Cheers to summer!

Three brews to crave as the seasons change

Previous Next

Lazy Hazy

Fall River Brewing Co.

“But is it hazy?” That’s the question that’s permeated the craft beer scene over the last couple of years, as hazy IPAs—those cloudy, unfiltered New England versions of the style—have taken over the taps and beer coolers. For me, the style is hit or miss. At its best—as with the wonderful Lazy Hazy from Redding’s Fall River Brewing Co.—the style merely adds a satisfying juicy mouthfeel to the hop-forwardness that marks the core style. At its worst, the pulpy haziness takes over at the expense of the development of the rest of the beer, clouding the hop and malt flavors for a fairly dull experience—like drinking a watered-down beer tea instead of a bold IPA. Fall River’s signature hazy IPA, like the rest of its excellent IPA portfolio, is thankfully very flavorful. The floral and fruity hops blend well with an understated juiciness for a very quaffable summertime brew. But with an alcohol level in the double-IPA range (8 percent ABV), and the fact that Lazy Hazy comes in big 16-ounce cans, proceed to the lake, river or backyard party with caution.

—Jason Cassidy

Oktoberfest 2018

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co./Weihenstephan

Each year, Sierra Nevada collaborates with a different German brewery for its seasonal Oktoberfest beer. For 2018, the Chico-born brewery worked with Weihenstephan, the longest continuously operating brewery in the world. Advertised as an “American take on the classic German Oktoberfest,” it’s a malt-forward and highly sessionable brew that begs to be gulped from a boot-shaped glass. It pours a crisp, burnt-orange color and produces a fluffy head that deflates rapidly, leaving a white ring around the top of the glass. On the tongue, it comes on strong and finishes mild; there’s a hint of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale’s signature hoppy bitterness at first, but that impression is promptly replaced by caramel, autumnal spices and toasted grains. You’re left with a bready, light aftertaste. For the full effect, I suggest pairing this year’s Oktoberfest with sizzling bratwurst and highly aggravating polka music. And remember: This is the one and only time of the year when it’s acceptable to don lederhosen.

—Howard Hardee

Hopfenbombe German-style IPA

Zoiglhaus Brewing Co.

It seems like yesterday that breweries were engaging in full-on hop wars with explosively hoppy IPAs. But in 2018, there are more than six times the number of craft breweries vying for shelf space as there were a decade ago. Beer-makers have gotten more adventurous, and a little less reliant on the standard IPA. Alan Taylor studied beer-making in Germany for years, and became brewmaster for Zoiglhaus Brewing Co. when it opened in late 2015. The brewery—located in southeast Portland—specializes in German styles like its excellent schwarzbier and kölsch, but also plays around with more familiar styles. Last year, Zoiglhaus (or Zhaus, as it’s affectionately known) unleashed the Hopfenbombe—a light, yet hoppy German IPA that’s one of the best beers going right now. The hops hit you up front, but it always finishes clean, which makes this German delicacy perfect for sipping or throwing a few back around the barbecue.

—Mark Lore