What Makes A Good Summer Beer?
There’s a few key elements. Firstly, a good summer beer must be refreshing. Now, refreshing is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot in the advertising of beers. Give me a beer for every time I’ve heard the phrase “Clean, crisp, refreshing taste” come out of my television or radio and I’d be perpetually drunk. But just because it’s overused it doesn’t mean that it’s without meaning. A refreshing beer tends to be light in colour (most people wouldn’t call a stout refreshing) with mild to moderate bitterness and a light to medium body.
Secondly, a good summer beer must be sessionable – one that you would happily have multiple of in a sitting. Summer is the season of BBQs and it’s nice to be able to drink a 3 or 4 beers without having to battle an alcoholic kick that makes you want to go to sleep. Sessionable beers tend to be between 3% and 5%ABV.
Lastly, a good summer beer tastes like summer. This is what Stone and Wood have done so well in their hugely popular Pacific Ale. The galaxy hop additions give notes of passionfruit and mango- Summer fruits. Summer ale’s, I think, are allowed stray on the fruity side of things. Hops like Citra, Galaxy, Mosaic, and Ella all give off excellent summer fruit flavours and work well in summer beers.
Stone and Wood have done an excellent job of making all of their beers appealing to a wide market. The Garden Ale is no exception. It’s a mid-strength ale sitting at 3.8% ABV and is single hopped with Ella. The result is a truly sessionable summer ale that sits happily alongside Pacific Ale as a less-alcoholic and slightly less fruity alternative.