Spring is right around the corner, and that can only mean one thing – summer beer season is in the air. With that, one thing comes to mind to many of a beer connoisseur – “what should I drink?” With there being a huge list of summer beers, this is often a difficult decision. Sure you could cop out and go for Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy or Sam Adams’s Summer Ale. I will pass on the old stand-bys and go with a summer brew that is well worth the time and effort. I will choose Summer Love Ale by Victory Brewing Company. This blonde ale is the result of a collaboration between Victory and Visit Philadelphia to capture the essence of Philadelphia’s rich history and flavor. It was voted the best summer beer by Paste Magazine during a blind taste test in 2013.
As you pour Summer Love Ale out of the bottle, you will notice its beautiful golden coloring. When you look at it in your glass, you will think you are drinking liquid gold. Your glass will glow with the intensity of the summer sun and a white frothy head sitting like a lone cloud in the summer sky. After each sip, the lacing leaves speckles on your glass. You can smell the cracker malt base, which reminds you of a freshly opened bag of Crackerjack at a baseball game. There’s a small citrus aroma mixed with a bigger floral aroma, and the smell resembles the smell of a German Pilsner.[NickF] Summer Love Ale has a mild hoppiness upfront with sweet citrus (primarily grapefruit with hints of orange and lemon) undertones that give way to a cracker malt taste. It finishes up with a bit of spice. This all works towards leaving a very pleasant and refreshing lemony aftertaste. They nailed the taste of going to a baseball game as a child into a great adult alternative.
Victory Brewing Company’s Summer Love Ale weighs in with a 5.2% ABV (Alcohol By Volume). On the IBU Scale (International Bittering Units), it hits a 25. I would have thought the IBU would have been a little higher because there is a bitterness there. Summer Love is definitely something you can drink all day. It is a perfect summer beer. The taste will leave your mouth feeling refreshed and it is the perfect mix of sweet and hoppy. It is mildly bitter and would be a good stepping stone into the world of IPAs. This should replace one’s love affair with Leinenkugel or Sam Adams.