Thursday, July 23, 2015

Baxter Summer Swelter Ale

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (1412) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 23, 2015
“Interesting” 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 strong-smelling.

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.

Score: 5/10

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