Cool Off with Summer Brews 

A sample of new suds from familiar breweries


It may be a bit hard to believe but the official start of summer is just a few weeks away. I just checked, and the Friday after this article hits the stands, forecasters are predicting a high temperature of 80 degrees. I'll believe it when I see it, but as the temperature dials up, you want to dial back a bit on your brew, opting for enticingly fresh, somewhat subdued flavors over bold excess. Here are the first three entries on the summer seasonal scene:

Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale

It's a bright amber in the glass with a thick, creamy head, and the resiny hops come through loud and clear on the nose with just a hint of sweetness. The hop flavor is more subdued than those aromas would suggest, but this ale is definitely built around them, though they aren't overly bitter. As it warms up, nice nuances of soft and floral malt show up. Perfect for summer evenings on the deck.

New Belgium Sommersault

Sommersault offers a clean strawberry-blond pour with a chalk-white head that collapses quickly but leaves a nice lacing. The just sweet, warm biscuit and malt aromas are laced with earthy grain, spice and subtle hops. The palate is filled with fresh citrus and peach flavors with good hits of spice, lemon grass and biscuit on the finish. A worthy homage to the Belgian Blonde style that would go great with Asian cuisine.

Sierra Nevada Summerfest

This brew pours a translucent golden wheat with an egg-white froth that lingers. Grain and fresh bread mark the nose along with touches of malt and citrusy hops. The light carbonation doesn't fill you up, while the flavors are a nicely balanced mix of floral hops and soft malt backed by notes of just crisp citrus. A very refreshing and easy drinking take on a European Pilsner.

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