Ain’t no pour like the summertime brews
Dan Carey, co-owner and brewmaster of New Glarus Brewing Co., would like you to enjoy his beer Totally Naked.
Depending on circumstances — and the temperature — you can, of course, enjoy any beer totally naked. But only Carey produces a brand of beer called Totally Naked that can be enjoyed virtually anywhere, regardless of the weather. It’s also a perfect beer to add to your list of summertime brews.
A lager brewed with two-row barley malt and Noble Hop varieties from Germany and the Czech Republic, Totally Naked pours with a bright white head and a light golden color that literally sparkles in the summer sun. The beer’s flavor is light, but creates a significant, yet subtle impression on the palate. It finishes very cleanly, with barely a whisper of aftertaste.
The perfect summer beer is, of course, the beer you enjoy the most. But warmer temperatures generally call for lighter, more refreshing fare. Just like food, there are beers that suit the season, and here are a few for your summer six-pack.
Earlier this year Madison’s Ale Asylum let loose with six-packs of Unshadowed, brewmaster Dean Coffee’s version of the classic hefeweizen. Coffee’s version pours a hazy gold, with the classic wheat backbone balanced by lemon and citrus accents. There is a banana essence on the nose that more or less disappears on the palate. The beer is substantial, even for a hefeweizen, and a good choice for a warm afternoon.
Milwaukee Brewing Co. has taken a retro turn with Outboard, a cream ale that your father would consider “a real beer.” In other words, those who cut their beer-drinking teeth on Pabst, Schlitz and Miller High Life would feel right at home quaffing Outboard. The beer pours golden with a little carbonation and a thin white head. The flavor is crisp in the palate and clean in its finish. This is what they call a ”lawnmower beer” and you’ll want several after toiling on your back 40.
India pale ales are always summer favorites, and one of ours is Hop Whoopin’ from O’so Brewery in Plover, outside Stevens Point. A floral nose leads to a yellow/orange pour and off-white foam, with orange/grapefruit flavors bursting on the palate. Even at 95 international bittering units, the beer’s hop monster status is tamed beneath a creamy mouthfeel and complex characteristics. Yum!
Not far from O’so, Central Waters Brewing Co. in Amherst is turning out many fine beers, not the least of which is its Belgian Blonde Ale. Generally a light-bodied, palatable and lightly malted beer, this blonde ale takes a slightly different turn through its Belgian stylings, which add a little more hoppiness than blonde beer drinkers may expect. At around 8 percent alcohol by volume, it’s also a little stronger, with spiciness on the palate and distinctly Belgian taste characteristics. Refreshing, yet with a little kick all its own.
Summer shouldn’t mean a total absence of dark beer, and 3 Sheeps Baaad Boy Black Wheat Ale from Sheboygan may be the perfect crossover beer for the season. The beer pours dark, but is not quite opaque, with an off-white head and nose of molasses and burnt grain. With flavors of toasty malt and cocoa, the beer has a somewhat complex palate. It retains a crisp characteristic that refreshes, while still meeting the taste profile preferred by dark beer lovers.
One of our go-to summer beers has always been Lake Louie Warped Speed Scotch Ale, from Lake Louie Brewery in the little town of Arena. It’s robust, “wee heavy” dark in color, and rich in flavor characteristics. In July, brewmaster Tom Porter will release Impulse Drive Scotch Ale, a 4.4 percent ABV junior partner to Warped Speed’s 6.9 percent ABV and a “session beer” version of one of our favorites brews. What better way to celebrate the season?
Star Trek fans will immediately recognize the beers’ homage to Mr. Scott, the Enterprise engineer who used the warp drive to hop the ship from star system to star system, and the impulse drive to dodge those nasty Klingon rays. The source of the names doesn’t affect the flavor, of course, but it does add to the beer-drinking fun.