One thing any visitor or new resident to the South Sound should know: People still love to bitch about the summers here. So not only are you coping with the heat (underwear sticking to you, wrestling with those windshield sun shades, the electric bill in general), you’re coping with people complaining endlessly about the heat. If you’re a native, you know this summer is extraordinarily hot. Cars smell like suntan lotion even with no one inside. Priests are asked to put in a good word for air conditioners. Trips to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium are a carnival of sticky children and dead-eyed parents mouthing “help me” at the sea lions. But what’s the one thing that helps most everyone deal with just about anything? Craft beer. This summer, you eventually will realize that you have to lean into the heat. This summer, the South Sound is a tropical paradise, a sunny destination, a place to don big sun hats and shorts and tank tops. And what’s that in your hand? A cold, refreshing craft beer of some kind. Today’s Peaks and Pints beer flight offers relief from the summer heat in what we call Craft Beer Crosscut 8.4.17: A Flight of Summer Relief.
5% ABV, 4 IBU
10 Barrel R&D brewer Tonya Cornett brewed this cucumber Berliner weisse for the 2013 Portland Fruit Beer Fest. It went on to win a gold medal at the 2014 and 2015 World Beer Cup. The flavor is clean and refreshing, leading with clean and uncomplicated citrus and cukes before a flash of lactic acidity is doused by cucumber water, while the gourd’s invigorating peel is all that remains on the tongue after the sip.
2.5% ABV, 10 IBU
Indigenous to the Senne Valley of Belgium, lambics stem from a farmhouse brewing tradition several hundred years old. These brews are spontaneously fermented — meaning pots containing the wort are left outside and uncovered, allowing whatever critters happen to be flying by on a passing breeze to ferment the beer. These wild yeast give lambics their distinct tartness. Most Belgian brewers also utilize aged hops, which add antibacterial properties to the beer, rather than bitterness or flavor. In the case of fruit lambics, whole fruits are traditionally added after halfway through fermentation to add sweetness and new dimensions of flavor as Lindemans did with their Peche (peach). Lindemans, a family Belgian brewery since 1822, brews a peche that smells like peach cobbler. We braced for that bubblegum-like flavor of many fruit-infused beers, but instead are greeted with a sugary, sweet peach flavor that races happily through our mouth on soft, bubbly carbonation. A quiet tart note in the finish keeps the beer from becoming too cloying. It’s a simple treat that’s easy to drink, especially if you love fruit beers.
5.2% ABV, 35 IBU
The return of hot weather tends to bring with it a desire for light, crisp, session beers — ones that quench your thirst without being too heavy or intoxicating: pilsners. The pilsner style has been seeing something of a revival among craft brewers in recent years. One of the best comes from Bend, Oregon. Modeled after the German style, Crux Fermentation Project’s Pilz is crisp and clean, with complex biscuit maltiness and spicy, earthy hops. A somewhat unique pilsner with its flowery bouquet, but it hits all the right style points.
For many years, Uinta Brewing Co. had been playing it safe in the national craft beer game, concentrating on making traditional styles as technically perfect as possible. Uinta Brewmaster Tanael Escartín and Head of Research and Development Isaac Winter said screw that. Meet Uinta Lime Pilsner, if you haven’t already. Winter drank endless amounts of Tecate, Dos Equis and Pacifico while figuring out what Lime Pilsner should taste like. Uinta’s Lime Pilsner is what a lot of these beers should be; it’s lean, dry and effervescent up front, followed by a long citrus finish. It was initially intended as a summer-only release, but interest from distributors was so fierce that it quickly became a year-round offering.
7% ABV, 70 IBU
A Swedish brewery and a Danish brewery collaborated on what could best be described as Country Time lemonade stirred with an extra scoop (like you used to add when mom wasn’t looking). Evil Twin Brewing Co. teamed up with good old Swedes, Henok and Karl of the fashionable Omnipollo to squeeze out a tasty, tempting and deceivingly well-balanced IPA with sweet and sour notes of old-fashioned memories. There’s unmistakably an IPA in here — spicy, piney, and full-bodied — with a touch of lactose and blended with refreshing lemon juice.