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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Drink Up and Celebrate the Season

Pour Yourself a Cold Local Summer Beer

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Summer is almost upon us, which means backyard barbeques, outdoor projects and (hopefully) lots of relaxing in the sun. When the temperatures soar above 80 degrees, many of us will celebrate the season by popping open an ice-cold brew. A summer beer should be refreshing, of course. Typically, summer beers are also light in body and color, lower in alcohol content and wheat-based. Luckily, there are several seasonal summer beers on offer by local microbreweries.

Sprecher Brewery, which began the resurgence of small breweries in Milwaukee almost 30 years ago, produces several seasonal brews throughout the year. From May through August it's the crisp Summer Pils. This Czech-style Pilsner goes well with just about any meal and can be enjoyed on its own. With a hint of bitterness and slight earthiness, a pint (or two) will cool you down and quench your thirst.

Another long-time local brewing company, Lakefront Brewery, is making a Wisconsinite Summer Weiss Beer. All of the ingredients used are from Wisconsin, right down to the yeast developed by Jeremy King of Northern Brewer, a brewing supply distributor based in West Allis. All of the wheat, hops and barley used in this beer were also grown in-state. So, if you are hot, thirsty and Wisconsin-proud, try this slightly clouded golden brew with hints of citrus fruitiness.

For about 15 years, Milwaukee Brewing Company has been raising the bar on locally made beer. One of their first and most popular products, an amber ale called Louie's Demise, serves as the inspiration for a delicious seasonal variation. Infusing blueberry and hibiscus tea blends into a batch of Louie’s Demise created the variation, Weekend @ Louie’s. This beer is refreshing and light—but not too sweet—with fruity and herbal notes from the tea infusion. It’s excellent on a hot day.

Horny Goat Brewing Company, which holds a spot in the Milwaukee market at the Horny Goat Hideaway Bar/Restaurant, is putting out two seasonal brews. Watermelon Wheat, a fruit beer that goes down easy when the sun is high in the sky, is brewed with real watermelon. The flavor is surprisingly subtle and isn't overly fruity. The second seasonal is the brand-new Summer Bucket List. This wheat ale is brewed with mango and ginger, promising to be a cool, crisp treat for parched throats.

These local brewers make several year-round varieties that pair well with summer activities, and many other Wisconsin breweries also make widely distributed seasonal brews. Ask around at your favorite liquor store, brewpub or bar and you'll find lots of people with suggestions for satisfying your taste for seasonal beer.

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