To us, beer has a wonderfully refreshing quality. It’s fizzy, flavorful, and just that perfect balance between light and full-bodied that almost requires a satisfied “ahhhhhh” after every sip. Of course, not every beer is perfect for a warm summer day. Some are better suited for winter evenings by the fire, others for pairing with dinner. But in this blog, we’re thinking of the lighter, fizzy beers—the Pilsners, the saisons, the witbiers—that perfectly complement a warm day. What exactly are the individual parts that make up a satisfying, flavorful, and refreshing beer?
Bubbles. Without them, beer is a flat, some would say “lifeless” beverage. Carbonation affects the mouthfeel of a beer in that it adds tingly bubbles. It also affects the aroma: all of those rising bubbles actually bring aromas to the surface of the beer, so that when you go in for a sip the aroma (and flavor) wafts right up into your face, enhancing the experience. Even enthusiasts of cask ales (a type of beer normally served with less carbonation) would weep without that little bit of spritz in their beer. We’ve written an entire blog on how carbonation makes its way into beer, if you’d like to get into the details.
To be refreshing, beer needs to be cold—but not too cold. Our recommendation is to enjoy most beers between 40-50°F. Why? When you start getting a beer closer and closer to freezing, it actually muffles the beer’s flavor. So while you might think an ice-cold glass is perfect for a hot summer day, you could be doing the beer in that glass a disservice. No need to chill down your glass before serving. And to keep it at that optimal temp longer you can easily use a koozie (or just keep your glass in the shade).
BALANCE OF FLAVOR
If you spend any time reading about Belgian-style brewing, you’re bound to come upon the term “balance.” In short, it’s referring to a harmonious mix of aromas and flavors—where no single aspect dominates any other. At our brewery, we think of this as being able to perceive a flavor note without it overwhelming the overall balance of the beer. It’s this harmonious mix of flavor that keeps us coming back for more—our palate doesn’t become fatigued by too much of one, heavy flavor.
Perhaps two of the least-exciting words in the English language are “quality control.” But honestly, you can’t have a refreshing beer without a rigorous quality control process in place. When a beer tastes “clean” that’s quality control. No hints or tinges of odd flavors, no out-of-place aromas or cloying sweetness or lingering bitterness in the finish. The beer is spot on, exactly what the brewer was looking for from the first sniff to the last drop. At Allagash, we take quality so seriously, we don’t relegate it to a single department, our entire brewery is dedicated to the quality of our beer. If you’re interested in the lengths we go to to make sure every beer we produce tastes exactly how we want it to, you can check out our Quality Control page at: www.allagash.com/qc
With those bases covered, you’ve got yourself a deliciously refreshing beer. If you’re looking for a couple styles of beer, as well as examples of each style, that we consider to be particularly great exemplars of how refreshing beer can be, check out the list below.
REFRESHING STYLES OF BEER + EXAMPLES
The quintessential “crisp” beer style, Pilsners are light, golden, clear, balanced and eminently drinkable.
Allagash Truepenny Pilsner
Tröegs Sunshine Pils
Threes Brewing Vliet
Russian River STS Pils
Blonde refers mainly to the color of the beer: a bit lighter than gold. Where a pilsner is fermented with lager yeast, Blonde ales are fermented with, as you might expect, ale yeast
Not the most well-known style, but one that has a significant history in Belgium. This low-ABV, light, and balanced style of beer was brewed to have enough flavor to enjoy with a meal while still allowing you to have more than a couple without feeling like you’ve overindulged.
Allagash River Trip
Jester King Le Petit Prince
Saison yeast is both highly aromatic and voracious—meaning it eats up basically every morsel of sugar available. The result is a style with robust fruity and spicy aromas that finishes super dry.
Allagash Floating Holiday
Boulevard Tank 7