‘Tis the Season for Local, Summer Brews
Published: Friday, June 29, 2012
Updated: Friday, July 20, 2012 13:07
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.