With the outside temperature pushing 20 or more degrees above that of my quickly emptying keggerator, my thought turns to summer beers. I am needing to brew, and now is the time to put some hot weather beers in the can.
I actually got a request (rare) to brew my wheat beer. It is a beer that while I never fell in love with was light and non-wheaty and served a nice twist on the lawnmower beer. In recent years I have been experimenting with watermelon in it (which has been well recieved by all but me), but maybe it is time again to brew a naked version. I don't know.
My summer brewing schedule is needing to start taking shape, however. So far, if we hold to tradition, we have only the watermelon wheat, which is a late summer brew (watermelons ripen in June, so the beer is ready in July/August. I need a plan.
So, what should we brew this summer?
We have loose plans to brew a Gratzer (in German) or Grodziskie in my family's native tounge, which is a smoked wheat beer indiginous to Poland. For me, it is about getting back to my roots, and interesting, but not sure how I will like it. But it is different, and I know a guy with a smoker, so I may be able to smoke my own wheat malt, just to make it a little more interesting.
I have been enjoying the Helles style, but there isn't much to it and my window of opportunity for lagers is kind of closing.
I am interested in a Steam Beer again, but I have been disappointed with my attempts at this style compared to a fresh beer on tap from that certain brewery in San Francisco that owns the trademark. Perhaps I need to find my own version of this beer away from the clone.
Sour Mash something. After tasting the Sour Mashed Red Saison from Black Shirt Brewing, I am aroused by the thought of trying a sour mash to impart a tartness in a beer. But which beer should I choose? I am not sure I am up for a full-on Berliner-weiss.
Saison. I have fallen in love with some local examples of this style, but each of them is so different. I thought I would wait until mid summer and ferment this beer relatively warm, but haven't given a thought as to the type or variety that I could employ. Saison translates to season, so it is a beer made from the fresh ingredients on-hand.
Mild Ale. Being a malt forward kind of guy, this style has not gone well for us, and there are not many commercial examples to point to. Locally, Pike's Peak Brewing keeps theirs as a regular offering, and Dry Dock and Copper Kettle have them as one-offs or occasional seasonals. Our last example was a 2nd runnings from our Barley Wine, and I had a love-hate relationship. I though it was okay when I just poured one, but I thought it was awful when I poured one after having something else. It doesn't inspire confidence in me, but I feel like it (along with Brown Ale) is a style that could be a nice choice in the session beer catagory.