A big dose of wheat in the grain-bill gives beers a soft fruit flavor and a refreshing zesty crispness. In other words: the perfect summer brew. Here are five favorite wheat beers to have in your fridge when the thirst strikes.
5 Wheat Beers to Try:
• Oberon Ale from Bell's Brewery: Orange and spice all up in here.
• A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company: Snappy fruits with lingering grassy hops.
• Festina Pêche from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery: Brewed with peaches and lip-smackingly tart.
• Dancing Man Wheat from New Glarus Brewing Company: Lots of traditional ripe banana, bubblegum, and toasted clove flavors with this one.
• Gumballhead from Three Floyds Brewing Co.: Lemony hops bounce around a big creamy yeasty fruity wheaty middle.
American wheat beers give a nod to traditional German hefeweizens and Belgian witbiers. They can veer toward the banana and clove flavors of the former or the coriander and orange character of the later, but don't always count on it. Many wheat beers forge ahead on their own path.
What is generally true is that wheat bears are made with roughly half wheat and half barley. With some stretching of the imagination, you can get a sense of fresh bread wheatiness beneath the citrus and fruit top-notes. Wheat beers are usually lightly hopped, giving the beer just enough herbal and grassy hop character to ensure a crisp finish. The wheat also gives beer a creamy, milkshake-like quality (especially when left unfiltered) with thick, sturdy head of foam.
What is your favorite wheat beer for summer sipping?
Related: Summer Ales & Winter Lagers: Why Are Beers Seasonal?
(Image: Flickr member stevendepolo licensed under Creative Commons)