An Incredibly Short History of Summer Beers
Summer is fast approaching, and with it come good times, great weather, and sun. What better way to cool down than with a nice crisp, refreshing beer? But why are those the things we typically associate with summer beer? And just what is a summer beer?
Many moons ago, before such new fangled gadgets like refrigerators, certain beers could only be brewed at certain times of the year. Not just because ingredients were available at those times but storing and brewing conditions were different in the winter than in the summer. Traditionally, stronger beers were made in the colder months because they took longer to ferment and needed to be stored at colder temperatures. Summer beers, on the other hand, could be brewed quickly, and the yeast wouldn’t suffer from storage at higher temperatures. This made them lighter as a result and considerably more refreshing to many.
As technology improved, and the ability to store ingredients for later use became wide spread, many of these seasonal beers maintained their schedule out of tradition more than brewing conditions. This has led to some rather odd release times for “seasonal” beers, but that’s an article for another time.
Here are some typical summer beers. Keep in mind, I’m trying to stay away from branding here so that you can make your own choices, but I’ll have recommendations for you soon enough.
(Noticing a theme? Light, refreshing, and pale?)
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, for instance, French Saisons were traditionally brewed in late fall then stored through the winter to be enjoyed in the summer months.
Whatever you drink this summer, try something new at least once.