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Stiegel Radler.

Summer is going on its last stretch. It’s only about a month left before it’s time to say goodbye to your summer beer love. If you haven’t found one yet it’s time to do that. There is no real definition of a summer beer. It usually a light, refreshing, crisp and low alcohol beer that doesn’t compromise with flavor. Lagers, ales and wheat beers seem to work best. There are many major breweries that are brewing light and refreshing beer but they lack flavor except maybe water and carbonation. In Europe beer mixes in the summer is popular. The summer beer mixes are often made with a lager or light ale with citrus soda, ginger ale or cider. In England it’s call it Shandy and in German speaking countries they call it Radler which means cyclist. I remember spending a few summer weeks in Austria biking in the mountains and drinking Stigel Radler at the top. I was a little surprised when I found a Stigel Radler from this independent Austrian brewery at Wholefoods Market in Santa Barbara.

A beer that I look forward to every year is the Southern Hemisphere Harvest from Sierra Nevada. This might not be a typical summer beer but I like the balance between the sweetness and the hoppyness and the dry finish. It’s a little heavier than a summer beer usually is but still a good summer beer.

Adding fruit to the beer makes the beer refreshing and crisp like you want to have it during hot summer day. Kona Brewing Company has done that with their Wailua Wheat. This is a very refreshing beer brewed with passion fruit. It has a slightly sweat malty smell with a hint of fruit. The body is clear and crisp with passion fruit without being intimidating. This beer would pair great with spicy seafood or maybe a coconut summer salad.

Karl Strauss is a local Southern California brewery. The brewery is located in San Diego and brew some really exiting beers. Endless Summer is Karl Strauss Brewing Company’s summer beer. The beer is a tribute to the brew master Karl Strauss and the filmmaker  Bruce Brown that created the classic surf film “The Endless Summer”. This beer is only 3.4% ABV. Beers that low in alcohol often lack a good body, no after taste and are thin and watery. The Endless Summer has a sweat and malty body with a touch of bitterness and a clean finish.

(Image courtesy of mikesbrewreview.com)

Another local brewery is Firestone Walker just a few hours north of Santa Monica. Their Solace is a wheat beer with a lot of citrus and clove aroma and a wheat malt finish. The beer is 6% ABV which I think is a little too much for a summer beer. This beer pair well with fish tacos.

The ever-growing New Belgium Brewing Company have a light summer ale called Summersault as their summer beer brewed with apricot and ginger. The beer has a malty body with tones of hops and subtle ginger and apricot flavors.

My summer loving this summer is my wife of course and the Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale. It’s crisp; refreshing beer with apples in the nose, light malty sweet body with orange and citrus and a slight touch of hops in the finish. This is a very drinkable beer. The beer pairs great with marinated calamari or grilled salmon.