Summer Brews – 2016

Summer Brew Review

Ah, summer. Just saying the word is enough to make you take a deep breath and relax. Few things are as great as kicking back on your porch or even at the beach with a good beer. From shandys to pale ales to wheat beers and beyond…summer beers are all about refreshing you and beating the heat.

There’s a sacred bond that exists between warm weather and beer. While a good beer is great all year, there’s just something about a hot day that makes a beer taste better than normal. To help you and your enjoyment of your summer beers, we compiled a list of beers that symbolize summer and of course, are perfect for some serious porch drinking.

Anderson Valley Brewing Summer Solstice
Unlike winter and fall beers, summer beers fall into quite a few categories and run the gamut of flavors. Take for example Anderson Valley’s Summer Solstice. This beer is slightly sweet with a malty backbone and a clean finish. Summer Solstice is considered a session beer, coming in at 5% ABV, making it perfect for having a few beers while barbequing or cutting the grass. Bravo hops give this beer a slight hop flavor and the light spice addition gives the beer a hint of caramel and spice, making it a “cream soda for adults” without being too sweet.

Bell’s Brewery Oberon
What’s better than one of the best summer beers ever in a 12oz can? One of the best summer beers in a 16oz can of course! Summertime favorite Oberon from Bell’s Brewery is out once again this summer with a twist, thanks to the “pounder” can and a true pint pour. Light and refreshing, both sizes are available this year to help you with all your porch sitting and grass cutting, koozie not included. Of course if glass is more your style, Oberon is always in the bottle, too.

Buffalo Bill’s Orange Blossom Cream Ale
A light and somewhat sweet entry in our list comes from Buffalo Bill’s Brewery in the form of their Orange Blossom Cream Ale. This 5.2% ABV beer features hints of fresh orange thanks to the use of sweet orange peel and orange blossom extract in the brewing process. Top that off with some honey and you’re left with a beer that’s refreshing and sweet enough to make it the perfect defense against a hot summer day.

Erie Brewing Soleil Shandy
Our friends in Erie brew their Soleil Shandy each summer to help ease those hot days. Shandys are a mix of beer and juice, making them lower in alcohol and substantially more refreshing than your typical beer. Erie’s take on the shandy comes in at 3.5% ABV and features flavors of lemon and raspberry and just enough tartness to make you want more.

*NEW* Heavy Seas TropiCannon
One of the newest beers in our list comes to us from Heavy Seas Beer. Their TropiCannon is a citrus IPA coming in at 7.25% ABV. TropiCannon is the long lost cousin of their flagship Loose Cannon IPA, but this one features flavors of blood orange, grapefruit, mango, and lemon. Centennial and Palisade hops are ditched in favor of Amarillo and additional Simcoe, separating the two beers even more, leaving the piney character to Loose Cannon and giving even more citrus to TropiCannon. In short, this is one new beer that you really have to try to believe.

North Country Brewing Co. Bucco Blonde
Blonde ales are typically light and refreshing, making them a perfect match for warm weather, and North Country Brewing’s Bucco Blonde is no exception. This 4.9% blonde ale has a great malt body with a hint of bitterness to balance things out. This beer was brewed specifically for Pittsburgh’s very own Pirates. More specifically, for and by the Bucco’s pitching coach Ray Searage, also known as Uncle Ray, and proceeds go to benefit the Make a Wish foundation.

*NEW* Oskar Blues Beerito
Lagers are great summer beers. They’re refreshing and crisp while keeping a healthy dose of bitterness all in a single package. What’s even more refreshing is a Mexican lager, and no, we’re not talking about the one you put the lime in. Oscar Blues Brewery’s Beerito is a 4% ABV amber Mexican lager that gets some help from German and Colorado-sourced malts and noble hops. Along with the crisp flavor you’ll get hints of walnut, toasted bread, plum, honey, and even cocoa. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another beer with that much character at only 4%.

Springhouse Brewing 7 Gates Pale Ale
The flagship beer for Spring House, Seven Gates Pale Ale is named for a story out of rural Pennsylvania. According to this legend, there was an insane asylum deep in the woods that was surrounded by, you guessed it, seven gates to keep the “guests” of the asylum safe and sound. One night the asylum caught fire, and to their peril the seven gates did their job and kept everyone in, where they haunt still today.

Springhouse gave their flagship beer some extra…protection…this year by putting the beer into a 12-oz can for the first time ever. You get the same amazing beer and your beer stays protected from light and anything else that could do it harm.

Tröegs Independent Brewing Sunshine Pils
Another member of the canned beer club, Troegs Brewing’s Sunshine Pils is ready for summer in its newly designed outfit. This straw-golden Pilsner comes in at 4.5% ABV and is possibly one of the most refreshing beers you’ll ever try. Brewed with Pilsner malt as well as Hersbrucker and Saaz hops, this Euro-style Pilsner is crisp and light while having a solid hop profile. Perfect for just about any meal or a good day of yard work, Sunshine Pils is like sunshine in a can. (Always In glass bottles too)

Victory Brewing Summer Love
Coming out this summer again in a can is Victory’s seasonal Summer Love. While there are many reasons to love summer, Summer Love is possibly the best. This golden ale comes in at 5.2% ABV and features tastes of fresh, clean German malts with earthy and spicy noble European hops, finishing up with a lemony aftertaste thanks to some whole flower American hops. Even though that can will keep your beer fresh longer, Victory Summer Love is available in bottles, too.

Otter Creek Brewery Fresh Slice
The call of the lawn chair and fresh cut grass is a strong one, and Fresh Slice from Otter Creek Brewing is here to answer. This 5.5% white IPA includes a little clementine and coriander along with some very dank and delicious hops. The Belgian yeast used in this beer makes it nice and fresh tasting while being extra refreshing for nice hot days. Best of all, this is the first can ever offered by Otter Creek, so check it out while you can, as this one is only seasonal.

*NEW* Dogfish Head Brewing Flesh and Blood
Dogfish Head is known for making some pretty amazing and off-the-wall beers, but this year they’re taking the well-known IPA and giving it a twist, and by twist we mean of the citrus variety. Their brand-new Flesh and Blood Imperial IPA comes in at 8.5% ABV and features lemons and blood oranges. Look for this new member of the cool kids club in bottles and on draft starting in May.

Dogfish Head Brewing Burton Baton
When it comes to big beers, Dogfish Head rarely fails to deliver. They pride themselves on making amazing beers that often feature higher than average ABV and their Burton Baton is no different. Sadly, this year-round beer had to take a break to allow them to make a few other beers this year but fear not, this May it’s back and just as good as ever.

Burton Baton is actually two beers that are mixed together after brewing. The base beers are an English0style old ale and an imperial IPA. Together they make a 10% ABV beer that’s aged in one of their large oak tanks for about a month. You end up with a big beer that has notesof citrus, vanilla, and oak.

Each of these beers and more are proudly distributed in and around the Pittsburgh area by Vecenie Distributing.