Why you should try summer seasonal beers
While you might love the "flagship" beer from your favorite brewery, seasonals offer the opportunity to experiment — and try something different.
That’s the pitch from Nate Fochtman, who’s the vice president of craft and business development at Ace Distributing. Recently, he took the time out to answer several questions about beers that are available during the summer:
Q. How are seasonable beers that come out in the summer different?
A. They’ll be a little of the lighter products. They won’t be stouts or porters or anything heavy. … Most of the time, they’ll have some fruit in them, or something that’s kind of equating to a very relaxing, refreshing product for some of those hot, summer days.
Q. When do you start seeing these beers, and how long are they available?
A. Larger breweries such as Sam Adams and Tröegs — they’ll start releasing their summer seasonal around April. I’ve seen some come out as early as St. Patrick’s Day. … And then the smaller breweries — more toward coming to the actual summer season that we would think of, which would be May and early June.
… The hard stop is in August, when the pumpkin beers and the Oktoberfest and all the fall beers come out.
Q. Why are summer seasonable beers worth checking out?
A. Seasonals, no matter whether they’re summer seasonals, winter, spring, or fall, they’re always a great opportunity — they’re a once a year opportunity — for people to try something different.
Here are three summer seasonable beers that Fochtman recommends:
1. Nimble Giant (Tröegs Brewing Co. Double IPA. ABV: 9 percent. Available: Now.)
“It was originally a scratch beer. So it was a test beer they had inside of their brewery, and they only sold in the brewery to a couple select accounts. … It’s a great product from Tröegs, and they haven’t steered us wrong with anything.”
2. Heavy Melon (New Belgium Brewing Co. Ale. ABV: 5 percent. Available: Now.)
“It’s a really easy, drinking product. The watermelon is very subtle in it, so it’s not over the top at all.”
3. Pynk (Yards Brewing Co. Ale. ABV: 5.5 percent. Available: Second week of July.)
“Pynk is a tart, berry ale. But one of the great things about it is it’s a fundraiser for the Tyanna Foundation, which supports a lot of cancer research and such out of the Baltimore area, as well as the Philadelphia area.”