NOVA SCOTIA UNCAPPED - Summer Suds
Whose vision of summer doesn’t involve sipping beers on a patio? Or at the beach? Or at a family barbecue? Or beside a bonfire? Summer is a time when people kick back a lot and knock back a few. You’ll see many seasonal beers make an appearance in the summertime that tend to be lighter in body and mouthfeel, and also tend to be lighter in colour and roast qualities.
Wheat beers are one. With their lemony bites, they can be more prominent, especially American wheat beers made with fruits such as blueberry, raspberry or pear. Saison brews are another. A French/Belgian style farmhouse ale that may or may not have wheat in it, Saison is a summer staple. Literally meaning “season,” these beers were originally brewed in colder months and served in the summer when brewing was more difficult due to a lack of refrigeration. Radlers are yet another trendy summer beer style made by mixing a lighter beer with a citrusy juice usually in a 50/50 ratio. Originally from Germany, these beers were created for cyclists (or “radlers”) who wanted something with a lower ABV. Thirsty yet? Keep reading for more summer beer picks and foods to pair them with!
Spindrift Brewing - Knotty Buoy Pilsner
4.8% ABV, 20 IBUs
This crisp and clean lager is a light golden-yellow beer that screams summer. It has malt notes of biscuits and honey, and floral rose-water aromas from the hops. It’s nicely carbonated with a soft mouthfeel, and has a lingering bitterness. This beer is definitely easy drinking, one you could knock back a few of on a hot day at the beach or poolside. It’s also a great beer for pairing summer foods with, such as seafood or charcuterie.
Boxing Rock Brewing - Hunky Dory Pale Ale
Here’s another great beer for hot summer days! Hunky Dory is a pale ale made with citrus zest and green tea, which contribute to a very thirst-quenching dry finish. The beer is amber coloured and brilliantly clear with a medium-light body. Its fruity notes remind me of pear and apricot, and it has slightly sweet malt flavours that taste like crackers or biscuit crust. This beer is great on its own or paired with foods like citrusy sushi, banh mi with citrus aioli or Thai spring rolls.
Garrison Brewing - Seaport Blonde Ale
4% ABV, 8 IBUs
Blonde ales are often the go-to “lawnmower beers,” and understandably so. These beautifully golden-yellow ales are clean and crisp beers, and at 4 per cent it’s easy to casually have a few in one sitting. I know a few “non-craft” beer drinkers who have changed their minds after trying the Seaport Blonde Ale. Its delicate hops and light malt notes of flour and cracker make it an accessible beer for beer drinkers of all stripes. Have it with fish and chips on a harbour patio for the full Seaport experience.
Rare Bird Brewing - Red Ale
5% ABV, 25 IBUs
Rare Bird’s Red Ale is a bright, copper beer with an off-white head of foam. Some people feel it is difficult to pair food with red ales during summer because these beers can be more rich and sweet than others, but I always enjoy red ales with barbecue, especially anything that has a tangy sauce. The sweet malts used in red ales impart caramel notes that marry nicely with caramelized barbecue fare, while Rare Bird’s bitterness is just enough to keep the sweetness from being overwhelming.
Propeller Brewing - Hefeweizen
4.8% ABV, 12 IBUs
This is another great summer beer. It is brassy-gold and opaque, with a bright white head of foam. Hefeweizens are German wheat beers, and that wheat adds a soft texture, hazy appearance and a grainy, sometimes lemony flavour to the beer. Known for their signature banana and clove flavours, these beers are also usually higher in carbonation, making them highly refreshing. I had this beer alongside strawberry shortcake with cardamom whipped cream and it knocked my socks off.
Hell Bay Brewing - Oatmeal Pale Ale
5% ABV, 49 IBUs
I love this beer. It has copper-orange hues, and is slightly hazy from the use of oats. Those same oats give this beer a nutty flavour and a silkier mouthfeel than most ales. It has soft carbonation and a slight bite, and to me it seems to have more roastiness than you would think. This is a beer that I’d pair with bonfires and barbeques thanks to those roasty notes and sweet brown sugar malt flavours, not to mention its great citrusy hop profile and nice bitterness.