Smuttynose Brewing Co
Photo by Sharon White
Beaches, barbecue, and beer. We can’t think of three better ingredients for a perfect summer day on the North Shore. Luckily, local breweries are heeding the call for refreshment with their signature summer brews.
Summer beers are typically crisp and light, and pair well with lighter fare or grilled food like fish and chicken. Especially popular during the summer are beers that are brewed with wheat malt and lots of yeast, ingredients that lend notes of fruit and spice to the finished brew. You can play up the fruity flavors by topping your glass with a squeeze of lemon or slice of orange. Some brewers add fruit to the beer itself, creating flavors like blueberry and watermelon. Often, summer beers are unfiltered, leaving the yeast swirling around in the glass and giving the beer a slightly cloudy look.
This summer, North Shore brewers have mixed up a little something for everyone, from spicy Belgian beers to refreshing glasses topped with fruit and somehow, they all seem to taste better outside. They’re available through August, so brush the sand off your feet and take a sip of some local suds before it’s too late.
Mercury Brewing Ipswich Summer Ale
Wash down some grilled burgers with an ode to sunny days and warm nights. This blonde ale is less bitter than its pale cousin, but still has a nice bite and aroma, thanks to Columbus, Amarillo, and Cascade hops. "We love taking it out to the beach," says Operations Manager James Dorau. 23 Hayward St., Ipswich, 978-356- 3329, mercurybrewing.com.
Salem Beer Works Watermelon Ale
Chill out on the deck at Salem Beer Works with this pint and make sure you ask for the watermelon wedge. The brewery adds fresh watermelon concentrate to a light golden ale after it’s filtered and carbonated. The result is a light, crisp, refreshing beer, says Head Brewer Nathan Heck. 278 Derby St., Salem, 978-745- 2337, beerworks.net.
Cape Ann Brewing Fisherman’s Bavarian Wheat
This summer specialty is an unfiltered Hefeweizen with hints of banana and clove. "It’s the perfect kind of beer for sitting out in the sun and enjoying the weather," says Owner and Head Brewer Jeremy Goldberg. 27 Commercial St., Gloucester, 978- 281-4782, capeannbrewing.com.
Portsmouth Brewing Weizenheimer
Head north for this wheat beer that General Manager Brennen Rumble says is "perfect after a day in the sun." Head Brewer Tod Mott uses a 55 percent wheat malt to create a brew that’s light, crisp, and slightly tart. Also look for the other summer beers, Thaizenheimer and Hefeweizen. 56 Market St., Portsmouth, NH, 603-431- 1115, portsmouthbrewery.com.
Smuttynose Brewing Summer Weizen
This hybridstyle wheat beer contains a Belgian yeast that gives it notes of fruit and spice. Executive Brewer David Yarrington says they’re also adding chamomile flowers this year, giving this refreshing brew a floral character. 225 Heritage Ave. #2, Portsmouth, NH, 603-436-4026, smuttynose.com.
The Tap Whittier White
Although it’s available year-round, demand for the Haverhill brewery’s Belgian Wit-style beer spikes in the summer. It’s spiced with coriander, orange peel, and white pepper corns. Try it with a squeeze of orange or lemon, says Head Brewer Jon Curtis. 100 Washington St., Haverhill, 978-374-1117, tapbrewpub.com.