If you've been retreating to lighter beers to slake your summer thirst, take a break from the mundane and get ready to awaken your palate. Each of this week's brews has a refreshing quality that works when the sun is searing, but they are also unique, flavor-filled beers that will tantalize your taste buds.
Firestone Walker Solace, Unfiltered Wheat Beer
This California brewery is known for its use of American oak barrels in the fermentation process, but to make this sessionable summer entry, it stuck with 100 percent stainless steel. The result is a hazy, lemon peel-colored pour with a quickly collapsing, frothy head. On the nose, the beer has floral hops and apple blossom notes with touches of sweet corn, grass and clove. This brew goes down smoothly with soft citrus, just-sweet malt, spice and an off-dry finish.
This exceptional German original--it first hit the valley in an oh-so-cool, and oh-so-expensive 25-ounce goose-neck bottle--is now available in a much more reasonable 11.2-ounce format. The brew pours a cloudy, soft gold with a thin head and offers mild aromas of pepper, coriander and yeast. The flavors are unique and easier to enjoy than to describe. There's a just-noticeable thread of saltiness throughout, along with a smooth core of ripe lemon and a tart and lively finish. This beer is a must-try for all beer lovers.
Sterkens White Ale
An incredibly pale straw in color, this Belgian brew is topped by a thick, egg-white froth that falls to a thin-but-persistent head. The coriander on the nose makes you think you've walked into an Indian restaurant, but it's backed by subtle citrus and straw. More coriander comes through on the palate that has a rough but appealing texture. Smooth citrus and grainy malt flavors build in the mouth, with a bit of white pepper on the dry and refreshing finish.