College Times

‘Tis the Season for Local, Summer Brews

By Janice Vega • College Times

Published: Friday, June 29, 2012

Updated: Friday, July 20, 2012

Summer is now in full force and with sticky, hot months comes the refreshing taste of craft beer’s seasonal brews. Each year, brewers conjure their interpretation of a summer beer. With the season’s warmer temperatures, there’s a call for lighter ales and lagers that epitomize the smells and tastes of summer.

College Times asked local brewers and beer experts to share their favorite seasonal craft brews and summer-friendly year-round brews. Drinkers, take note, you might want to try these next time you visit a Valley brewery or need to pick up a case for your next pool party. 

 

Triple IPA, SunUp Brewing Co.

Phoenix

Seasonal

ABV: 9.2 percent

SunUp Brewery’s co-manager and bartender January McGarth recommends SunUp Brewing Company’s Triple IPA for someone who likes a “slower drinking beer with lots of flavor.” This strong brew is a slightly sweet sipping beer that’s also hoppy and carries a multitude of bitter and floral flavors. It has a nice aroma and is available in a brandy snifter. Because of its high alcohol content, it is limited to two beers per person but is also available in a growler. It pairs well with stronger flavors of food and spicy items such as sharp cheddar or curry.

 

Honey Pale Ale, SunUp Brewing Co.

Phoenix

Seasonal

ABV: 5 percent

According to McGarth, SunUp brewmaster Uwe Boer likes to feature lighter, brighter and hoppier beers in the summer months, and the Honey Pale Ale is a good example of this. It's an extra pale with honey and perfect for the summer months because it's a bright, floral and much lighter tasting beer. It is great with seafood and lighter fare but still has a hoppy citrus flavor and a sweet aroma. It is very refreshing and easy to drink and is put through a unique process where the hops are all added after the boiling is done.

 

Mr. Pineapple, SanTan Brewing Company

Chandler, Arizona

Seasonal

ABV: 5 percent

Created especially for SanTan Brewing Company’s annual luau in downtown Chandler, this beer is the embodiment of a tropical paradise. Fresh pineapple is added to wheat beer during the fermentation process to add that tropical touch to this refreshingly sweet and fruity ale. To balance out the pineapple’s sweetness, the beer has a firm malt taste and a hint of slightly spiced clove. This is must-try for fans of wheat beers and those who are looking for a change from the standard citrus flavors or a quenching pick for the warm Arizona climate.

 

Lumberyeard Hefeweizen, Lumberyard Brewing Company

Flagstaff, Arizona

Brewed year-round

ABV: 5.6 percent

For a light ale, try Lumberyard’s German-style wheat beer. The lightly hopped beer is unfiltered and yeasty with a slightly sour bite. The flavors are far from the citrus realm. Lumberyard Hefeweizen carries flavors and aromas of cloves and bananas. It’s a refreshing beer that pairs as well with spicy and fried foods as it would with fruits or pasta dishes. The versatile beer fares well in warmer weather.

 

Lumberyard Canyon Pilsner,Lumberyard Brewing Company

Flagstaff, Arizona

Brewed year-round

ABV: 5 percent

The clean, crisp, hop-spicy and slightly bitter taste makes this pale golden pilsner from Flagstaff easy to sip on during the hot summer months and, according to Lumberyard brewers, the Canyon Pilsner is a great introductory brew for the entry level craft beer drinker. Try this beer with Italian food or Middle Eastern cuisine like hummus and falafel.

 

Lumberyard Raspberry, Lumberyard Brewing Company

Flagstaff, Arizona

Brewed year-round

ABV: 4.4 percent

The raspberry beer from Lumberyard is one of the brewery’s most refreshing beers. The light ale has a reddish color with a unique light raspberry flavor. It’s definitely the fruitiest of the bunch and recommended for non-beer drinkers who want to venture out of their comfort zone. It’s not an overbearing beer and pairs well with spicy food or simply as a thirst quencher.

 

Monje Azul (The Blue Monk), Sleepy Dog Brewery

Tempe, Arizona

Seasonal

ABV: 4.8 percent

For a sweet taste of summer in a pint, Sleepy Dog owner Matt Weber suggests trying the brewery’s seasonal Monje Azul. The Belgian-style pale ale is a delicious blonde brew infused with 100 percent pure blue agave nectar. The beer is light, dry and has a touch of sweetness that will go down easy and is refreshing in the hot desert sun.

 

Oak Creek Hefeweizen, Oak Creek Brewing Company

Sedona, Arizona

Brewed year-round

ABV: 4.5 percent

This traditional unfiltered wheat beer won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Fest. Deep gold in color with a very low hop bitterness level and a dense head of white foam, this hefeweizen is made with 50 percent wheat malt instead of all malted barley, which lends a lighter note to its flavor. Traditionally, this style of ale is the summer beer of choice in Bavaria. Some enjoy it served with a lemon wedge.

 

Snakecharmer IPA,Oak Creek Brewing Company

Sedona, Arizona

Seasonal

ABV: 6.5 percent

Snakecharmer is a truly American IPA with a very bold, citrus-y hop aroma that finishes with another large dose of hop that is balanced by good maltiness. Brewed with the rare Citra Hop, this quality handmade ale is strong in flavor, which bodes well with those summer barbecues by the pool. This beer pairs extremely well with highly spiced foods, barbecue specialties, steaks, chops and burgers.

 

King Crimson,Oak Creek Brewing Company

Sedona, Arizona

Seasonal but now selling off/on in kegs

ABV: 7.0 percent

King Crimson is a rich, malty American red ale that’s bold, flavorful and smooth with a dense head of tan foam. This ale rules with its earthy flavor tones that combine with hints of black cherry on the finish. It’s a versatile beer that goes down easy, pairs well with almost any dish and stands up to big sauces and spices.

 

Apricot Peach Pilsner, Old Bisbee Brewing Company

Bisbee, Arizona

Brewed year-round

ABV: 4.6 percent

At the turn of the century, Bisbee was the biggest city between St Louis and San Francisco. To support the population, orchards were planted in the area. Surprisingly, apricot and peaches thrived in the Bisbee climate. To this day, many of the old apricot and peach trees still produce fruit of incredible flavor. Bisbee brewers realized that apricot and peach essences are the perfect complement to the subtle flavors and smoothness of a classic pilsner. Without any residual sweetness, apricot and peach make up the fragrance and flavor of this crisp beer that is best enjoyed during the spring and summer seasons.

 

Dirty Guera, Nimbus Brewing Company

Tucson, Arizona

Brewed year-round

ABV: 3.5 percent

The Dirty Guera is so much more than a cleverly named beer. The Southwestern-style ale is all about balance. Smooth and refreshing, this Nimbus blonde is brewed with fine domestic pale malts and world-class Cara-Pils and Munich malts. In layman’s terms, Dirty Guera is a slightly fruity, light and crisp beer that is balanced by malts and hops. Its subtle sweetness is derived from pure mesquite-flavored “killer bee” honey that is harvested from hives in Bisbee, Arizona. Who would have thought that such a complex beer would bring you some easy times?

 

Red Ale, Nimbus Brewing Company

Tucson, Arizona

Brewed year-round

ABV: 5.0 percent

Nimbus Red Ale is a rich, medium-bodied American-style amber ale known for its sophisticated taste and exceptional drinkability. The copper-hued beer has a light, sweet taste that is enhanced by the flavor of four different malts and flaked barely. Though it has a relatively dry and aromatic finish, the ale is a great choice for the beer lover who enjoys lighter flavors. Its refreshing but flavorful qualities make it a classic that pairs well with other classics like a summer baseball game.

 

Sunbru, Four Peaks Brewing Company

Tempe, Arizona

Brewed year-round

ABV: 5.1 percent

Seeing as Arizona has summer weather almost year round, it makes sense that one of its prime breweries would have numerous heat-friendly beers. As if the name didn’t say enough, Sunbru is all about being sipped on under the summer sun, but light, crisp and refreshing enough to be enjoyed anywhere. The Kolsch-style ale originates in Cologne, Germany, where all 28 of its breweries are devoted to brewing Kolsch. The medium body ale goes down easy and has a soft dry finish and very delicate flavor. It pairs well with light fare like seafood and salads.

 

Arizona Peach Ale, Four Peaks Brewing Company

Tempe, Arizona

Brewed year-round

ABV: 4.5 percent

Much like Sunbru, Arizona Peach Ale is light and refreshing but lower in alcohol content and a tad fruitier. The peaches give this ale a subtly sweet flavor and aroma that make it enjoyable any time of day. Don’t let the peachy flavor deter you. A beer is a beer, but this one is perfect for the uncertain beer drinker. Pair a pint with your favorite salad or dessert for optimum flavor.

 

Hefeweizen,Four Peaks Brewing Company

Tempe, Arizona

Brewed year-round

ABV: 5.1 percent

Bananas, citrus and cloves, oh my! The Four Peaks hefeweizen is malty sweet to the taste with all of those fruit and clove notes but it is very low in bitterness. The beer goes down easy, which makes it ideal for cooling off after a long day in the sun. Brewed with 51 percent wheat malt, it has a distinctively crisp, wheaty flavor that pairs with lighter dishes like salads, shellfish and mild sausages.

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