Summer: It’s a beer drinkers’ season if ever there was one. I mean, no one heads out to the lake with a cooler full of wine! No one rewards themselves for an afternoon of yardwork by enjoying a shot of bourbon! And when it comes to firing up the grill, nothing compliments a summer barbecue quite like a pint shared with friends.
Beer is the very substance of summer, and thanks to the craft-brewing boom, seasonal beers are enjoying a real heyday. We’re not talking a watery corporate lager spiked with citrus and called a “summer beer.” We’re talking brews in hues of gold, pink and summer hay, inspired by ice cream, cherry pie and raspberries, and made to pair with green-chile cheeseburgers and red-chile barbecue sauce. There are more than enough seasonally appropriate options coming out of New Mexico microbreweries, so we rounded up a few favorites. Stock your cooler and start savoring the height of beer-drinking season!
Red Door Brewing Company
“Red Door brewed a vanilla cream ale for the summer. This light and refreshing session ale (session meaning lower alcohol content) comes in at 4.2 percent. The vanilla cream-soda flavor will pair equally well with desserts or a green-chile cheese burger. If you’re cooling off the blazing heat from some Hatch chile or the 90-plus days we’ve been having, the ale is perfect for summer.”
Wayne Martinez, brewmaster, Red Door Brewing Company
Lizard Tail Brewing
“Our summer seasonal is a raspberry wit—a Belgian-style witbier with raspberries. It’s tart, crisp and refreshing––perfect for those hot summer months.”
Dan Berry, co-founder and head brewer, Lizard Tail Brewing
Bosque Brewing Company
“Beauty is brought to light in the simplicity of Bosque’s Farm & Cherry. It’s a simple pilsner with an acidulated malt base that allows the funkiness of the Belgian Trappist yeast and tartness of the cherries to shine. As our brewer, John Bullard puts it, ‘Ripe, tart cherries and cherry pie were the inspiration for this beer. We set out to create a refreshing beer that would stave off the heat of summer.’ The light pink hue of this full-bodied, unfiltered, fruited ale is a perfect accompaniment to all things summer, especially outdoors!”
Jotham Michnovicz, co-owner, Bosque Brewing Company
Turtle Mountain Brewing Company
“One of our popular summertime beers is our Kosmonaut Kölsch, a German-style ale fermented at low temperatures to create an easy-drinking yet very flavorful patio pint. The Kosmonaut Kölsch-style ale is the essential summertime beer––brilliantly filtered to a sparkly light hay color with perfect carbonation for mouthfeel. The nose is gently sweet with soft ester profile. On the tongue, it comes off dry and clean and perfect for those hot sweaty days. You can’t find much better than this celestial beer for patio enjoyment.”
Tim Woodward, Head Brewer, Turtle Mountain Brewing Co.
“Nexus is featuring a single hop and single malt (S.M.A.S.H) pale ale that focuses on Czech Saaz hops for these hot summer days. It was inspired by a love of the ‘noble’ Czech Saaz hop, and the curiosity of what it tastes like completely on its own, unaccompanied by other hops. It makes a great summer beer because it’s got a great and distinct hoppy flavor, without being cloying or overpoweringly hoppy. The mild, floral and earthy characteristics of this beer pair perfectly with our breaded chicken wings covered in red chile BBQ sauce.”
Kaylynn McKnight, head brewer, Nexus Brewery
Santa Fe Brewing Company
“Freestyle Pilsner is our go-to when the going gets hot. Featuring 100-percent traditional German malt and a blend of European hops, it is dry and crisp, light in body and color, and thirst-quenching but still big on flavor. Its hop-driven citrus, spicy and herbal character pairs well with all manner of salads, seafood, chicken and tacos, while its soft malt body balances out the hottest salsas and green chile.”
Luke Macias, craft crusader and event coordinator, Santa Fe Brewing Company
“Canteen Brewhouse always brews fruit-infused beers during the hot months. This year, we have a Raspberry Lime Wheat, made with whole raspberry puree and pure lime juice. Yes, it’s pink. But boy, is it wonderful–– fresh, tart and crisp. The light body keeps it drinkable in the hot weather, pairing great with salty snacks when a big meal is simply not on the menu.”
Scott Sessa, assistant brewer, Canteen Brewhouse
Spotted Dog Brewery
“A couple of the brews we especially like for summer are our Hefewiezen and our Raspberry Wit Ale. Hefewiezen is the quintessential wheat beer. Created with wheat and hopped with Hallertau hops, this crisp ale is the answer to all your problems on a hot summer day. Our Raspberry Wit Ale is a spiced wheat ale with hints of coriander, grapefruit and tangerines. It’s brewed with four grains and four hops, then infused with fresh, mashed raspberries.”
Jerry Grandle, brewer, Spotted Dog Brewery
Whichever of these brews you choose, one thing is certain––these summertime suds will keep you smiling well into the fall, or no matter how high the mercury rises.
by Melyssa Holik