Food & Drink

First Draft

Best Beers for Sunshine

First Draft


FREMONT BREWING COMPANY Beer geeks unite in the sunshine at the Urban Beer Garden.

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Now that we've had at least a handful of hot days this year, it seems appropriate to ask an important question: What qualities make a great summer beer? People like things on the lighter and more refreshing end of the spectrum to accompany our two to three months of sunlight, and the best ones tend to be low in alcohol, crisp, easy to drink in larger quantities without feeling kicked in the stomach or like one needs a nap, and generally easy to take outside.

While there's always ubiquitous lager-style beers (domestic macros will do, but New Belgium's Shift is seriously great and shouldn't be overlooked) and pale ales, gose and Berliner weisse are all but perfect summer drinking to me. Both styles possess a definitive tartness, tend to stay within a manageable 3 to 4.5 percent alcohol by volume, and, unlike many tart beers, which can take years to ferment and cost upwards of $20 per bottle, tend to be reasonably priced. Since both are German in origin and just somewhat recently finding an American audience as the appetite for sours grows, only a handful of local-ish options exists: Seattle's finer bars get Cascade Brewing's seasonal goses from time to time, and Fremont Brewing's Sour Kettle, their first Berliner, was released earlier this year, though to this palate it was too close to a lactic-acid-infused take on 77, their spring session IPA.

The newest and most portable solution, however, is probably Boonville, California, brewery Anderson Valley's gose, which beats them all predominantly via convenience: It comes in canned six-packs for about $10, making it cheaper and easier to transport than anything else in town right now. In keeping with the style, it comes in at 4.2 percent, and it's predictably thin but sufficiently tart and very salty (salt being one of gose's signature qualities). It'll probably drink great at any of our fine beaches between now and September. recommended


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Don't forget Party Time!!! from Epic Ales in SODO! It's a really great and refreshing Berliner weisse that's available all year round. I think it's still only $4 a pint at the brewery.
Posted by benjamin on June 18, 2014 at 7:21 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 2
They sell cider growlers at Seattle Cider's warehouse and Capitol Cider too
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 19, 2014 at 1:20 PM · Report this
Your palate wasn't the only one that thought Sour Kettle was weak.

Don't forget about session IPAs for summer too. Stone's Go-To IPA is a nice one, with a light malt bill and a metric fuckton of citrusy hops. Firestone's Easy Jack is pretty decent too. Good beers to have when you're having six, though not available in cans.

Really enjoy this column. Keep up the good work.
Posted by Oast on June 19, 2014 at 1:25 PM · Report this
Everything does not need to be an IPA.
Posted by SPG on June 19, 2014 at 2:21 PM · Report this
Queen of Sleaze 5
Unibroue's Blnache de Chambly. Best. Summer beer. Ever.
Posted by Queen of Sleaze on June 19, 2014 at 3:50 PM · Report this
biffp 6
@2, Seattle Cider Semi-Sweet is a great call.
Posted by biffp on June 19, 2014 at 4:19 PM · Report this
We've had more than a handful, its been above 80 a number of times.

But any wheat beer.
Posted by dkjndmsahksdhksal on June 19, 2014 at 9:22 PM · Report this
Emerald City Dottie Lager
Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale
Posted by Richo on June 21, 2014 at 6:28 PM · Report this
Ninkasi's Wunderbeer is a kolsch (light german pale ale) and is awesome
Posted by cb on June 23, 2014 at 2:40 AM · Report this

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