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Nice crisp and refreshing but not flat beer for summer

Monica Jun 3, 2013 12:43 PM

Now that summer is here, I am kinda sick of overly complex strong bitter end tasting beer. My usuals are Belgium beers such as Leffe blond and Duvel and Chimay. I am looking for something lighter and refreshing but with so many selections these days, I don't know what to drink.

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  1. r
    RB Hound RE: Monica Jun 3, 2013 12:50 PM

    I take it you are in the NY metro area, correct? Don't want to throw out any regional San Diego suggestions if that is the case. :)

    1. s
      Slightly Grey RE: Monica Jun 3, 2013 01:10 PM

      Hefeweizens are my summer go to beers. Sierra Nevada Kellerweis and Paulaner are two of my favorites.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Slightly Grey
        TombstoneShadow RE: Slightly Grey Jun 4, 2013 12:06 AM

        Ditto... wheat beers are the foundation of my summer beer cycle.

        There are some great domestic wheat microbrews , some classic mass-production German wheats (like Konig-Ludwig), and some excellent popular-priced wheats too (like Leinies honey and Berry wheats)....

        Also alot of your local brewpubs will be featuring wheats on tap.

        I'm perfectly fine with adding a squeeze of lemon to a wheat, BTW. Very summerly year-long.

      2. f
        FriedClamFanatic RE: Monica Jun 3, 2013 01:14 PM

        For a change of pace, try a Hard cider......preferably imported. It's my "poor man's Champagne". US made tends to be sweeter.

        1. viperlush RE: Monica Jun 3, 2013 01:21 PM

          These three beers I've found myself recently describing as crisp and refreshing. Peak Summer Session Ale, Left Hand Polestar Pilsner, and Founders All Day IPA (a session ale). You might also want to check out the Brooklyn Summer Ale and the Harpoon Summer.

          1. Tripeler RE: Monica Jun 4, 2013 05:51 AM

            If you are already into Belgian beers, then try one of the lighter ones. If you like witbiers, then try Blanche de Namur, one of my very favorites in this style. Or give some of the lambics a try. I would suggest the peach-infused Pecheresse, which has only 2.5% alcohol, and is very refreshing and drinkable.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Tripeler
              Monica RE: Tripeler Jun 5, 2013 06:36 AM

              I will try the Blanche de Namur. For someone who loves sweets, there are two sweet things I hate; one is coffee with sugar and alcoholic beverages with sugar and fruit flavors in them. I don't know why, they always remind me of cough syrup.

            2. s
              SummerBrewReview RE: Monica Jun 4, 2013 10:38 AM

              I believe you will love the new summer seasonal from Ommegang, Fleur De Houblon. It is light, but still has an excellent profile. We will post a review soon.
              See more at http://www.summerbeerreview.com/summe....

              1. Monica RE: Monica Jun 5, 2013 06:34 AM

                Love some of the recommendations. Thanks so much. Will look for them in the store this weekend.
                Wheat beer does seem more refreshing but sometimes I find most of them lack that clean after taste.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Monica
                  SP1 RE: Monica Jun 19, 2013 08:31 AM

                  Try some Berliner Weisse, without any syrup!

                2. mcf RE: Monica Jun 5, 2013 06:37 AM

                  Island Ginger from Atlantic Brewing in Maine.

                  1. c
                    cwdonald RE: Monica Jun 5, 2013 08:14 AM

                    I would suggest either Brooklyn Pennant Ale, Flying Fish Summer Farmhouse Ale, or Founders All Day IPA

                    1. Chinon00 RE: Monica Jun 5, 2013 11:24 AM

                      Saisons are generally highly carbonated and considered "farmer's" beer; which to me means they're meant for thirst quenching (but not only for that).

                      1. linguafood RE: Monica Jun 5, 2013 11:27 AM

                        Milder German pilsners, such as Warsteiner, Krombacher or Spaten (the latter being the most flavorful) are great summer beers.

                        If I had to choose between Hefeweizen and Kristallweizen, I'd likely opt for the later, as I don't find the yeast to be particularly "light" and summery tasting.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: linguafood
                          Chinon00 RE: linguafood Jun 5, 2013 12:01 PM

                          What about Berliner Weisse?

                          1. re: Chinon00
                            linguafood RE: Chinon00 Jun 5, 2013 01:47 PM

                            Not my cuppa. Don't really like the syrup usually added (raspberry or woodruff) save for the very, very, very rare occasion I feel like a sweet-ish beer, and then am much more likely to have a Radler instead.

                            I'm also not a fan of that beer-style in its unadulterated version. Meh.

                            1. re: linguafood
                              Chinon00 RE: linguafood Jun 5, 2013 05:52 PM

                              Places in Philly that have Berliner Weisse serve it with the syrup on the side; so you can have it as sweet as you want. I don't this is common in Germany?

                              1. re: Chinon00
                                linguafood RE: Chinon00 Jun 5, 2013 07:19 PM

                                I think there is a move at some of the Berliner microbreweries to make a Berliner Weisse that can be drunk without any syrup. I've yet to try it.

                                I think in most places (I don't know that you can get Berliner Weisse all over Germany save for the mass-produced, pre-mixed bottled piss), the syrup is added to the glass and then the beer.

                                Where in Philly does one order Berliner Weisse?

                                1. re: linguafood
                                  Chinon00 RE: linguafood Jun 5, 2013 07:42 PM

                                  I've had Berliner Weisse at Nodding Head (Center City) and Sly Fox Brewing Co. (Phoenixville)

                                  1. re: Chinon00
                                    cwdonald RE: Chinon00 Jun 7, 2013 08:19 AM

                                    Chinon has nailed two of the best Berliner Weisse, with the third being Round Guys. I also do not find the woodruff syrup to be sweet, rather more herbal, as opposed to the raspberry and the harder to find black currant.

                                    1. re: cwdonald
                                      linguafood RE: cwdonald Jun 7, 2013 09:30 AM

                                      I guess I'm just not a huge fan of mixers in my beer, save for the very occasional shandy.

                            2. re: Chinon00
                              Janeinma RE: Chinon00 Jun 16, 2013 11:16 AM

                              yes try dogfish head festina peche no syrup needed clean and fresh tasting

                          2. m
                            MagicMarkR RE: Monica Jun 5, 2013 02:16 PM

                            Pilseners have sort of gone out of fashion with the Belgian beer craze, regrettably. On a hot day, I still love a Pilsener Urquel, or a good ol' German lager like Paulaner. The best beer I had recently on the east coast was Victory Prima Pils. Can't find it in the SF Bay area, sadly.

                            19 Replies
                            1. re: MagicMarkR
                              RB Hound RE: MagicMarkR Jun 5, 2013 02:43 PM

                              You can't find Victory Prima Pils in the SF Bay area? I'm pretty sure that the Beverages & More will have them, though they often run out.

                              Firestone Walker just came out with Pivo Pils, and I like it even better than Victory. You should be able to find that, I would think. I'd argue that they are coming back into fashion a little bit - seems like this past year has seen a lot more of the "sessionable" beers come back.

                              1. re: RB Hound
                                Josh RE: RB Hound Jul 2, 2013 09:57 PM

                                Good to know about Pivo. I've been curious to try it. Prima Pils isn't that common here, maybe because Trumer is just on the other side of the bay?

                                1. re: Josh
                                  RB Hound RE: Josh Jul 3, 2013 10:09 AM

                                  Could be. It's all but disappeared from most of the stores around here since I made that post.

                              2. re: MagicMarkR
                                Chinon00 RE: MagicMarkR Jun 5, 2013 03:08 PM

                                Look out for Schrimshaw pilsner from North Coast Brewing (CA) and Polestar from Left Hand (CO).

                                1. re: MagicMarkR
                                  Tripeler RE: MagicMarkR Jun 5, 2013 05:27 PM

                                  Trumer Pils, brewed in Berkeley, is quite superb as a crisp, refreshing pilsener beer. I highly recommend it.

                                  1. re: Tripeler
                                    JAB RE: Tripeler Jun 5, 2013 06:12 PM

                                    Surprisingly picked up a case at Costco of all places.

                                    1. re: JAB
                                      Tripeler RE: JAB Jun 5, 2013 06:53 PM

                                      Was this your first time to have Trumer Pils?
                                      Did you like it?

                                      1. re: Tripeler
                                        JAB RE: Tripeler Jun 6, 2013 06:30 AM

                                        No, I've had it before and I do like it. I was just pleasantly surprised to have seen it at Costco. It appears that Costco had a pricing dispute with AB and is branching out into independents. My prior purchase at Costco was a case of Stone IPA for myself and a 12er of Hanger 24 Orange Wheat for my wife. They also had several big bottles from idependents.

                                        1. re: JAB
                                          Tripeler RE: JAB Jun 6, 2013 07:19 PM

                                          That's quite encouraging.

                                  2. re: MagicMarkR
                                    Philly Ray RE: MagicMarkR Jun 5, 2013 07:53 PM

                                    Victory makes a summer beer called Summer Love. It's a bit lighter than Prima Pils.

                                    1. re: Philly Ray
                                      crewsweeper RE: Philly Ray Jun 7, 2013 07:23 AM

                                      I had this last year. Wasn't that impressed with any "lightness" but do like Prima Pils.

                                      SN has their Summerfest out. Another option for those of you who are Pilsner lovers. if you can find it in your area, St Arnold's Lawnmower Ale used to be my go-to summer brew when i lived in Houston.

                                      Ommegang, Fleur De Houblon, has peeked my interest. Will look for it.

                                      1. re: crewsweeper
                                        crewsweeper RE: crewsweeper Jul 15, 2013 05:59 AM

                                        Ommegang FDH finally hits the North Florida area, at least in the local food co-op store, New Leaf Market here. Very nice for sipping. Neighbors loved it, too. Also found Shipyard's Summer Ale in cans. Now that's a good drinking beer when you're having more thna one on a hot summer afternoon.

                                    2. re: MagicMarkR
                                      Tripeler RE: MagicMarkR Jun 5, 2013 08:14 PM

                                      This is interesting because in Belgium, mass-produced pilsener beers account for about 70% of all beer consumption.

                                      1. re: MagicMarkR
                                        JAB RE: MagicMarkR Jun 6, 2013 06:31 AM

                                        Belgian beer craze? I thought that had passed and we were in an American beer craze.

                                        1. re: JAB
                                          Monica RE: JAB Jun 6, 2013 06:46 AM

                                          gotta agree with you. This is exactly the reason why I am so confused these days when buying beer...so many American made beers with funky names and I don't know which one to get!

                                          1. re: Monica
                                            JAB RE: Monica Jun 6, 2013 06:53 AM

                                            Beer Advocate is your friend. You can look up virtually any beer produced for a description, rating etc...

                                            1. re: JAB
                                              viperlush RE: JAB Jun 6, 2013 08:10 AM

                                              So true. And I've found the untappd app to be useful to keep track of the beer that I've had, where to find different beers, and for recommendations.

                                          2. re: JAB
                                            MagicMarkR RE: JAB Jun 24, 2013 04:15 PM

                                            The other day I was out for an office happy hour and a new employee, young and clearly inexperienced in beer or anything else related to drinking, asked the server: "I'd like a Belgian beer." She was taken aback when the server recited about 5 or 6 they had on the menu. It was pretty amusing (I guess you had to be there). In any case, no I do not think the craze has passed (though perhaps I should include "Belgian-style" American beers to the craze): it may not be substituting for American (non-"Belgian") "craft" beer, but I feel it has driven out German and British selections.

                                            As for my initial post, I admit I have not scoured the area for Victory Prima, except that it is never available at any store I happen to be at. I was most delighted and surprised to see it on the menu at Cotogna in San Francisco. Forgot to ask them where they got it. Dumb.

                                          3. re: MagicMarkR
                                            cwdonald RE: MagicMarkR Jun 7, 2013 08:21 AM

                                            I think with the move towards session beer styles you are seeing the return of the Pilsner, as well as a variety of styles of pilsners, (northern german, czech etc.)

                                            Also you are seeing the single hop varieties as well as imperial higher alcohol versions. I do not think the style is dead at all.. I think folks are working with it. Its not just Belgians!

                                          4. JungMann RE: Monica Jun 7, 2013 07:27 AM

                                            I have recently become a major fan of Gose beer, a malted wheat beer that is distinct amongst German beers for lacing its brew with coriander and salt water. The coriander imparts a crisp, almost lemony flavor and the hint of salinity in the background makes this an extremely drinkable refresher on warm days.

                                            1. ItalGreyHound RE: Monica Jun 14, 2013 09:49 AM

                                              Monica, not knowing you personally, I don't know how you feel about fruit beers, but I had 21st Amendment's "Come Hell or High Watermelon" a few weeks back and am obsessing about it recently. Not heavy on the watermelon taste AT all...it's just lightly there in the background. Tastes like summer to me - super light and refreshing!

                                              (My husband loves Duvel, and fruit beers not-so-much, but even agreed that it was tasty)

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: ItalGreyHound
                                                Jim Dorsch RE: ItalGreyHound Jun 14, 2013 09:58 AM

                                                that beer has lots of fans

                                                1. re: ItalGreyHound
                                                  Monica RE: ItalGreyHound Jun 17, 2013 07:50 AM

                                                  Not a big fan of fruity or sweet beers but I'd give it a try. My husband likes fruity beers and apple beers so he can drink it if I don't like it. haha, thanks for the recommendation.
                                                  It's funny when we are at a restaurant. I usually order complex heavy beer while my husband orders fruity sweet beers..the server usually puts the sweet beer infront of me assuming I ordered it.

                                                  1. re: Monica
                                                    ItalGreyHound RE: Monica Jun 17, 2013 10:27 AM

                                                    At my Total Wine, they sell it in the section with the individual beer cans - so you could just grab one or two and try it out, without committing to a whole six-pack if it doesn't float your boat :)

                                                    1. re: ItalGreyHound
                                                      Monica RE: ItalGreyHound Jun 17, 2013 10:53 AM

                                                      I love Total Wine store! recently discovered it and been going there ever since.

                                                      1. re: Monica
                                                        ItalGreyHound RE: Monica Jun 17, 2013 11:00 AM

                                                        Me too! Spend too much $$ there... :)

                                                2. j
                                                  jpc8015 RE: Monica Jun 15, 2013 09:09 AM

                                                  Try a Kolsch.

                                                  1. j
                                                    Janeinma RE: Monica Jun 16, 2013 11:14 AM

                                                    Sixpoint Apollo kristalweisen, totally refreshing beer, available through most of the east coast. Not easy to spot on teh shelf due to the packaging but worthwhile/

                                                    1. d
                                                      DGSullivan RE: Monica Jun 25, 2013 05:03 PM

                                                      I was surprised by Tangerine Wheat put out by Lost Coast, it was a great summer wheat with a nice fresh kiss of tangerine on the finish. Sofie from GI always does good for us in the Summer, as does Island Wheat from Capital.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: DGSullivan
                                                        Tripeler RE: DGSullivan Jun 25, 2013 06:23 PM

                                                        I have had several Lost Coast beers, and they were mostly excellent. I expect this brewery to become a lot more popular in the near future. The Tangerine Wheat is exceptional.

                                                      2. f
                                                        filtered RE: Monica Jun 26, 2013 09:54 PM

                                                        stiegl radler

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: filtered
                                                          Jim Dorsch RE: filtered Jun 27, 2013 04:12 AM

                                                          They have a grapefruit radler, new to me, but perhaps not a new product. In a can, always a plus. And traditional lemon in bottle.

                                                          1. re: Jim Dorsch
                                                            Tripeler RE: Jim Dorsch Jun 27, 2013 04:19 AM

                                                            How about Gilda Radler?

                                                            1. re: Tripeler
                                                              Jim Dorsch RE: Tripeler Jun 27, 2013 04:41 AM

                                                              I expect our younger participants are not familiar with that one.

                                                        2. Monica RE: Monica Jul 2, 2013 10:16 AM

                                                          Went to the Grand central oyster bar in NYC for lunch and ordered a beer called Allagash white ale and after a sip, I said to myself, this is it! i am gonna go look for this beer now.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: Monica
                                                            JAB RE: Monica Jul 2, 2013 10:19 AM

                                                            A favorite of my wife.

                                                            1. re: JAB
                                                              Monica RE: JAB Jul 2, 2013 10:52 AM

                                                              LOL, thanks for telling now.

                                                              It looks like Total wine store carries this. I am going there after work today.

                                                            2. re: Monica
                                                              ItalGreyHound RE: Monica Jul 3, 2013 10:25 AM

                                                              Gah, can't believe that one slipped my mind! It is fantastic. Easy to find at Total Wine, too...glad you found what you were looking for!

                                                              1. re: ItalGreyHound
                                                                Tripeler RE: ItalGreyHound Jul 3, 2013 06:53 PM

                                                                Allagash beers are not from Belgium, but they certainly have soul. They range from very good to fantastic.

                                                            3. s
                                                              spopodopolis RE: Monica Jul 3, 2013 07:00 AM

                                                              You will probably enjoy Blanche du Bruxelles and Allagash White, both are great summer brews (if you like witbier).

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: spopodopolis
                                                                Monica RE: spopodopolis Jul 3, 2013 07:05 AM

                                                                Did you respond after reading my comment mentioning Allagash beer? if not, that's pretty interesting that you mentioned right after I got a taste of it. It is a great beer.

                                                                1. re: Monica
                                                                  spopodopolis RE: Monica Jul 6, 2013 07:34 PM

                                                                  I hadn't seen your comment, but I recommend Allagash to everyone. If you can find it, you'll like Oxbow Farmhouse Pale Ale.

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