A Mixer Six-Pack of Summer Beers
With summer winding down, now is as good of a time as any to recap some of the best beers I’ve sampled this summer. Some of them are new, and some are old favorites. It was an amazing summer for many reasons, but these six beers certainly helped make it great.
1. Blue Moon Summer: I’ve never been a big fan of Blue Moon, even though I know a lot of people really like it. But when I saw cans of Blue Moon Summer in my local beer store, I couldn’t resist. And now, just a couple short months later, it’s my go-to summer beer. Like any good summer beer, it’s light — but not so light that it’s flavorless. And though I usually don’t like honey, the hint of honey in this beer gives it just the right amount of sweetness. It’s also not bad in bottles, but I prefer the cans if I can find them.
2. Sam Adams Brick Red: Sam Adams was the first real craft beer I ever drank, and so for many years, it was one of my favorites. Recently, I’ve become kind of sick of Sam, and I’m not too big a fan of some of the newer beers they’ve been brewing — with one notable exception. Sam’s Brick Red is a fantastic beer. It’s a red without the bitterness you usually find in a red beer. If you like Irish reds, the Brick Red might not be bitter enough for you. But for someone like me who enjoys drinkable beer, this one’s about as smooth as they get. Now if they would only start bottling it so I could drink it at home for less than $5 a pop …
3. Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale: I wrote about this one earlier this summer after sampling it at an event at the Portsmouth Brewery. I didn’t notice it the first time I tried it (probably because I had one too many), but when I later picked up a six-pack, I realized it packs a pretty strong punch while having a really rich flavor at the same time. Hands down, it’s one of the best beers on the market right now.
4. Redhook 30th Birthday Beer: When the server told me this beer — brewed in honor of Redhook’s b-day bash — was similar to their old Redhook ESB recipe, I had to try it. It’s supposed to have a “spicy banana flavor,” but I didn’t notice it. It was just really tasty, but unfortunately, like Sam’s Brick Red, it doesn’t come in bottles — unless of course, you count growlers.
5. Smuttynose Farmhouse Ale: OK, so this isn’t one you’re going to drink every day or drink while playing Jarts out in your yard. This is a serious beer — 8.2 percent alcohol. But my friends at Smutty have done it again. It’s really a fantastic beer. The description of the beer says they’ve added some sweetness while lowering the alcohol content slightly for this year’s batch. Whatever they did, it worked. It’s quite tasty. Maybe they can work on improving the flavor of their Star Island Single next (sorry, JT: I couldn’t resist).
6. Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron: Another serious beer (12 percent) — this one a little heavier. I’ve never tasted anything quite like it, and I mean that in a good way. It’s a brown ale, but you’d never know it. It tastes almost like a stout, but with some really nice sweetness to it. According to the folks at Dogfish Head, that caramel/vanilla flavor comes from the exotic Paraguayan Palot Santo wood that the brewing tanks are made from. Definitely more of a sipping beer than one you’re going to drink a lot of in one sitting.
Mr. X is a contributor to the Beer Drinking Report. He’s sad that summer is almost over, but his spirits are buoyed by the thought of drinking lots of Octoberfest and winter beer in the coming months.