Summer is the best time for having a beer – we all know people who don’t drink during the whole year (not to mention some special occasions) but in the warmest season they’re pretty keen on beating the summer heat with as many tools as possible. Going to the beach, take a trip into the forest or open a refreshing bottle of beer are common summer activities. It’s not an easy thing to choose your favourite summer beer but fortunately, you don’t need to choose. Instead of competing types and styles, we’ve chosen the ultimate beverage that’ll perfectly fit your holiday, a light Summer Ale with a crisp taste.
Blonde – it’s not all about the colour!
The trademark of a well-crafted seasonal summer ale is – believe it or not – wheat, its category is one of the fastest-growing in the market but the name Summer Ale is rather an umbrella concept indicating refreshing type of ales with often fruity flavours and certain characteristics. In general, they have light to medium body with malty sweetness, low to medium hop bitterness, light yellow to golden blonde colour, medium to high carbonation and 4 to 4.5 percent ABV which makes it your perfect companion (and an alternative to American style Lagers) when summer is in full swing.
Blonde Ales originated in North America and came from the traditions of both pale ale and Kölsch. Around the time Blond Ale was born, the beverage was most likely the lighter version of the pale ale and called sparkling or a dinner ale. Interestingly, the style that is equally called Blonde Ale, Golden Ale or Summer Ale is related to popular mass market Lagers and to be honest, Summer Ales were introduced to the people with the further purpose of changing their mind and lick them into the shape of craft beer lovers.
The dog days aren’t over
The biggest challenge of brewers was to create an ale that could be served colder like Lagers and yet remain to its qualities like the flavour and the freshness that makes craft beers more favourable than mass-produced beer. Good to know that Ales usually wouldn’t really enjoy heavy chilling but Summer Ales need to be conditioned in the same room as other Ales plus chilling can easily remove the tasty flavours so what can we do? Steal some tricks from the Pilsner trade and make the perfect beer for dog days, the hot months when all of us want to consume more than one or two bottles of it at a time.
Fancy making your own Summer Ale? Follow our tips and brew something special next time!
+ Summer Beers have a pale colour so use English Pale Ale malt (the paler the better), Pilsner, Munich or Vienna malt
+ surprise your beer with a quenching mouthfeel by using Wheat malt
+ dry hopping is the key: add hops into the fermenter in order to achieve your desired taste and flavour
+ use any kind of C hops and dry hop the sh*t out of it (Chris link) with 1 ounce Amarillo hop or use Magnum pellets, and Mosaic hops. In Chris’ latest video (link above) you’ll find his Summer Shack Ale recipe, check it out!
+ for fermentation, try using any kind of ale yeast
+ dry hopping: 6 days at the longest
+ add 8-9 grams (for kegging 5 grams) of glucose or spray malt per bottle when bottling and let it age for 6-8 weeks
See how Chris makes his own Summer Shack Ale with the Brewie+ here!