deal with the heat of Bavaria, so lagers weren’t as necessary as summer brews. This slightly sweet clear lager-style ale was developed instead and serves as a great summer quencher. Served in the cylindrical glass at outdoor cafes such as the “Fruh House” pictured here, it is the local beverage of choice.


Several US breweries make the “Kolsh” style, including Houston’s St. Arnold’s (affectionately labeled as “Fancy Lawn Mower Beer”) as well as some of our local brew pubs. Next time you see one on the beer menu, give it a try.

Now, my personal preference to slake one’s thirst on a hot summer day is a crisp, clean, bighting IPA. I am not talking about the malty caramel like Hop Devil or multiple Imperial viscous hop bomb IPA’s here (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but a nice crisp balanced IPA – like the ones from Smutty Nose, Paper City and local breweries like Troegs and Yards. (OK, Yard’s Philly Pale isn’t an IPA, but it has that crispness and hoppy bight I am talking about).

Yesterday at the Piazza at Schmidt’s in Northern Liberties, sitting outside I had a couple of wonderful Stone IPA’s (not the tastebud searing Ruination…I was not worthy!) and they cooled the palate while offering snapping refreshment. Who says it’s only a season for wheat’s? There’s plenty of room for beer appreciation of all types.