We love summer, and we love the beers that define it for us. Below are just a few beers we thought you all would like to check out and drink before this balmy season comes to a close.

Sparkle from Petoskey Brewing

summer beerThere’s barely a head on this golden, clear-as-crystal beer. It’s the epitome of summer drinking in my glass, because Petoskey Brewing decided to make their ‘Sparkle’ beer a Classic American Lager.


A whiff of crackers, some bread crust, grassy hops, and I’m on my way to tasting this little number. I receive a pleasant twinge of sweetness before a drying effect settles in. I’m left with a balancing, barely-there bitterness to round it out. A simple and to the point kind of a beer. Prepare yourself for true pleasure by pairing this summer quencher with seafood of the crustacean variety.

Even better, this beer comes in a  pint sized can, which means bringing this beer along when heading to the lake is a must.

 

Cake Walk from Right Brain Brewery

A cake walk, hey? AND it’s a Vanilla Cream Ale? Don’t mind if I do…

SummerBeer (6)Lovingly subtle Madagascar vanilla is in the nose, which is enveloped mostly by the aroma of corn. They suggest a “floral” note on the bottle and I don’t disagree, what with me thinking of lavender and lilies when I smelled it.

The mouthfeel is to die for! Incredibly smooth and pillowy, I gulp the beer down and find an explosive, yet not overwhelming, vanilla note. This dies down into the remnants of corn characteristic, and eventually into a lingering, small sense of bitterness.  It’s not sweet, but rather crisp. A very welcome thing on a hot day.

I’d explore this beer with cold cucumber soup, crab, or a béchamel and white cheddar grilled cheese.

 

Power of Love from Short’s Brew

SummerBeer (2)This, my friends, is a shandy-style ale. They chose to utilize rosemary and raspberry lemonade, and man, does it ever remind me of eating red popsicles in the summer while sitting on my mom’s lap. I’d get occasional whiffs of the American style lager she was drinking, and this shandy ale here brings those two scents together once again. No wonder they called it “Power of Love.”

As expected, the lemonade, raspberry, and rosemary scents make their way into my nose. I sip a bit and stagger a little at the sweetness, though it does make me want to freeze this beer in an ice tray and eat it as a popsicle….

A tiny bit of bitterness escapes at the very end, letting you know this is still part beer after all. It’s bright, fruity, sweet, and the perfect pairing with lemon basil chicken salad.

 

Tasmanian Hatter from New Holland Brewing Company

12oz-TasmanianHatter_Label_2015It’s an aroma bomb of dank, garlic, juicy mango and pineapple hops.  So far so good, now let’s dive in.

This ‘Galaxy India Pale Ale’ is punchy as all hell in the nose, but transforms itself into a sweet, bitter, and chewy beer that focuses on mouthfeel. It’s well rounded, flavorful, yet doesn’t feel disorganized.

Tasmanian Hatter can go in many directions with pairing, but I’d especially save this one for a roast rabbit with mango chutney or brisket tacos with pineapple slaw on a corn tortilla.

 

 

Mackinac Island Fudge Stout from Arbor Brewing Company

SummerBeer (4)What better way to end a meal in the summer than with a hot fudge sundae? Let’s re-create our own by pouring a little of this brew onto some ice cream and relish in the fact that chocolate beer and ice cream are a classic hit for a reason.


Here we are then, with the dark brown brew that is the Mackinac Island Fudge Stout. It’s got medium body, a little bit of acidity, and a creamy chocolate (almost tootsie roll candy) flavor that emerges in the flavor and aroma. Not overbearing or dense, this beer is a great way to get your chocolate fix even on the warmest of days.

You should also consider using this beer in a recipe for braised pulled chicken with beer mole sauce, using this fudge stout for the mole sauce.

Get out there, enjoy your continuing palate exploration, and live up the rest of the 2016 summer with season-perfect brews.

Cheers!