Summer is in full swing now and nothing cuts the heat quite like a refreshing beer with a lime wedge included on it or, as in the case with these beers, lime in it.
Up first, a suburban St. Louis brewery and their light, summer kölsch.
4204 Main Street opened up in May of 2014 in Bellville, Illinois, an eastern suburb of St. Louis just across the Mississippi River on the Illinois border. Since their start they have grown quickly, having two locations around Bellville and distribute to southern Illinois, the St. Louis area, and now Chicagoland too.
Today I have one of their summer seasonal beers, Salted Lime Kölsch, which costs a very reasonable $9 per six-pack and has an ABV of 5.5%.
This kölsch takes inspiration from the traditional German style but with a Mexican influence. They added sea salt and limes to make it even more refreshing in these hot summer months.
It poured a clear, golden copper color with a decent amount of foam building up. Over a finger of bright white head topped the brew and slowly fizzled down into a thin ring around the edge.
On the nose, this kölsch was light and biscuity with some mild lime tartness and a low salinity. I was honestly expecting a much more tart, salty aroma but, instead, was greeted with a lighter brew that had hints of the additives behind it.
However, the taste was quite different.
It began with a very light carbonation before I was immediately hit with the sea salt. At first, it was all salt…like I had licked the rim of a margarita glass.
The limes didn’t seem to shine as much as I would have liked. Some sips popped with some very brief citrus tartness but, unfortunately, most of the time the lime was outdone by the salt and wheat.
Midway through the grains added a flaked wheat flavor that took away from the saltiness and added some moderate sweetness to the flavor. The rest of the way, the brew had a mixed taste of grains and salt that battled it out until all the flavors had faded away.
The beer ended rather cleanly, with no dryness or lingering flavors (thankfully the salinity didn’t stick around too long).
Salted Lime Kolsch was dominated by the sea salt while the limes just never really seemed to make a significant appearance. Had there been more of that citrusy sour flavor to balance the salt, this would have been a great brew…as it stands though, it’s just a salty kölsch with some hints of lime every now and then.
Up next, one of the country’s largest breweries has released a couple new summer beers...one of which I had to try.
Deschutes is the 10th largest craft brewery in the US. Opening their doors in Bend, Oregon way back in 1988, the brewery is employee-owned and a staple in the craft beer community. They have a second location in Portland, Oregon and their beers are distributed to 29 states, DC, and a couple Canadian provinces.
I couldn’t believe that I had only reviewed two of Deschutes’ beers, and none since January of 2015…so today, after a 55 months hiatus, I present to you Deschutes’ Botanic Ale.
This beer, part of their new Just Tapped series, throws juniper, lime, oak, rye, sumac, citrus, and Cascade hops in to the mix. Each bottle has a very solid 7% ABV and just 15 IBU and a six-pack costs the usual $10.
Botanic Ale poured a slight copper color with very minimal head. No more than half of a finger of white bubbles ever appeared and, almost instantly, disappeared down into a razor thin ring around the edge of the glass.
The aroma was a nice, inviting blend of ingredients. It featured the juniper and a lime tartness up front with some rye sweetness and clove hiding behind. There was no real hop presence to it and it smelled like a modified saison.
My first taste began with a small rush of carbonation that quickly got out of the way and allowed the botanical aspects to pop.
Up front, it’s the lime and sumac that hit first, which brings a dash of tart citrus to the foreground. From there, a slew of earthy and floral notes exploded across my taste buds. The juniper provided an easy-going, gin-like flavor early on which becomes more prevalent as sip continues before finally taking control in the final moments of the taste.
The oak and rye add some sweetness midway through which compliments the floral notes nicely while the Cascade hops add a touch of spice/pepper and give this beer a really unique flavor.
It tastes like it smell…like that of a jacked up saison. It was super floral but had a nice mixture of flavors to it; like the tart citrus, gin-like juniper, and a light spiced hop profile.
This brew finished really cleanly with just a small dry/sticky feeling and lingering floral/clove aftertaste that was easily dismissed with a sip of water. The booze was hidden entirely which, at 7%, isn’t the easiest thing to do.
Overall, Deschutes’ Botanic Ale was super easy to drink, really tasty, and contained aspects from multiple styles that blended really nicely. If you’re a fan of beers that showcase the floral flavors or like saisons…do yourself a favor and pick up a six-pack of this beer. It’s well worth it.