As spring peeks out from behind the clouds at us, I dream of summer and my mind and palate go to lighter fare. I say goodbye to stew and chili, malbec and syrah, porter and dubbel in exchange for salad and gazpacho, sauvignon blanc and Falanghina, and… wait, what beers call to me in warmer weather? I’ve been pretty clear that the lighter styles of lager don’t often appeal to me but what do I want to drink when stout doesn’t hit the spot and IPA doesn’t refresh?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I will occasionally enjoy a so-called “lawnmower” beer. Ice-cold, pale lager can go down easily in the heat of summer but for me, most are missing the character that will hold my attention beyond the first satisfaction of my thirst being quenched.
For warm weather beer drinking I look for some of the same things I look for in my other summer beverage choices. It needs to be refreshing, thirst-quenching! This means tart and/or sour (they are different); light, bright flavors are preferred; minimal sweetness unless balanced out by some serious acidity. And for sunshine drinking, let’s try and keep the alcohol under control.
So for me this is the season of Belgian Wit, Saison, and Gueze, Weiss Bier, Berliner Weiss and Flanders red ale. Along with my usual suspects many I like to explore what American craft breweries are offering as summer fare. Many of these breweries are paying more attention to the idea of drinkability and “session beers” are on the rise These can hit the spot when the temperature increases.
What do you drink when the weather warms?
(In the spirit of full disclosure I want to let you know that I have been known to commit the blasphemy of ice cubes as the thermometer approaches true Michigan-summer hot. In my defense, I don’t have air conditioning).