Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Beers — Sierra Nevada vs. New Belgium

Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager

ABV 5%

Crystal clear, bright, sunny yellow.
Clean, floral, some dry grains, lemon and distinct Belgian yeast notes (spicy cloves).
Sweet and citrusy, like grapefruit sprinkled with sugar.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Mild citrus hoppy bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):

New Belgium Skinny Dip
(brewed with Kaffir Lime Leaf)
ABV 4.2%

Crystal clear, amber orange.
Floral hops and some caramel malts.
Thin, sweet lemon water.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Malty
Not much, just sort of disappears.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):

Winner by unanimous decision
: Summerfest.
It may be hard for those of us in the Northwest to believe, but summer starts in four days. If you dig the hot weather, spring has been a serious disappointment. It hasn't hit 75º yet this year in Seattle, but when it does, you'll want to have a cold craft beer in your hand to celebrate the occasion.

In an attempt to kick-start the hot weather we threw two summer seasonals
into the ring and let them have at it. The Summerfest didn't mess around. It dropped the Skinny in the second round with a devastating combination of crisp, refreshing flavor and surprising complexity. Honestly, we suspect that the Skinny Dip didn't train hard enough for this fight. It tasted like a thin amber ale and the kaffir lime leaf was hardly detectable. The Summerfest, on the other hand, was a fantastic summer sipper. It was light and crisp enough to quaff, but also offered ample flavor and complexity to tickle your taste buds.

Sierra Nevada will be pouring their Summerfest at the 2010 Washington Brewers Festival this weekend. If you're smart, you'll drop all of your previous plans and head out to the festival for some Summerfest and hopefully some sun to go along with it.

In the interest of full disclosure to satisfy the FTC’s law, this battle features a sample bottle received from the New Belgium Brewery.

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