Now that the wicked winter of 2015 has fully faded in our rear view mirror, we’re good and ready to embrace some easy drinking summer brews. We’ve chosen three with a tropical kick, finding they’re the perfect pour as we bask in the summer sun.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Hop Hunter IPA: Using what it describes as “pure hop oil from mature cones,” Sierra Nevada’s Hop Hunter pushes the floral perfume far forward on this IPA. Strong tropical fruits first greet the nose, then a little toasted marshmallow hints at something good – and made for summer. Aroma’s supporting role opens the act for a crisp, strong performance. The clear, straw-yellow brew bears a dense, white head. Grapefruit and pineapple notes are nicely balanced with pine, good carbonation and a pleasing bitterness with a zesty, refreshing finish. At 6.2% ABV this nearly sessionable brew is perfect for summer.
Kentucky Rye Barrel IPA: Pretty amber color, a creamy head and a very sweet malty scent bode well for this Rye Barrel IPA. Light up-front rye spice gives way to a sweet, bready middle, then a caramel bourbon finish where its barrel birth really shows. Kentucky Rye Barrel’s medium body and faint carbonation offer a finish that’s creamy, yet intense. Surprisingly, it doesn’t carry the characteristic dryness of most ryes. That kind of balance shows in the beer’s craftsmanship. But be careful with this one: its sweet, marmalade-like malt masks the 10% ABV.
The Brew Kettle Kitka Chocolate Coconut Milk Stout: At first glance, the opaque black beer looks nearly viscous. But effervescent carbonation froths into light creamy head. Then you dip your nose into the glass, and you’re inundated with coffee, rich fudge and…is that coconut? The palate delivers everything the nose promised. Sweet chocolate, roasted malt and milky vanilla flavors finish with toasty coconut that’s much more pronounced than its aroma, yet not at all too strong, and an ideal sweetness. Exceptionally well crafted in Strongsville, it will be perfect under the stars on an early summer night. With 5.75 percent ABV, you may even want two “desserts.”
– Amy Weirick