Summer Brew Time

Jon Whitaker is a certified cicerone and Beer Program Director at International Tap House in Kansas City, Mo.
I’m not going to try to blow anyone’s mind with new beer trends in this month’s column… Summer time is here, and like everyone else, I just want to sit outside, enjoy some sun, a nice breeze and a few good beers.

Here are a few summer-time favorites that I find myself coming back to, time and time again. Feel free to stock up on these beers as well, as they all clock in on the low end of the alcohol spectrum.

One of my go-tos is Bell’s Oberon. I’ve been in the beer game for a while now, but I still get excited for that first, uber-fresh glass of Bell’s Oberon every year. The beer is bright with citrus (slightly orange juice-like) notes up front, which then transition into a nice, smooth middle from the wheat malt. The finish is a pleasant, never over the top, small kiss of hops that gives you just enough bitterness to keep your tongue clean and thirsty for the next sip. Grab some tallboys at your nearest beer shop.

Another beer that has been around for a while but is simply fantastic in the summer is the Schlafly Kolsch. Technically an “ale” by traditional definitions, this light-golden beauty is going to finish crisp and clean like a lager. The traditional Kolsch yeast that’s used to make the beer keeps the beer nice and clean/drinkable but imparts just a touch of fruit character that works with the subtle floral notes from the German hop varieties. If you want a great “lawn” beer but still keep it craft, this is a fantastic selection.

Ok, I lied about the last one. Tallgrass Key Lime Pie might be a hair off the beaten path, but it’s fantastic and refreshing. They call it a “sour blonde,” but no worries as it’s not over the top. It’s definitely tart but just enough to be a fantastic thirst quencher. Throw a shot of lime in there and you have something that absolutely reminds you of a cooling slice of key-lime pie, but without the heavy cream, sugar, etc. The beer stays under 5 percent alcohol by volume and the flavors (while noticeable) are subdued enough where you’ll definitely want more than one.

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