In late May, the last days of spring give way to the first days of summer, and in Atlanta, temperatures in the high 80s and even the 90s are common.
But it’s also the time of year in beer when spring and summer seasonal offerings overlap, with a grab bag of styles that are perfect for warm weather sipping and available in bottles and cans or on draft.
Here are a half-dozen that feature fruity and refreshing aromas and flavors and linger around or below 5 percent alcohol by volume, making them a great choice for porch sitting or picnicking.
Reformation Alani the Lighthearted — Wine barrel-aging, and even wine yeast have been common in craft brewing for years. But the latest trend is using wine must — fresh-pressed grape juice that includes the skins, seeds and stems.
This new beer from Woodstock’s Reformation Brewery, dubbed a rosé ale, adds 30 percent grape must with Pilsner malts, cranberry juice and hibiscus to create a 4.7 percent hybrid that tickles the tongue with tart, floral and tannin notes. Try it with cheese and grapes.
SweetWater Tropical Lover Berliner Weisse — Atlanta’s SweetWater offers a new summer seasonal take on the increasingly popular German Berliner Weisse style. It gets a tropical twist with the addition of mango, guava and passion fruit flavors.
That adds up to a clean, crisp, pale wheat ale with a tart, acidic essence that’s fruity and refreshing, and a soft carbonation on the palate. An alcohol content of 4.5 percent makes it a beer that easily translates from spring to summer. Try it with Sunday brunch.
Red Hare Ain’t That a Peach Berliner Weisse — Marietta’s Red Hare brews its Berliner-style with pilsen and wheat malts, German Hallertau hops, and a lactobacillus culture added in the kettle. Then they dose it with some peachy goodness.
At just 3.9 percent, this is as light as it gets for a wheat ale, with a peach aroma and a lacto-tartness that melds with the fruit flavor, and a hint of hops to create an all-around easy-drinking brew. Try it with a warm slice of peach pie topped with cheddar.
New Belgium Bicycle Kick — The Colorado- and North Carolina-based New Belgium breweries came up with this international collaboration to “celebrate a summer of soccer excitement.” At 5.1 percent, it’s a German kolsch-style flavored with chamomile and lemongrass.
The result is a crisp, clean, light beer with lively carbonation and some malty sweetness, slight sourness, and a touch of bitterness in the finish. The chamomile and lemongrass add herbal and fruit notes. Try it with barbecue pork or grilled chicken.
Terrapin Good to Gose — Another tart, refreshing sipper, Athens’ Terrapin brews this popular 4.5 percent gose year-round, but it shines in the summer. Made with pilsner, wheat, and torrified wheat malts, and tarted up with lactobacillus, it has a subtle but appealing complexity.
Sea salt, coriander and grapefruit peel add to its culinary, food-friendliness. Terrapin says to try it with a ham and Brie sandwich with arugula and spicy mustard. That sounds like a good summertime picnic lunch to me.
Monday Night Han Brolo — I’ve written that this highly touted beer from Atlanta’s Monday Night Brewing is a beer for our times — a contemporary hazy-juicy pale ale brewed with wheat malt and Simcoe, Mosaic, and Mandarina Bavaria hops.
At 4.7 percent, it’s both fairly low in alcohol and not especially bitter. The addition of lactose sugar gives it a silky mouthfeel, making its light, bright, versatile flavors even more “crushable.” Try it with a plate of crackers, cheese and cured meats.
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