Ultimate Summer Beers
1 June 2016, By Jonny Garrett
We’re big fans of drinking seasonally at Beer Merchants. We hear the people that say good beer is for all year round, but that isn’t making the best of the ingredients around us. US hops are best in spring and pumpkin beers only acceptable in Autumn – and that’s before we get into matching beer and seasonal food.
So much as I love a stout or a quad, come summer they’ll be tucked away in the beer fridge gently ageing for autumn. In the mean time I’ll be drinking crisp pilsners, fruity IPAs and quenching sours. I’ll be relishing how Berlinerweisses merge beautifully with lemon-dressed salads, how a session IPA blows the roof off some barbecued chicken, and how a Bohemian pils can put a smile on the face of the most worn out gardener.
Below are our six ultimate summer beers. Sit back, crack and relax.
Kona Big Wave4.4% Golden Ale, £2
Now that it's in can, there is only one beer coming to the park or the beach with me. This gorgeous Hawaiian golden ale is made with galaxy hops, which add a juicy acidity to a very light, almost German pilsner-like body. Absurdly drinkable and very satisfying.
La Rulles Estival5.4% Belgian blonde, £4.50
A new favourite at beer merchants, this Belgian blonde is surprisingly low in ABV considering it is (a) Belgian and (b) one of the most aromatic and enticing beers we’ve ever encountered. Bready malts, strawberries, lemon and citrus peel leap out of the glass, and the beer is sweet, smooth and alluring the whole way down. Chill it well, serve the 750ml bomber at a barbecue and watch people go crazy for it.
Augustiner Helles5.2% German helles, £2.70
Simply one of the best helles lagers in the world, there are no words for the crushability and depth of flavour in this beer. Like being slapped in the face by a stranger, you know when it hits but you don’t know where it goes afterwards. Lemon and biscuit on the nose, then a clean crisp finish, it’s perfect with barbecued fish and white meat – or sausage obviously.
Far Skyliner4.1% Berlinerweiss, £2.95
Berlinerweiss is a beautiful summer style that’s always underestimated. Think of it like the Prosecco of the beer world – it doesn’t have the reputation or sour depth of a lambic, but it has the refreshing quality and sweet/sour balance that means you can lie back in the sun and tilt them back while tucking into…well anything. It all goes with berlinerweiss except pudding.
De La Senne Taras Boulba4.5% Belgian blonde, £1.95
4.6% is as close as the Belgians will get to a session beer, and this is a fantastic example of what they can still do with their yeasts at this ABV. That said, lots of the citrus and spice on the nose comes from all the hops so this beer has a moreish bitterness you might not expect from a Belgian blonde.
Fourpure session IPA4.5% session IPA, £2.25
Inspired by the West Coast of the USA, this beer is all about bold pine, grapefruit and orange peel, before its bittersweet body and smooth mouthfeel assure you this beer won’t blow your taste buds (or power of speech) away. Perfect for hops heads who love summer and are probably thinking about taking their top off and hitting the waves just while reading this.