In the winter, a cold beer is a nice thing to drink with a sandwich. In the Texas summer, a cold beer is a necessity. It is a cure for the malaise brought on by too many days without a fucking break from this heat -- the short term solution to global warming. And here are my five top beers of the summer:
5. Southern Star Bombshell Blonde
Their first effort, Pine Belt Pale Ale, was a super-hoppy brew that went over fairly well. They also sell a smoked beer and a stout. The Bombshell Blonde has a more approachable flavor and low carbonization, like a draft beer in a can.
4. Shiner Smokehaus
I love beer and I love barbecue, but mesquite-smoked beer? I didn't have a lot of hope for this stuff until I tasted it. And I have to say it's grown on me.
The mesquite smoke is way in the background, but it actually lends a caramelized character to an otherwise ordinary, but refreshing Helles lager beer.
Try it with ham, bacon, or anything smoky to get a real barbecue beer kick.
3. Saint Arnold Summer Pils
This is a seasonal beer that Saint Arnold brews only in the middle of the summer. The brewery calls this a true Bohemian-style pilsner. It's brewed with hops imported from the Czech Republic.
In fact, Saint Arnold Summer Pils tastes just like Pilsner Urquell, only fresher. On draft, it's a jump ball.
But if you buy your beer in bottles, Saint Arnold Summer Pils is a better bet.
2. Pilsner Urquell
Strongly hopped and fruity, Pilsner Urquell is legendary for its quenching flavor. Pilsen is a city in Bohemia (Czech Republic) where the world's first pilsner was brewed. While pilsner has become a generic term for this style of bottom-fermented beer, the city of Pilsen still claims Pilsner Urquell as the real McCoy.
Drink it on draft if you can, bottled Pilsner Urquell gets skunky if its been sitting on the shelf too long.
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1. Hoegaarden Original White Ale
This cloudy Belgian wheat beer has a citrusy tang that is wonderfully refreshing. The cloudy color reminds of impending thunderstorms. The secret recipe includes such unusual flavorings as coriander and orange peel.
Hoegaarden White was revived in the 1960s by Pierre Celis, who later sold the brewery and moved to Texas where he opened the Celis Brewery in Austin. There he created Celis White, the American version of Hoegaarden White.