The world of craft beer stretches far and wide, encompassing styles and flavors that many people do not even know about. However, I have seen time and time again that the uninitiated think of all craft beer as a stereotypical dark, overly bitter, and powerfully strong elixir. While some of my favorite beers are dark, bitter and strong, there is also a large collection of brews that are more inviting to people just getting into craft brewed beers.
Whether you are trying to expand your horizons beyond macro-lagers, or are already a craft beer fan that is looking for beers that are easy on the palate, or if you have friends that are afraid to venture into the world of micro-brews, knowing some good lighter beers is always helpful. Beers that are light in body and color—but not necessarily flavor—can be great for hot days of yard work, sitting by the lake, or just grabbing a cold one. Here are a few of my favorite Minnesota made craft beers that are perfect for hot summer days, but are still full of craft beer flavor.
Provider, made by Saint Louis Park’s own Steel Toe Brewing. From the Steel Toe website:
“Provider is brewed to be light and refreshing with a slightly sweet malt flavor and floral hop aroma. Unfiltered to bring out the subtle flavors in this glorious brew. Let Provider take care of you for a while. Alcohol content by volume: 5.0%”
Provider pours a hazy straw color and has a refreshingly balanced flavor. I thoroughly enjoy this beer while grilling or jamming out to Dio in the garage.
“Bitter Brewer” by Surly Brewing is another great beer with flavors that meld hoppy and bready. It’s a Surly-ized version of an age-old English beer style. Bitter Brewer pours a pale orange color in the glass and the flavor reminds me of orange marmalade on a toasted English muffin. Crisp, flavorful, and only 4% ABV, this beer is great anytime. But alas, Surly only sees fit to sell this in the summer months. I highly suggest you grab a four pack of cans and head to the nearest bonfire.
“Farm Girl” Saison by Liftbridge is another favorite of mine. I once brought a six pack to a deck party and only managed to get one bottle before they were gone. A saison is a French/Belgian farmhouse style ale specifically brewed for the farm laborers toiling in the summer heat. I don’t know if you can consider a game of horseshoes “toiling,” but I it works for me. The unique brewer’s yeast used in a Saison style beer lends flavors that you won’t find in most beers. Spice, peaches, pepper, banana and clove can all be noticed in the flavor profile of this beer. Farm Girl is different than your average beer but I think it fits in just fine.
These are just a few beers that come to mind when I think of humid summer days in Minnesota. A few more that are worth trying;
- Summit Pilsener
- Flat Earth’s Belgian Style Pale Ale
- Lake Superior Kayak Kolsch
- Barley John’s Little Barley Bitter
- Town Hall Brew Pub’s Dortmunder Local
- Finnegan’s Blonde Ale
Let’s face it—Minnesota summers are brutal. Anything that helps distract us from the mosquitoes is welcomed by me. Broadening your horizons to craft beer is a great summer adventure and I urge you to give these beers a try.