British summer time is a fickle mistress, we all have fantasies of wafting about in sun dresses, shorts and flip flops whilst getting a big hit of the vitamin D. The sad reality is sweating inside rain macs, commuting on buses that smell like hot piss and having another argument in the office about opening windows vs the air-con (TOP TIP if the air-con is on DON'T OPEN THE WINDOW, THAT'S BASIC SCIENCE)
However, we do get the odd run of days where the weather is just right, warm with a cool breeze, the smell of flowers heavy in the air, the low hum of bees and you've found the perfect tree to sit under. This is what we call "perfect beer weather". We spoke to some of the best beer makers and drinkers in Bristol to find out what they suggest to drink in the park/at the BBQ/in the garden whilst sitting in a paddling pool.
Alex and Annie @ Lost and Grounded
For summer bevvies we love Moor Claudia - wheat beers are great in the warmer weather and this hoppy version is ace - fruitiness of a wheat beer combined with Moor's classic hop character. And of course our Keller Pils is a smashable thirst quencher. It's balanced with just enough of everything - biscuity malt and lemony hops - which means you can focus on good times in the sun!
Alex (co-founder/Head Brewer) LHG Pale is a really beaut solid session pale ale and at 4.1% a great choice to compliment the sunny beer garden vibe!
Annie (co-founder/Creative Lead) Wiper and True's 'Kiwi Lilt' PA is also a summer savior - add Wimbledon whites and some cucumber sandwiches for an ultimate pairing!
Our LHG Pale, 4.3%, is light citrus and tropical fruits with a crisp bitter finish. It's just smashable, and delicious and is currently rated in top 50 in style in the world! We made that beer for the summer sun!
We've also just brewed a collab with Wiper and True, which is the 3rd edition of the project. It's called Bristol Vice and is a kettle soured Berliner Weisse Each time we brew it it gets better and this years is no different! Fruity, sharp and tart, perfect in the heat!
We're so lucky in the SW in that we've got such a broad range of breweries making such a broad range of beers. It's inspiring to us as producers and massively exciting to us as beer drinkers. From huge hoppy Pales to Imperial Milk Stouts to spontaneously fermented sour ales, whatever your into you can generally find it being produced to a world standard within the area!
Tom Clermont @ Bristol Beer Factory
BRISTOL BEER FACTORY, Mischief: 5.0% pale and just screams perfect summer beer. Ultra pale, beautifully hopped (single hop US Jarrylo used in judicious quantities) and a lovely clean finish.
LOST & GROUNDED, Keller Pils: a stunning pilsner that I think has rather been taken for granted in Bristol. Such a hard style to nail and L&G have the equipment, team and clearly skill to pull it off. Totally clean, summer refreshment.
MOOR, Nor'Hop: It's been one of the consistently best pales in Bristol for years. Great beer.
BRISTOL BEER FACTORY, Independence: Of course due attention to my vested interest but even before my recent switch to BBF (from Butcombe) I have long believed this to be the best beer in Bristol and the South West. It comes into its own in Summer. Hoppy from a mix of US hops added throughout the boil, it is powerfully but not overtly hoppy, fresh, citrusy, almost tart with the citrus notes particularly harmonious with the crisp finish on keg: Pouring in some great Bristol and Bath pubs and bars this summer.
FYNE ALES, Jarl: For my money the best beer in the U.K. And by extension best pale and best summer beer. Rarely seen in the region, but couldn't not mention it.
Stephen Powell @ Bristol Beer Week
My summer tip would be LHG Extra Pale. Session strength and vibrant as fuck. Beautiful on cask too, which should still be a consideration in this weather.
Chris Callaghan @ Best of Bristol
Hefe from Bristol Beer Factory - Summer in a glass!
Vicky Helsby @ Wiper & True
In mid-August we’re releasing a collaboration with Deya, Verdant and Left Handed Giant in celebration of Bristol Craft Beer Festival. The Bristol IPA was brewed with all Australian hops and intended for drinking on long hazy summer days in the West Country. The beer will be available in bottle and keg around Bristol from mid-August until the festival in September.
We’ll be launching it at Small Bar on August 10th where there will be a few beers from each brewery on alongside the Bristol IPA. It was fantastic to work with three West Country breweries who we really admire and celebrate the amazing beer scene we have here in Bristol.
The craft beer festival is a showcase for that and is helping put Bristol firmly on the map as a Craft Beer mecca!
Darran McLaughlin @ Moor Beer
My pick for a perfect Summer beer from the Moor range would be Radiance. It’s our 5% Continental Blonde, so it’s less hop driven than most of our pale beers. Justin spent time in Germany when he was in the American Army and developed an appreciation for German brewing styles. Radiance is a tribute to a Helles style lager, which is designed to be really easy to drink, thirst quenching and moreish, with a less bitter finish than a Pilsner style lager. We just tweaked the recipe with the addition of a new Slovenian hop and it has taken the beer to a new level. I could happily drink that beer every day.
My pick for the perfect Summer beer from a Bristol brewery (other than Moor) would be Keller Pils by Lost and Grounded. I used to be a lager skeptic.I had my first unfiltered Keller lager in Cologne in Germany a couple of years ago and it reminded me what a delicious beer style lager can be when done right. It was hazy and full flavoured rather bland and insipid, as macro lagers tend to be. ‘Lagering’ is supposed to take place over 4 to 6 weeks, which develops a full flavour, whilst macro breweries have found techniques to ‘lager’ a beer in a matter of hours. Lost and Grounded are one of the first craft breweries in the UK to distinguish themselves by focussing primarily on German and Belgian style brewing and Keller Pils is the best British lager I know of in the market today.
Dan Izzard @ Simple Lampoon
Pogo is my ultimate Summer beer. It's a tropical fruit salad with a decent smashing of hops that manages to stay light and refreshing. Best drank out of a jazzy Wild Beer glass with a harbourside view.
Meg Pope @ Duchess Media
Kiwi Lilt from Wiper and True because it tastes like Lilt but it's boozy!!
Shonette Laffy @ Life Less Organised
Wild Beer Pogo - Fruity, light, not too strong and you can buy it direct from WB Wapping wharf and drink it in a deck chair
Arbor Shangri-La - Also fruity and low ABV, available in cask or keg, not too pricey and quite flavoursome without being too hoppy or whatnot
Kiwi Lilt because it bloody tastes like Lilt
Boom by Crane Beer is refreshing too
Keller Pils from Lost and Grounded is lush, as well as Apophenia, it's incredible
Charlie - Editor @ Wriggle
Yet another vote for Keller Pils by Lost and Grounded, crisp and easy drinking it's a go to when i'm in need of some cool refreshment. Also a huge fan of Arbor's Rocketman, nice big juicy beer that avoids being sweet, something I can't bare when its warm.