Think outside regular lager this summer season with these different styles for your fridge:
Berlinner Weiss – sour beers are all over the craft beer scene in the US and are certainly worth exploring, especially in summer when the low alcohol level and refreshing sour fizz make it the perfect late afternoon sunshine beer. The lightness of the style make these beers a great aperitif style drink on a hot evening. Feral Brewing’s version – Watermelon Warhead – just took out the position of best craft beer in Australia at the Craft Beer Awards.
Saison – while not a new style on the beer scene in Australia, saisons – with their fruity, yeast driven flavours – make for great summer alternatives to a lot of very hoppy beers on the market (although India saison is a burgeoning style that does admittedly feature a lot of hops). Light on the palate but with plenty of depth, the style also matches well with cheese.
US West Coast Lager – got an IPA or pale ale loving crowd regularly swinging through your venue? Challenge their preconceptions of what a lager can be with an American version of the style (though there are some excellent Kiwi versions too). Heavy on the hops, balanced on the malt, and light and crisp from the use of lager yeast, these beers are very refreshing and packed with flavour.
Witbier – the Belgians really do know what they’re doing when it comes to brewing, and this style of wheat beer is no exception. Liberally dosed with coriander and orange peel – as well as any other spices the brewer feels like putting in (cloves, nutmeg and allspice are examples) – these beers are light in colour, cloudy and liberally carbonated for perfect summer drinking.
India Session Ale – everything you love about a classic IPA without the massive alcohol level that can make your customers a little too sleepy in the summer sun. While this isn’t technically a ‘beer style’, it’s becoming more popular among brewers who are looking to cater to all facets of the market.
Dark Lager – it might look as dark as sin, but these brews are light on body and deliciously crisp on the palate. They make a great alternative for those who love malty ales but aren’t keen on a beer served at 6-8 degrees Celsius on a 40 degree summer day. Serve them well chilled and watch your punters fall in love.
Fruit Lambic – the fruit driven, sour power of these beers make them both perfect dessert accompaniments as well as great summer drinking options. The traditional Belgian style is wild fermented with either raspberry or cherry, giving the brews a shocking pink colour, as well as a terrific tartness. They’re great gateway sours as any potential “barnyard” funk is minimised.
Gose – not for the faint-hearted, this salty and slightly sour style has been making waves in the US and can now be found occasionally in Australia – Willie the Boatman does one called Old Salty. The style comes from the eponymous town in Germany where the water table was ruined by salt, making all the beers distinctly briny in flavour. Grab a bottle or two for your more adventurous clientele.