The Beers of Summer—Craft Beer’s Summer Seasonals

By Meghan Storey

Although summer hasn’t officially arrived yet, America’s small and independent craft brewers have planned ahead and are currently busy bottling (and canning) beers that epitomize the smells and tastes of summer—and promise to make all your summer sports, vacations and cookouts even better.

We asked Brewers Association member breweries to send us information on their latest summer seasonal releases, and here’s what they had to say:


Alaskan Summer Ale | Alaskan Brewing Company
Juneau, AK

Alaskan Summer Ale balances a softly malted palate with the clean freshness of noble hops. In the tradition of the German Kölsch-style, neither overpowers the other. Both hops and malt come together to refresh and renew the palate. The straw-gold color and easy drinkability are an enjoyable way to celebrate summer.

Availability: AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, MN, MT, ND, NV, OR, TX, WA, WI & WY

yulesmithSummer YuleSmith | AleSmith Brewing Company
San Diego, CA

Every year we anxiously await the warmer months to unleash this Double IPA, the summer edition of our YuleSmith seasonals. The flavor imparts orange, grapefruit, and tangerine hop notes with earthy, spicy, and resinous pine undertones. A sturdy malt backbone balances out the profound hop bitterness and alcohol warmth to create a refreshingly assertive and vibrant beer that offers an unapologetically bold expression of fresh American hops.

Availability: CA, AZ, OR, OH, PA, MA, NY

Strawberry Blonde | Arbor Brewing Company
Ann Arbor, MI

This special brew starts with a flavorful medium-bodied Belgian-style blonde ale spiced with sweet orange peel and zesty coriander. Then we add fresh strawberries and pure strawberry essence for a sophisticated strawberry ale that doesn’t forget it’s a beer.

Availability: MI

karmaKarma | Avery Brewing Company
Boulder, CO

Inspired by the principle of karma and the wonderful Farmhouse and Pale Ales of Belgium, we have created this bright and estery Belgian-style ale with a beautiful amber hue. Our goal was to create a sessionable summer brew that was different from all the others!

Availability: AK, AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, KS, KA, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA SC, TX, VA, WA, WI

picnicPicnic™ | Blackstone Brewing Company® 
Nashville, TN

Picnic™ is an English Summer Ale and is a lighter version of a classic Pale Ale. It retains the wonderful flavors and aromas of British Pale Ale malt and hops, while using a significant portion of wheat for a lighter body and crisp finish. A hot weather refresher, without sacrificing flavor and character.

Availability: TN – Nashville, Clarksville, Tullahoma, Knoxville, Memphis

zonZON: Belgian-style Witbier | Boulevard Brewing Company
Kansas City, MO

Boulevard’s summer seasonal is our interpretation of a classic Belgian Witbier. ZON (Flemish for “sun”) combines the subtle flavors of coriander and orange peel with other traditional ingredients to create a delightful, refreshing summertime brew.

Availability: AK, AL, AR, CO, IA, ID, IL, IN, MN, KS, MO, ND, NE, OK, OR, SD, TX, WA, WY

Viola Weiss | Bull City Burger and Brewery 
Durham, NC

A traditional German-style Hefeweizen, or unfiltered wheat beer, with classic clove spice and banana aromas from the yeast. This beer is crisp with a tart, dry mouthfeel perfect for the warm weather.

Availability: At the brewpub and by the growler as some local retailers.

Bullpen Pale Ale | Carolina Brewery
Pittsboro and Chapel Hill, NC

Carolina Brewery is proud to offer this special beer crafted for the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Bullpen Pale Ale is crisp and mellow, with a soft maltiness, balanced with a flavorful American hop character. This deep golden ale is the perfect thirst quenching complement to a day at the ballpark or any occasion at all.

Availability: Across NC from Boone to Charlotte to the Outer Banks. Available in kegs and growlers. (Whole Foods, Total Wine, specialty bottle shops will carry growlers.)

Finger Lakes Summer Wheat | CB’s Brewing Co. 
Pittsboro and Chapel Hill, NC

A German-style Hefeweizen! We start with the finest malted wheat and pilsner malt, use traditional German mashing techniques, extend the boil for extra color and ferment it with a classic German wheat beer yeast strain. This style of beer is unfiltered and appears hazy in the glass. Careful temperature control during the fermentation gives the beer clove, banana and even a bit of bubblegum in the nose. The hopping is all German, with the exception of a small last minute addition of American hops. The result is a subtle citrus aroma in this already great tasting German-style wheat beer.

Availability: NY

Apricot Blonde | Dry Dock Brewing Company
Aurora, CO

A misty golden blonde ale fermented with shiploads of fruit. A crisp, clean finish and just enough sweetness make this a seasonal favorite. Combine with sunshine and friends for full effect.

Availability: Denver metro area stores. Apricot Blonde is also available year around at Dry Dock Brewing’s taproom and select tap accounts in the Denver metro area.

Apis IV | Elevation Beer Co. 
Poncha Springs, CO

Apis IV pours dark brown with hues of orange and red, a thick creamy off-white head, and traditional Belgian lacing. The beer has notes of bread, dark plums, figs, molasses, and honey, balanced by light earthy and floral hop aromas. The beer starts out on the pallet with caramel, honey, dark fruits and a rounded floral bitterness, with spice notes from the Belgian yeast strain we use in this beer brewed in the Trappist Belgian Dark Strong Ale tradition. Look for a medium to heavy mouthfeel with high carbonation and slight alcohol warming.

Availability: Across central Colorado and the Front Range

hop syndromHop Syndrome Lager | Epic Brewing Company
Salt Lake City, UT

This refreshing German-style Lager is made with German pilsner malt and American-style hops to provide a crisp, clean taste of a pilsner with the aroma and bitterness of an IPA. Hops are incorporated into every part of this beer including in the boil, dry hopping (with Calypso) and a hopback.

Availability: UT

solaceSolace | Firestone Walker Brewing Company
Paso Robles, CA

An unfiltered wheat beer that blends a Belgian-style White with Bavarian Hefewiezen.

Availability: CA, NV, AZ, WA, OR, CO

Foothills Hefeweizen | Foothills Brewing 
Winston Salem, NC

German-style unfiltered wheat beer. Cloudy gold in appearance with a rocky white head. Notes of ripe banana, clove, vanilla, bubblegum and tapioca in the nose. Upfront notes of ripe banana with hints of clove and vanilla in the flavor profile.

Availability: at the pub and on draft throughout NC, SC, Eastern TN & Western VA.

wolfgangWolfgang Doppelbock | Great Divide Brewing Company
Denver, CO

Originally called “liquid bread,” the Doppelbock style guided monks through periods of penitent fasting. Wolfgang has heavenly notes of caramel, dark fruit, and toffee, balanced by a subtle hop character. While its revered history evokes an appreciation of austerity and sacrifice, this Doppelbock is a rich luxury—no repentance required.

Availability: 20 states and Sweden

belgianBelgian Summer Ale | Hanger 24 Craft Brewery
Redlands, CA

Tart Belgian-style Blond Ale brewed using a special wort souring technique that gives the beer a unique underlying tartness. Nice spicy layers of clove and nutmeg combine with a fruity character reminiscent of pear and pineapple.

Availability: Southern California

Razor Wit | Highland Brewing Company
Asheville, NC

This summer brings Highland’s twist on a wit: complexity created with ginger, grains of paradise, and cumin, in addition to the traditional coriander and orange peel. “I love the ginger,” said head brewer Joey Justice. “Ginger can dry the beer out, and grains of paradise are sort of hot, so we started with a slightly sweeter base and more body to compensate for the spices.”

Availability: NC, SC, TN, VA, FL, GA, AL

no boundryHigh Water No Boundary IPA | High Water Brewing 
San Leandro, CA

No Boundary IPA is a beer inspired by the diversity of ingredients available to brewers today. The summer 2012 release will feature yeast from the Ardennes region of Belgium, hops from Australia and New Zealand and Lemon Verbena from the California Central Valley, which provides not only a slight lemon nuance but a unique bittering component as well.

Availability: No Boundary will be sold throughout CA in both draft and 22 ounce bottles.

Windansea Wheat Hefeweizen | Karl Strauss Brewing Company
San Diego, CA

There are wheat beers that need dressing up, and there are those that don’t. Windansea Wheat is the latter. We brew our Hefeweizen true to the Bavarian style, using 50% malted wheat and Noble Tettnanger hops. A centuries old strain of German weissbier yeast lends its trademark banana and clove flavors that linger through a refreshingly smooth finish. Save the citrus wedge for a beer in need, you’ll thank us.

Availability: CA

wisconsoniteWisconsinite | Lakefront Brewery
Milwaukee, WI

Wisconsinite pours a hazy, unfiltered, straw color with a fine white head. The mild clove and slight citrus aromas go well with the malty sweetness and fresh baked wheat bread flavors. The indigenous Wisconsin yeast and 100% Wisconsin-grown ingredients in this beer make it the most Wisconsin beer ever.

Availability: Nationwide

True Britt ESB | Lonerider Brewing Company 
Raleigh, NC

Hiding behind the proper facade is a rebel. True Britt is our English-style session ale with a bready malt backbone and earthy/spicy hops. A beer to enjoy with friends at the pub.

Availability: throughout NC in limited quantities.

Sobrehumano Palena ‘ole | Maui Brewing Company & Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales 

Red Ale brewed with liliko’i and cherries. MBC and JPAA will both brew this beer; however MBC will use standard fermentation while the JPAA version is a barrel-aged sour. Just like the beer itself, the name, Sobrehumano Palena ‘ole, is a blended Spanish-Hawaiian term meaning “superhuman” and “without limits.”

Availability: will reach all 11 states Maui Brewing Co. beers are available.

sandySandy | Mother’s Brewing Company
Springfield, MO

This hopped-up unfiltered wheat pays tribute to our founder’s mother, Sandy. The spirit and malt bill of a Belgian Witbier fused with the hop and soul of an American Pale Ale, with just a touch of grapefruit zest, make Sandy subtly complex yet refreshingly crisp.

Availability: The beer is/will be available in all of Southwest, MO, Southeast, MO. and both Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS.

Orange & Black Congrats Ale | Moylan’s Brewery & Restaurant / Marin Brewing Company
Novato, CA /  Larkspur, CA

A smooth American Black Ale brewed with orange zest. Moylan’s Brewing Company and Marin Brewing Company welcome back the San Francisco Giants, it are proud to offer an adult beverage in salute to the bat, the stick, the rally thong, the crab, the seal, the golden voices in the booth, and all of the San Francisco legends that helped them see the dream become reality.

Availability: Moylan’s - CA, OR, AZ, PA, AL, SC, IN, GA, NV, LA, IL, MN, NM, MD,  TX, CO, NC, AR, VA, SD, TN, MO, WA, OK, WI, MA, NY, HI, AK, Puerto Rico, Guam, Japan, Australia. Marin – CA, OR

freedomFreedom | Natty Greene’s Brewing Co. 
Greensboro, NC

“Courageously Fresh and Balanced,” Freedom American IPA is a medium-bodied deep golden ale with moderate fruity-ester flavor, balanced by quality American hop aroma and bitterness.

Availability: Both package and draft throughout NC.

st lupulinSt. Lupulin | Odell Brewing Company 
Fort Collins, CO

St. Lupulin is a dry-hopped extra pale ale with a clean and crisp finish. The selected hops, including Cascade and Centennial varieties, create a bright citrus and floral aroma and flavor. The brew boasts a golden straw like hue and an 6.5% ABV.

Availability: AZ, CO, ID, KS, MN, NE, NM, MO, SD, WY

Rein Pale Ale | Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
Charlotte, NC

The Rein Pale Ale is a cross between an American-style Pale Ale and a German-style lagered ale. This distinctive ale is brewed with a combination of four different American and German barley malt varieties, spicy American Tettnang and noble Czech Saaz hops. A beautiful light amber color, this moderately bitter pale ale is an enjoyable selection for almost any occasion.

Availability: SC, NC

Summer Ale | Pisgah Brewing Company
Black Mountain, NC

This Blonde Ale is made with the finest organic 2-row barley malt, whole leaf Mount Hood hops, Nugget hops, water, and top-fermenting ale yeast. Old-school Pisgah classic.

Availability: Local restaurants, bars, retail stores and our taproom.

Big Oak | Red Oak Brewery
Whitsett, NC

An unfiltered Vienna Lager brewed to the strength of a Bock (7% ABV). This will be the third year we’ve brewed Big Oak at our new Brewery. Big Oak is Red Oak’s most popular and most requested seasonal. All Red Oak Beers are Lagers, brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot.

Availability: On tap only for a limited time at select bars in central NC.

Saranac Blueberry Blonde Ale | Saranac Brewery
Utica, NY

Saranac Blueberry Blonde Ale is a traditional blonde ale with a kick of juicy blueberry. You’ll notice a light golden haze from wheat malt and oats and a low hop bitterness, which really shows off the fruit. With a medium-light body and fresh blueberry flavor, we’re sure we’ve captured refreshment in a bottle!

Availability: NY, NJ, PA, CT, RI, MA, ME, NH, VT, DC, DE, MD, VA, WVA, NC, SC, AL, CA, CO, GA, IA, KA, OH, TN

Delilah DeWylde-Berry Wheat | Saugatuck Brewing Co.
Douglass, MI

A crisp and refreshing raspberry wheat.

Availability: MI

Summer Lager | Schlafly Beer
St. Louis, MO

Our Helles-style Summer Lager is a bright, golden beer, perfect for summertime. The malts we use impart a wonderful, fresh grain character, reminiscent of European lagers. The German Noble hop, Mittelfrüh, lends a mild lemony, spicy flavor.

Availability: 300 Miles from StL (excluding Chicago) and Washington DC Metro area.

holy water“Holy Water” Maibock | Southern Oregon Brewing Co.
Medford, OR

Exclusively brewed with German specialty malts, our Maibock is a refreshingly crisp, spring festival beer with a pleasant malt character and a mild spicy hop twist expected from the style. This German-style lager is conditioned for 12 weeks to ensure the perfect flavor profile.

Availability: OR, WA

Root’s Revival | Twisted Pine Brewing Company
Boulder, CO

The first in the new Farm to Foam series, Root’s Revival is a tribute to the sustainable spirit of its home state. Recipes for all beers in the series include only Colorado-grown ingredients. This India Pale Ale is brewed with carrots grown 15 miles from the brewery at Abbondanza’s home farm. Twisted Pine is dedicating the carrot IPA to the Boulder Farmers’ Market in honor of its 25th anniversary.

Availability: Throughout Colorado

 


 

Meghan StoreyMeghan Storey, the Brewers Association’s Web Editor, has been lucky enough to work in the world of craft beer for the past four years. She holds a degree in Print Journalism from the University of Mississippi, and has recently relocated to Nashville, TN. She loves to introduce friends to new craft beers and food pairings. Since beginning work on CraftBeer.com she can be found adding beer to just about everything she cooks.

 

 

 

Meghan Storey has been lucky enough to work in the world of craft beer since graduating from the University of Mississippi. Now living in Nashville, TN, with her big yellow dog Wally, she loves introducing friends to new craft beer and food pairings. Since beginning work on CraftBeer.com she can be found adding beer to just about everything she cooks.

Read more from Meghan Storey