Thursday, May 21, 2009

Saranac Summer Brew

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - APR 15, 2010
I’ll bet if we were to take a poll of the average beer drinker, whether amateur or connoisseur, of what they think of when they hear “summer beer” the basic description would likely be a light, refreshing beer with a citrusy taste. In other words – lemonade for adults. Well, Saranac has brewed that exact beer with their new Summer Brew: a mixture of lemonade and lager (although I’m not sure on the ratio – I’m guessing 50/50).

Not that this is some new genius invention. As legend goes, lemonade lager mixes like this were invented in Germany after radlers [bicyclists] kept drinking the bars dry. In order to make the beer last longer the bartenders would “water-down” the beer with lemonade, but this just made demand for the beer grow even stronger.


Since this beer as thin as tap water it pour very easily to a bright white gold body. It is crystal-clear with plenty of carbonation evident at first, but it dies down quickly. The head is gleaming white, fizzy, evaporates fast and leaves no lacing on the glass. The aroma definitely indicates lemonade as it smells a lot like any mainstream lemonade made from a powdered mix. There is a slight grainy smell you would find in a pilsner, but it’s very subdued.


I had no idea what to expect out of Saranac Summer Brew. I love India pale ales, which are very tart and bitter beers, not unlike organic lemonade, but what would a beer made with actual lemonade (or some form of it) taste like? A lighter IPA?

The answer was quite surprising, since the first flavors I detected were from the beer’s lemonade component. But unlike real lemonade, this beer is sweet, mild and rather watery. There is no tart bite or lingering bitterness because the palate is entirely too mild.
I would describe the flavor as very reminiscent of ginger ale, but also with the fruity taste of a white wine spritzer.

However, the flavor is indeed sweet, and with a crisp, clean taste of a mainstream lager this is definitely a beer at the core.


Drinkability is the name of the game and that’s what Summer Brew is all about. Although there is genuine taste to be savored, the fact remains this beer is very watery. As such, it’s extremely smooth in the mouth and on the way down. It does have just the slightest oily aftertaste, but the average drinker will likely not notice it since this beer lends itself to drinking mass quantities in a short duration.


I’ve heard of imperial beers – those whose obese weight are their trademark, but what would be the opposite, a pawn beer? If so, Saranac Summer Brew certainly fits that mold since it’s only 3.5% ABV. Aside from “non-alcoholic” beers, you really can’t find a beer with less potency than this. Of course, its light weight should give you some indication as to how light and direct the flavor will be as well.


Although I realize this beer is a complete gimmick, I have to admit I still liked it since it was tasty, refreshing and overall enjoyable. I would have preferred a much stronger taste, but that Saranac Summer Brew can be this light and gimmicky and still drink like a beer is impressive.

Grade: 6/10

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