Saranac Summer Brew, (not to be confused with the Saranac Summer Ale) is one of these Shandy type beers where lemonade, or lemon soda is added to a lager to create a lemony beer hybrid. Typically enjoyed during the warm summer months, these beers sport low alcohol levels (3.5% ABV in this case) and blur the lines of if its really a beer, or if its really alcoholic lemonade!
You may recall that The Brew Club recently reviewed the Stiegl Radler out of Austria which was made with lemon soda as opposed to lemonade. The idea is the same I guess, with slightly different results.
The Saranac Summer Brew created a decent sized white head when poured, but it didn’t last long and I was left with a pretty flat looking beer in my glass. No lacing to speak of.
The aroma was mostly lemon, but you can tell that this is not just lemonade. There is a beer component, but just barely. The smell of Summer Brew was a bit more on the sweet side and it reminded me a bit of both apple cider and lemon pledge.
Which isn’t bad, but you might not want to drink it, right???
Well, the taste was OK. Again, mostly lemon flavors, but you can tell there is beer buried in here someplace. The lemon flavors are at the same time tart and sweet, but I keep going back to the lemon. Its definitely lemon-biased even though it very well may be 50% lemon, and 50% lager. A bit too sweet overall for my taste.
As I mentioned, Summer Brew ended up looking pretty flat in my glass, and it ended up feeling pretty flat in my mouth as well. A little more carbonation might make this beer a bit more interesting, although it turned out to be a VERY easy drinker. I wasn’t crazy about it, but I finished the ‘beer’ in only a few minutes!
I’d also like to add I think this ‘Shandy’ is best nice and cold. I would drink this right out of the fridge – none of that warming up for this brew!
OK. Overall, I thought that the Saranac Summer Brew, with its lager and lemonade DNA was alright. Its light on the alcohol (undetectable really) so perhaps it would make a refreshing treat on a hot summer day.
On the other hand, I thought it was a little too lemony, slightly artificial lemony flavor, and at the same time, too sweet. I’m glad I tried it, but I think the Stiegl Radler from Austria with the lemon soda was a little better.
Still, its not a style of beer that I’ll be seeking out during the summer or any other time of year! It isn’t necessarily a bad beer, I could see people liking it – its just not my taste. Give it a try and see what you think.
What about you? Have a favorite lemon/beer brew that you’d like to suggest or talk about?