Summer Ingredients Found in Summer Craft Beers
About a half mile down the road from my house is a fully-functioning farm stand. As the warmer months commence, the farm opens up for flower sales and concludes in the fall with pumpkins and other Autumn-related accoutrements. In between, the farm sells its own produce: corn, tomatoes, squash and a couple dozen more vegetables and fruits. It’s not uncommon for my wife, my kids and me to take the dog for a walk to the farm to get vegetables and fruit for the upcoming week. Insert any joke you may, but, yes, usually we bring our own reusable bags, too.
In a world where growers and wholesalers have been able to use technology to bend the laws of space and time in order to give us our seasonal produce year round, going to the farm is an anachronistic pleasure. The benefit of supporting a local business aside, there’s something magical in squeezing and examining fresh tomatoes, amidst the imperfections only a family farm can produce, for the best ones for tonight’s salad.
In the beer business, the term “seasonal” has become synonymous with limited release, rather than a reflection of actual seasonal brewing processes and ingredients. Bound by constraints of time and the availability of ingredients, seasonal beer reflects more the type of beer a brewery thinks we should drink (see: lighter, low-ABV beers in the summer; heavier, darker seasonals in the wintertime). This isn’t the breweries’ fault, but it lies in the challenge of being at the behest of agriculture. Sometimes the crop is too big; sometimes it is too small. Sometimes it comes too early; sometimes it doesn’t come at all.
It’s much more practical to rely on the basic format of giving beer drinkers a style of beer more amenable to the weather. That said, there are breweries that are undertaking the challenge to utilize localized and seasonal ingredients in their beer. And just like nothing tastes better than a farm-fresh tomato in the summertime, craft breweries around the country are banking that there will be nothing better than a beer that takes advantage of what grows around them naturally.
Limes (Schlafly Paloma Gose)
St. Louis mainstay Schlafly’s 2018 Cellar Selections are going in the direction of beers the mimic the complexity of a cocktail. The Paloma Gose is, at 4.5% ABV, a beautifully tart beer that’s light enough to drink all day. It will remind drinkers of having a well-made margarita. The lime and the tartness of the style don’t mix as much as they do interact with one another, each a mutually-prevalent player in the flavor of the beer.
“With low alcohol and hop profiles, it’s a cocktail disguised as a wonderfully balanced beer,” founding brewer Stephen Hale says.
Schlafly continues to impress with their one-off series. The innovation to craft a Mexican-inspired and German-style hybrid beer will impress drinkers. The Paloma Gose is also available in 750ml bottles, which makes this refreshing summer beer perfect to share.
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