It may seem premature, but it's the way of the world. As I write this, the mercury is at 35 degrees, a temperature that seems more conducive to the consumption of a hearty winter ale. Still, the calendar doesn't lie; it's just a few days 'til June and the beginning of summer. Breweries like to bring out their winter offerings as early as October, so it's no surprise that we're already seeing the first few summer seasonals. Designed to refresh on a hot summer day, they're not half bad on a blustery spring afternoon, either. Here's a worthy trio:
Anderson Valley Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema
Normally when the temperatures soar, I prefer something crisp and refreshing, but somehow, no matter how hot it gets, this lightly sweet and creamy treat satisfies. There are lots of ripe fruit flavors backed by fresh-baked pastry dough and touches of caramel and spice. Soft citrus flavors help balance things out. It's the perfect choice for our cool spring weather and a great match for all things barbecued.
Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale
This brew has a shiny, golden pour with a nice frothy head and offers big, floral hop aromas with touches of orange and pine. The Amarillo dry-hopping definitely comes through on both the nose and palate. It has a nice bitterness throughout, but it's not overly aggressive. Smooth fruity malt and biscuit flavors add to the mix in this refreshing summer ale.
Widmer Brothers Sunburn Summer Brew
Soft citrusy hops and grain-laced aromas lead off in this light golden ale. Citrus flavors dominate the palate (ripe lemon and subdued orange), but they meld nicely with the smooth hops that turn bitter just on the finish. This light-bodied quaff would make a good segue for those addicted to industrial brews. It's a nice summer entry from an old favorite.