August means a change in the craft beer world. The anticipation of summer is behind us and brewers are fully shifting into fall mode. Soon, you’re going to start seeing pumpkin ales and German lagers dominating the scene. Yes, it’s already pumpkin beer season. We’re going to wait another month before shouting any out, though — we’re not ready to let go of summer just yet.
We are ready for some crisp German lagers, however. There’s a fair amount of it coming out right now that’ll help us celebrate this year’s canceled Oktoberfest in our own backyards. Plus, a pale German lager makes for a great late summer sipper.
Hopefully, the eight beers we’re calling out this month will pique your interest and inspire you to explore exciting expressions made near you or sold at your closest bottle shop. The picks below are regional craft beer releases from breweries that we vouch for (we weren’t able to taste them all this month because of the continued pandemic, so we’re offering tasting notes from the brewers where necessary).
PACIFIC NORTHWEST DROP: Fremont Sky Kraken
Style: Hazy Pale Ale
Brewery: Fremont Brewing, Seattle, WA
Okay, Sky Kraken isn’t a new release this month. It’s a year-round powerhouse beer from Seattle. But, since Seattle (finally) got it’s own NHL team named the Seattle Kraken, we figured it was time to give some love to Fremont Brewing and their delicious pale ale.
This hazy pale is all about the counterpoints. The nose races between tropical fruits and dank earthiness with a cut of citrus. That citrus carries on over the palate as those tropical fruits are spiked with black pepper and a real sense of grassy undertones.
SOUTHWEST DROP: San Diego Brewers United Double IPA
Style: Double IPA
Brewery: Collab between Stone Brewing, AleSmith Brewing Co., Modern Times Beer, Mother Earth Brewing Co., Pizza Port Brewing Co., Port Brewing Co., and Thorn Brewing Co.
This beer is a huge collab between some of the biggest names in San Diego’s craft beer scene. The beer is double dry-hopped, allowing the drinker to get a clear idea of the power of a classic craft double IPA from the West Coast. Profits from the brew go towards the San Diego Brewers Guild, a nonprofit that supports over 120 breweries in San Diego county trying to stay afloat during the pandemic.
Tasting Notes (from the brewers):
“It’s a West Coast IPA all the way, baby. It’s a super dank bevy with a bevy of bright tropical notes.“
ROCKY MOUNTAIN DROP: Uinta Fest
Style: German Lager
Brewery: Uinta Brewing, Salt Lake City, UT
Fest is here to celebrate Oktoberfest and we’re here for it. The beer keeps the hops in check and maintains a very easy-drinkability that plainly suits late summer thirst-quenching.
You get a real sense of dialed up lager on the nose with whiffs of crusty bread next to dry straw. The sip is super crisp as those bready malts carry on with a nice backend of hop bitterness that leans mildly floral.
SOUTHERN DROP: Family Business Beer Co. Golden Age
Style: German Pilsner
Brewery: Family Business Beer Co., Dripping Springs, TX
Golden Age is an award-winning beer made for hot summer days spent under the shade of a big ol’ tree. The beer is a classic pilsner with a clear “Noble” hop essence that’ll surely go down easy.
Tasting Notes (from the brewer):
“Crisp and lively on the tongue, featuring a mild, earthy hop bouquet, and superbly clean finish.“
MIDWEST DROP: Lakefront Oktoberfest
Style: German Lager
Brewery: Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee, WI
Oktoberfest from Milwaukee’s Lakefront is an easy buy. The beer marries Two-Row Pale, Vienna, Munich, Melanoidin, and 30ºL Caramel Munich malts with Mt. Hood hops, which is an American variation of the Bavarian Hallertau Mittelfrüher hop variety.
You’ll be greeted by all those malts with a lean into a caramel sweetness. The sip is refreshing as the hops make an appearance as a supporting character to the bready maltiness. There’s a hint of nuttiness on the back end that helps bolster the caramel and malt.
NORTHEAST DROP: Hill Farmstead Edward
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Greensboro Bend, VT
Edward is officially back. The brew is made with well water from the farm, American malted barley, and a matrix of hops alongside Hill Farmstead’s proprietary ale yeast strain. All of that makes for one unique and well-crafted can of beer.
The unfiltered aspect of the ale really allows the hops to shine with a clear piney dankness and earthy nature. There’s a subtle citrus counterpoint to the resin that works a nice balancing act. The finish is long, lush, and full of hop pale ale vibes straight from a dank pine forest.
WILD CARD DROP: Brooklyn Summer Ale
Style: Pale Ale
Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
Summer Ale is a necessary sixer right now if you want to hold onto summer. The beer is brewed to be light, quaffable, and tasty. There’s no challenging the palate, just good beer that goes down well when you have a hot dog in hand.
This beer is light in all the right ways. There’s a clear citrus feel that leads towards a mild floral hop nature. That’s all underpinned by an easy maltiness with a slightly sweet caramel edge.
INT’L PICK OF THE MONTH: Oude Riesling Tilquin à L’Ancienne
Style: Grape Lambic
Brewery: Gueuzerie Tilquin, Rebecq, Belgium
Gueuzerie Tilquin’s Oude Riesling Tilquin is a f*cking masterpiece. The lambic is made by fermenting Riesling grapes in the brew. The beer is then left unfiltered and unpasteurized and is bottled and then ferments again while it rests in the bottle.
The sip greets you with fresh lemons mingling with ripe grapes, sour berries, farmyard funk, bales of straw, and fruity vinegar. The palate ebbs and flows with those same touchstones as a certain minerality and a hint of pineapple arrives next to grapefruit pith. The end is dry and full of life as the sour, tart, funk, grape, and fruit explodes like fireworks on a late summer’s eve.