Us brits seem to have an internal switch over mechanism for summer, certainly the weather starts to get better, temperatures go up, there are several subtle signs if you know where to look.
Car windows start to be cranked down more and more gradually until everyone has their arm out of the door in an attempt to get truckers arm from the sun, Summer time by Will Smith seem to be on the radio every time the sun comes out from behind a cloud, Crocs become sadly more common (the shoes not the animal), Girls start to dress down more (happy days) and so do some men (oh good lord put a shirt on man no one wants to see your tattoos of your bull terrier).
To beer drinkers a subtle crawl of the summer can be the increasing number of lighter coloured ales, regardless of variety things begin to start getting paler as the sun marches higher into the sky, and i have to wonder why? is there some internal prehistoric mechanism that says “no dark stuff for you now boyo! its straw coloured all the way!” is it some subconscious hive mind interaction between breweries that paler stuff is the trend in summer? Who knows but it does tend to happen.
I was inspired to write about this after witnessing a conversation on twitter between a few peers and the 23 Club bar in Liverpool:
I think it’s a pretty astute observation. my esteemed twitter pal @wirraledrinker had been enjoying a black IPA on one of th warmest days of the year. who cares what the colour is its if the taste is good, I’ve actually recently started developing a taste for milds, against the advice of me dad (to be fair milds may have been naff back in his day who knows). If you are to look back at my recent feed of drinks on untappd i like to think its a distinctly ecclectic affair.
its like a Benneton advert for beer! with darker beers rubbing shoulders with lighter and amber coloured ales.
within the last few months during the good weather i have enjoyed the following:
- Milk Stout – Liverpool Craft Beer Co
- Black Perle – Weird Beard
- Dark Arts – Peerless Brewing Co
- Table Porter – Anspach & Hobday
- Derby Stout – Mellwood Beer Co
- A Wee Bit – Williams Bros/Brooklyn Brewery
- Dusk – Cross Bay Brewery
- Baltic Night – Compass Brewery
Maybe its the maltyness in darker beers or the perceived stodgyness of them that puts people off drinking them in warmer weather, but many darker ales, especially milds have a sweet smooth taste that is as good as an ice cream in hot weather. It’s good to see so many local brewers here in Liverpool have been continuing to kick out darker brews over the summer alongside the usual stuff, and i encourage you to not just give in to the hops and pale colours the next time your out. Try to alternate what you’re having, i find swapping from hoppy ales to malty ones a good break for the taste buds, it also lets you appreciate the taste of the different styles better in my opinion.
one things for sure, lighter coloured ales don’t disappear in the winter, so why should darker ales be sidelined in the summer?