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Summer Beer Recommendations (Issue 31)

Summer Sippers That Will Have Your Friends Green With Envy

It’s summertime! With this sun-dappled season sending spring showers skulking off into the upper reaches of the stratosphere, it’s time to delve into some beer styles for your poolside (or sprinklerside) enjoyment.

Almost every style under the sun is being infused with exotic flavorings – most notably in IPA varietals – and the same holds true for popular summer beer styles. Though lingonberry saisons and Italian plum goses certainly sound tempting, this year’s summer beer recommendations are brought to you by the color green, as in the color of cucumbers and limes.

All of the beers below employ the chosen flavors to excellent effect – able to cool the most parched of throats in the sweltering summer heat.

Black Market Brewing Co. – Tradecraft Cucumber Gose – This mildly tart and uber refreshing ale from Temecula, California's Black Market Brewing mashes in green with real cucumber, but comes out a fresh straw-colored pale yellow. Equally at home as a singular quencher or paired with light fare such as a summer salad with a sweet vinaigrette, this one is a must try, if you can find it.

Key Lime Pie Gose – Westbrook Brewing Co. – Want a dessert beer without the guilt of guzzling a sticky, heavy imperial stout? How about this eye-opening sour from Charleston’s Westbrook Brewing Company? Featuring a scintillating blend of lime puree, cinnamon and vanilla, this beer perks you up with its vast array of flavor and aroma combinations. Let this cool brew wash over you and let every sip touch your taste buds – you’ll pick up hints of a bready, crusty character, which only furthers the illusion that you’re simply drinking a liquefied Key Lime Pie.

Key Lime Pie – Tallgrass Brewing Co. – This recently canned summer seasonal features all of the thirst-quenching qualities of the Gose style – puckering tartness, light, palatable mouthfeel – coupled with a fragrant waft of Key limes in the aroma. Billed as an American Blonde Sour Ale, this beauteous brew debuted on draft in Tallgrass Brewing Company’s Manhattan, Kansas taproom during the summer of 2016 and was a runaway smash. Brewed with the sultry Sorachi Ace hop varietal, this sour is sure to slake the thirst of those searching for citrusy sips.

Bright Ass Tank Top – The Unknown Brewing Co. – Another brew that employs a barrel to enhance its flavors, this gose from Unknown Brewing Company was aged in 15-year-old Nicaraguan rum barrels. Featuring the joyful flavors of key limes (a favorite of breweries on this list), as well as a salty, slick and sweet barrel character from the rum, this sultry gose is perfect for any and all occasions that involve wearing an eponymous “bright ass tank top.”

Lime Pilsner – Uinta Brewing Co. – Do you like Sprite? If so, this spritzy Pils is right up your alley. With the ebullient effervescence of its parent German Pilsner style, this Utah-born brew is even billed by its brewery as a “splash of summertime in a can.” Enough said.

Cool Breeze – Sweetwater Brewing Co. – Saisons are not often discussed as summer styles, since they often feature spicy, tingly mouthfeels that better suit the autumn and winter months. Atlanta’s Sweetwater Brewing Co., never ones to “float the mainstream,” refuted this misnomer by combining the refreshing coolness of cucumbers in this blended saison recipe to excellent effect. With cucumber in the forefront, somehow the brewery managed to maintain the telltale banana and clove elements of the base saison, which somehow accentuate and complicate the cucumber notes beautifully.

Cucumber Saison – Mother's Brewing – A traditional Belgian-style saison with a gourdy twist, Missouri's Mother's Brewing Co. orchestrated a masterwork in refreshment, with this ale's dry and creamy mouthfeel and zesty Belgian yeast character being tied together by local cucumber from Urban Roots Farm. Packaged in a 16-ounce container, you'll only need one or two, but chances are you'll end up having had many.

Cucumber Crush – 10 Barrel Brewing Co. – As its name would indicate, this crushable sour from Oregon’s 10 Barrel Brewing is one of the easiest-drinking brews in this article. With an exceedingly mild mouthfeel and just a hint of tartness and bitterness, the cucumber flavor is highlighted. What’s most exciting about these cucumber beers are the different ways in which the gourd is used by each brewery. In 10 Barrel’s case, Crush brings cucumber’s natural sweetness to the fore, again making this an excellent dessert beer, or, not unexpectedly a terrific choice for high-temperature glugging.

Cucumber Kolsch – Flat 12 Bierwerks – The smooth-drinking Kolsch style is already a favorite for the summer months, so Flat 12 Bierwerks asked a very important question: should we make an already refreshing style even more refreshing? The answer, of course, was a resounding ‘yes’, with its Cucumber Kolsch. A grainy, crispy smoothness comes courtesy of its base Kolsch style and the cucumber flavors make this a delightfully cool treat for sunsoaked summer days.

Key Lime Pie – Short’s Brewing Co. – Since Key Lime Pie was a major inspiration behind many of the beers on this list, Short’s Brewing in Michigan decided to truly up the ante by brewing a beer with an ingredient list that actually entails what a Key Lime Pie is made out of. Marshmallow fluff, limes, graham crackers and milk sugar all come together in this two-time GABF gold-medalist to form a syrupy sweet concoction that tastes just like a key lime pie in liquid form, with far more sweetness than many other brews on this list. That sounds like a success to me.

So whether you’re on a boat, patio, deck, porch, pool float or any other summertime merrymaking environs, these cool and refreshing adjunct-filled brews will serve your tastebuds well and have you searching for more ‘cuke and lime beers.

(Photos Courtesy Respective Brewers)