Sometimes beer is simply for drinking.
Not judging, assessing, discussing, rating. Just drinking, on a hot summer afternoon when the jobs are done.
This is the time for those beers.
This summer – and what a summer! – three new limited-release beers have surprised me with their smart take on easy summer drinking.
The first is Sunshine’s Te Mex (5%), a riff on the massively popular international Mexican lagers. Sunshine takes the formula, using local corn in the grist. Te Mex looks the part, pouring pale, pale gold with good carbonation. But it brings New Zealand hops to the fiesta, with Riwaka hops on the nose and palate. Forget bland Corona – Te Mex is an easy-quaffing Mexican lager with flavour.
Tuatara’s Six60 Super Pale (4.6%) is almost subversive. Gold and carbonated, there’s nothing challenging in its appearance or nose. But surprise – the flavour has zesty lemon/citrus notes from late, late hopping, balanced with light malt in the finish. Sessionable and refreshing.
This a collab with a musical ensemble called Six60. While I’m personally unfamiliar with their oeuvre, I’m informed they provide sound advice for home gardeners. You can hear the Tuatara/Six60 summer playlist on the Spotify.
Surprise number three is Epic Solar Flare xtreme pale ale (4.8%). It’s not the big, bold shout we expect from Epic – this one is a great summer session beer with tropical fruit aromas, and flavours of pineapple and mandarin. It’s made with Low Colour Marris Otter malts and Amarillo, Simcoe and Mosaic hops. The moderate alcohol content means you can go back for another and another.
Look out for Solar Flare in the next week or two, and Epic’s Hopshine pale ale (5.5%) also makes a welcome return this summer.
Other summer option: Yeastie Boys Bigmouth Session IPA (4.4%), brewed with malted barley, wheat and oats, is now produced and canned in Auckland at Urbanaut and shouldn’t be hard to find around New Zealand this summer.