is a term I often use to describe a beer, though it should not
misinterpreted as a synonym for “good.” Baxter Summer Swelter Ale is a
good example of what I mean: brewed with lemon and lime flavors it has
one of the most unique palettes I’ve encountered in a summer seasonal.
That being said, it’s still only an average beer at best.
I poured a 12oz can into a mason jar. It was canned on 3/24/15 and cost $2.80 ($0.23 per ounce).
Appearance: Dark golden color but extremely hazy in complexion. Visible
particulates floating in suspension along with carbonation bubbles are
visible. Pours to a two-finger, white, soapy head which mostly
dissipates and leaves no lacing.
Smell: Fairly strong lemon scent along with caramel candy or yellow
lollipop. Akin to an herb garden; very earthy though not especially
Taste: There are certain beers that start off tasting good or even
great, but the more I drink the less I like. That law of diminishing
returns was happening here. The first swigs were interesting: a lightly
sweet, almost candy-like taste up front with a very spicy/herbal flavor
on the finish. This beer is made with lemon and lime peels, Kaffir lime
leaves and lemongrass and all these additives are certainly noticeable.
Some swigs remind me of zucchini bread, others are akin to lemon poppy
seed muffin. Eventually, I begin to taste some capsaicin-like heat and
spice. The contrast between the sweet malt and citrusy spices is
interesting, confusing, impressive and a little annoying. I can’t really
tell if I like this or not. That’s neither a slam nor an endorsement,
but more of a shrug.
Drinkability: Since this is marketing itself as a summer beer it’d
better drink like a summer beer. I will say that Baxter Summer Swelter
Ale is indeed light-bodied and crisp, though refreshing it is not. The
flavors linger on the tongue momentarily, but do eventually fade (though
there’s a slight aftertaste of starch). At 4.7% ABV it’s got a lot of
flavor for a relatively light weight, though I think most of that is
simply from spices. This might be fun to drink with a spicy meal in the
summer, but it wouldn’t work as a quaffable refresher.