Culture: Get fresh at the weekend. . .
Now the weather has finally improved and temperatures are rising, quite a few people prefer to reach for a cold, refreshing beer rather than a rich, dark, full-flavoured ale. And especially when you’re out and about, doing a spot of gardening or washing the car perhaps, you don’t necessarily want a heavy, strong beverage. So, refreshment it is and I’d like to pick seven beers that might just fit the bill:
1 First up is a delicious light ale (4% abv) from Five Points Brewery in London. Don’t be put off by the cans; these beers are still unfiltered and unpasteurised (aka Real Ale) and they still contain live yeast that will provide the natural CO². The XPA (Extra Pale Ale) is very light in colour, with juicy hoppiness and is very refreshing.
2 Humpty Dumpty Swallow Tail Pale Ale (4% abv) is another light ale, brewed in Reedham, Norfolk. Lovely malty flavours with a light hoppiness and has a malty sweet finish. Delicious.
3 Brewshed Pub Tropicana (4.1% abv) from Bury St Edmunds is brewed with wheat malt and American hops, which gives it a tropical fruitiness and soft, light finish without the excess bitterness. Available in cans which chill the beer quicker than glass bottles and perfect for picnics. Local perfection.
4 Tempest Brewing Company The Pale Armadillo (3.8% abv) from Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders has all the flavour of a good Pale Ale and a light orange flavour from the Amarillo hops used in this brew. Balanced and very refreshing.
5 One of the best North American ‘session ales’ I’ve tasted is the Red Racer India Session Ale (4% abv) brewed by Central City from Surrey, Britsh Columbia, Canada. Beautifully balanced between malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness, this beer is so easy drinking you almost forget you’re drinking an alcoholic beverage!
6 Staying with our cousins across the pond, Evil Twin from Brooklyn, New York are more famous (or notorious, whichever you prefer) for their very high abv beers. However, their Bikini Beer in cans weigh in at just 2.7% abv. Usually beers brewed at this strength have a distinct lack of flavour or depth, but this one’s different. Lots of hoppy, fruity flavours and a light malt base makes this the perfect ‘lawn mowing beer’.
7 Or perhaps a nice refreshing Kriek beer from Belgium. Not all their beers are ‘super strength’ and Jacobins’ cherry beer called Kriek Max (3.5% abv) is a delicious fruity beer brewed through spontaneous fermentation, are also known as Sour Beers. However, with the addition of 25% cherries and some sweetener, it creates a lovely balance of sweet and sour flavours. Very quaffable.
So whatever you are planning this weekend; a barbecue, some gardening, having friends or family around; enjoy a lighter but equally flavoursome beer. Perhaps Mel & Kim didn’t refer to beer when they sang about getting fresh at the weekend, but I’ll give it go anyhow. . . Enjoy.
René van den Oort is owner of Beautiful Beers, 1b St John’s Street, Bury St Edmunds (01284 767205) beautifulbeers.co.uk