Monday, June 22, 2015

Five of the Best Session Beers for Summer

It is officially my favorite season of the year – Summer!  Now while I am a stout and porter gal during the winter, those beers are generally too heavy on hot summer days. Fortunately the summer seasonal craft beers are already on the store shelves and make a great session beer.


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What is a session beer? 


There isn’t one hard and fast rule of definition of what a session beer is unlike the definition of other beer types like stouts, lagers, India Pale Ales (IPAs), etc. Generally speaking a session beer is a beer that is lower in alcohol content, called Alcohol By Volume, or ABV. Session beers are usually no higher than 5 percent ABV.

Session beers tend to have a light and watery mouthfeel with a clean finish but they do not skimp on flavor. The point of a session beer is to be able to enjoy several tasty beers socially over a reasonable period of time (a session) without getting drunk. Session beers are best enjoyed responsibly (just like all alcoholic beverages) and in my opinion, in the company of good friends.

You won’t have to worry about feeling tipsy if you have more than one. These beers also pair well with delicate food such as fish or chicken.

 

5 of the Best Summer Seasonal Craft Beers 

 

Let’s kick off this list with my favorite Ohio craft brewery Great Lakes Brewing Company and their Sharpshooter Session Wheat IPA. Named after Ohio’s own Annie Oakley it is a wheat beer and pours cloudy with bits of yeast suspended in the beer. Do not let that stop you because it packed with hoppy flavor. It goes down light and smooth and then boom hits you with bitterness and citrus.It’s a beer that you’ll be able to enjoy out on your porch. It’s truly one of the must try beers of the summer season.

Hop Sun by Southern Tier Brewing Company is another one you’ll want to try. This is another wheat beer that’s very light and crisp. There’s a noticeable hop bitterness at the end. It’s not overly hoppy but there’s a touch in there for all you hopheads. The malts contain a mix of wheat and barley which means this beer won’t be as watery as it would be if it were made with just wheat. Barley gives this a mouthfeel that’s a notch above thin and watery. The great thing is you should be able to find this beer anywhere. It isn’t be a difficult one to find.

Anchor Brewing is the company that really kicked off the craft beer craze. They produce a beer called Anchor Summer Wheat and you’re going to want to try this beer. Much like Hop Sun, this isn’t a straight up wheat beer. Though, Anchor Brewing says this beer has over 50% wheat malt. It has a watery mouthfeel with a tart crisp finish. There’s also a slight bread like flavor that comes from the wheat malt. This is definitely a beer worth trying as is anything that Anchor Brewing makes.

Summer isn’t summer without having a few Pilsner beers but the hobbyist in me will not let you loose with a mega brewery American lager that tries and fails to present itself as a Pilsner. Hops are all the rage these days and I suggest you try Sweetwater Road Trip Ale by Sweet Water Brewing Company. Some of you traditional Pilsner lovers may find this to be a bit too hoppy. The stronger than usual hops for a Pilsner makes this beer difficult to pair with typical summer food. But, it’ll go down great while watching your favorite baseball team win the big game. It’s a great beer for summer.

What modern day beer list would be complete without an Indian Pale Ale (IPA)? It wouldn’t be and that’s why I’m closing out this list with  Campsite by Upland Brewing Company. This is a session IPA This IPA weighs in at just 4.5% ABV and you’ll notice the hoppy flavor isn’t as strong as a typical IPA. Everything is toned back to make it what it is -a session IPA that’s meant to be drank in the summertime. This lower ABV style IPA (which are typically brewed to have a high ABV) is a IPA style that is becoming popular to drink year round. It’s no doubt even going to become more popular during the hot and sunny months of summer.

These are five beers that you should try this summer. If you don’t want to commit to a whole six pack of a new to you brew, find a store that allows you to make your own six packs. This way you don’t have to buy an entire six pack to try just one beer and it will save you money in the long run particularly if you and your guest find that it isn’t the beer for you.

It  also allows you to experience more beers which is a hobby in itself and how Husband and I started. Gather your friends, crack open a cold summer seasonal and kick the summer in style!
 
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