Each month we’re picking six beers that stand out in the vast land of beer. Enjoy our August Pick Six!
Festina Pêche – Dogfish Head Brewery
- Brewery Location: Milton, DE
- Style: Berliner Weiss
- ABV: 4.5%
- IBU: 8
- Availability: June – August
Forget water or Gatorade. To quench your summer thirst reach for this perfect mix of sour and sweet. I’m only kidding of course. In these sweltering summer months hydration is key, but Festina Pêche satisfies the senses and makes your tongue and your tummy happy. Bring your nose to the brew and you get a whiff of sweet peach. That waft of fruit is a teaser of what’s to come. Being a Berliner Weisse you can expect a bit of a pucker from it’s sour character (or tart, depending on your choice of words), but your face will light up like that ecstatic sun on the label when the peach decides to join the party.
Neither flavor is too aggressive alone. And alone they are great, but together they make an impeccable summer beer. Beer in this style are sometimes served with sweet fruit syrups, but there is no need for that pairing for this neo-Berliner Weisse since the peach sugars get eaten up by the yeast. Pick up these four packs while you can! You’ll be glad you did.
Market Fresh Saison #6 Peach and Grains of Paradise – Cloudburst Brewing
- Brewery Location: Seattle, WA
- Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale
- ABV: 5.9%
- IBU: 15
- Availability: Limited
Yes, that’s right. Two peach beers! Fruits in season are great ingredients and Cloudburst has access to some of the best fresh fruit in the country. Located just a short walk away from Pike’s Place Market they have taken full advantage of their smorgasbord of potential ingredients. This Saison is recipe number six in a series of Market Fresh Saisons. A couple other successful experiments in the series have featured strawberry and mint (#5) as well as blackberry and juniper (#7).
Number 6 is hazy in appearance, complex in flavor, expect a smooth farmhouse unfiltered flavor at first sip. When it passes your lips its as though you’ve bitten into a juicy peach. Sweet and light sugars are matched by a peppery citrus finish complements of the Grains of Paradise. Complex but understandable. The flavors ebb in and out in waves and lends a lovely full mouth flavor.
This beer may be retired, but the Seattle brewery continues to innovate and stretch their creative minds to keep bringing eyebrow raising (in a good way!) beers month after month. Cloudburst may have only opened just this year, but already they have already generated quite the buzz. Check out their story!
The Ringer – Fulton Brewery
- Brewery Location: Minneapolis, MN
- Style: American Pale Ale
- ABV: 5.0%
- IBU: 35
- Availability: Year round
Nothing fancy, no fan fare, no gimmicks. No outrageous ingredients are needed to make this American Pale stand out. If you want to reach for a simple yet solid Pale, reach for The Ringer. It’s simplicity hoists it to greatness. Perle and Cascade hops lend a citrus aroma that entices the palate and makes the mouth water in anticipation. The malts are sweet and the hops are bitter. Exactly what is expected, but it is done so well that it’s easy to crack open another one after the first. Especially with that clean finish.
Extra Special Bitter – Red Hook Brewery
- Brewery Location: Woodinville, WA or Portsmouth, NH
- Style: Amber
- ABV: 5.8%
- IBU: 28
- Availability: Year round
Red hook has been crushing it since its beginnings in an old transmission shop located in Seattle. They have since broadened their horizons and distribution area by opening a second brewery on the east coast. They have also moved from their humble beginnings of the transmission shop to Woodinville, WA in a building a little more apt to handle their brewing endeavors.
This extra special brew is brewed in the old English style of Extra Special Bitter, but falls into the amber category despite what is gathered from the name. Give it a sniff and you’ll detect the sweet caramel malts used in the brew. It possesses a full malt character in the flavor and is counterbalanced with a slight herbal spice from the hops. At the tail end there’s a lingering yet much welcome bitterness to round out the swallow. It’s no surprise with a beer like this (brewed since ’87) that Red Hook has been striving for so long in the ever growing beer scene.
Mocha IPA – Stone Brewing
- Brewery Location: Escondido, CA
- Style:Double IPA
- ABV: 9.0%
- IBU: 80
- Availability: Limited
Ever have one of those beers that makes you lower the beer from your lips and whisper “Damn…” to yourself? This is one such beer. I’ve been a big fan of Stone and their values ever since I discovered them and their beers truly reflect those values. Mocha IPA is bold and not afraid to embrace that boldness. Rich flavors usually associated with stouts are forged together with West Coast IPA style. Then the flavor gets turned up to 11 since this IPA is no mere single, but a double IPA.
It’s a sneaky 9% and I didn’t realize until I pulled the next gem form the six pack. That’s how smooth it is. Velvety chocolate and rich roasted coffee. Delectable, daring, and delicious. The full body from the chocolate and coffee are the perfect platform for the heaping helping of hops. This beer is unforgettable and I’m saddened by it’s short lifetime.
Blue Balloon – Falling Sky Brewing
- Brewery Location: Eugene, OR
- Style: Belgian Pale
- ABV: 6.6%
- IBU: 11
- Availability: Rotating
Last month didn’t have a Pick Six, but the absence was for good reason! The mountains of the west were calling my name and in between the hikes, climbs, and rapids I managed to sample the fantastic local fare. I was only in Eugene for a short stint, but was lucky enough to stop at Falling Sky for a flight.
It was tough to choose which beer to single out from this stellar flight, but one floated above the rest (pun intended). The flavors in this Belgian style Pale float from glass to gullet. It intrigues with its subtle aroma and smooth, distinct Belgian yeast. Alluring orange citrus adds sweetness and slight tartness to the beer and it is finished off with just a hint of hops. Blue Balloon is a great tribute to the style and Belgian style brewing. Float on.
That’s it for this month! Get out there and drink some beers. Drink styles you’ve never tried before, styles you’ve never heard of before. There’s too many choices to count, but that’s what is so great about the beer world. Venture out on a beer journey to appreciate all the hard work and toil that brewers put into their masterpieces in a glass. Salud!
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