Beer Journal

A quasi-daily examination of beer and things related to beer.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Review: Saranac 12 Beers of Summer

Brewer: Matt Brewing Company
Location: Utica, NY, USA

Many medium-sized breweries (Boston Beer Company, Sierra Nevada) offer packaged variety packs of their seasonal beers. Saranac's summer pack showcases six brews that are light in both color and mouthfeel. Three are German in influence, one British, one Belgian and one American. Furthermore, each one has a relatively low alcohol content, making them ideal for hot summer afternoons. Of course, I had to buy this pack in Massachusetts and personally drive it to Texas, but whatchagonnado. Here's the rundown of the pack's roster, with brief reviews for each.

Name: Kolsch
Type: kolsch
Alcohol: 5.0
German offerings such as this one are usually more commonly associated with autumn, but Saranac's version of the kolsch-style beer is crispy and fast-moving. Sure, there is a little bit of a sour finish, but most of the drink is fresh and light and quite enjoyable.
Rating: 7.1

Name: Belgian White
Type: uh... Belgian white
Alcohol: 5.3
The first thing that strikes the drinker of Saranac's Belgian beer is the pleasant bouquet of... marshmallow. Seriously! Floating particles of something or other give the beer a cloudy look, but these do nothing to detract from the taste which is airy and sweet.
Rating: 7.9

Name: Hefeweizen
Type: ok, so the beers aren't too creatively named...
Alcohol: 5.6
Oddly, the German wheat beer is one of the more darker brews in the pack. The Hefe certainly looks the part of a real hefeweizen, and for the most part tastes like one, too. The ending, however, lacks the banana-taste of many successful drinks of this kind, instead its close is conspicuously absent. There are certainly better hefes around.
Rating: 6.5

Name: Summer Ale
Type: herb and spice ale
Alcohol: 4.7
More heffe than the Hefe, (sorry), with solid a taste of wheat that bucks the traditional ale design. Words like "fresh" and "crispy" keep popping up in my mind, and the drink embodies both of those qualities perfectly.
Rating: 7.4

Name: Golden Pilsener
Type: American-style pilsener
Alcohol: 5.1
Normally, the phrase "American-style pilsener" would send me running for the hills; long gone are the days of keg stands and "drinking to get drunk". But to my delight and surprise, the Saranac Pilsener is pretty darn good. Compared to the Buds and Millers of the world, its damn-near fantastic. This is due to two things: 1. it doesn't taste like water and 2. it doesn't leave a sour aftertaste.
Rating: 6.8

Name: Pomegranate Wheat
Type: fruit ale
Alcohol: 4.7
I was equal-parts intrigued and confused by this beer. Buying a six-pack of fruit beer is practically suicide, they're normally waaaaay too sweet to drink in abundance (think Sam Adams' Cherry Wheat). This beer is not like that. In fact, the only remnants of fruit is in the bouquet of pomegranate (or starfruit, or guava, it's not like I know the difference). After the initial smell, however, the beer disappears into a wash of generic wheat beer. Saranac could have taken a bigger risk with this beer.
Rating: 6.0

Each beer in the Saranac 12 Beers of Summer Mix Pack operate as a affordable versions of similar beer types. (Except for the Pilsener, which beats the pants off of other American beers of that style.) While none of the beers are individually spectacular, the set works well for its variety and its seasonal appropriateness.


Post a Comment

<< Home