by Amy Weirick
With summer at our door, we wanted to load the cart with beers that seem tailor-made for barbecues, beach parties and warm summer nights. Now that 1,000-plus-year-old German gose-style beers are making a resurgence, it’s the perfect time to try this thirst-quencher.
Anderson Valley Brewery Briny Melon Gose: The smoky apricot color of this gose gives way to a frothy head, which quickly dissipates. Not your typically sweet fruited beer, a faint nose of melon and saltwater smells like an ocean-side picnic. A whiff of bready hops adds intrigue. The flavor, too, is a surprise: fruit, a pronounced brackish tang reminiscent of pickled watermelon, and gose’s trademark coriander. Despite a decidedly vinegary finish, the salty, flavor and a low 4.2 percent ABV make Briny Melon an oddly refreshing choice.
Knee Deep Brewing Wet Wittee: This Belgian Style white ale was quite a bargain at just $5.99 for a beefy 22-ounce bottle. Its unfiltered lemony hue was equally citrusy on the nose. Malty grain and a hint of spice add body to the aroma. Without the heavy spice and vanilla often found in Belgian-style brews, Wet Wittee tastes remarkably like Grandma’s lemon cardamom cookies. With an ABV of 5.3 percent, its clean taste is backed by toasty hops and a crisp, tart finish, making this an easy-drinking summer beer.
Jackie O’s Firefly Amber: While many call this a “gateway” beer for newbie craft brew drinkers, we think it’s underappreciated. Lovely amber color supports a frothy, reliably persistent head. Richly toasted malt gives a summery scent of roasted sweet corn, with hops that smell mildly piney. A 4.5 percent ABV, medium body and light carbonation produce a well-crafted amber ale with a drying resinous finish. Like a lighthearted summer drive-in movie, Firefly Amber reminds us that not every beer needs to be heavily structured to be enjoyable.