(Written for WineBuzz Magazine)
Summer’s in full swing, so we sought out well-balanced brews that refresh. From a lively porter and a fruit-infused stout to a crisp IPA, our picks are all Midwest brews, distinctive without overwhelming.
Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Driftwood Session IPA: A destination restaurant and brewery, Columbus’ Wolf’s Ridge Brewing extends its reach with well-crafted beers now available in stores. Driftwood’s deep blond color mimics the alluring sunny glow of a summer evening’s golden hour. Its refreshing orange peel aroma gives way to a blend of slightly sweet, faintly floral and crisply resinous notes. Its lingering hoppy finish comes together with bits of fruit and grain. Add an ABV of 4.6 percent and a bright feel and you may find yourself drinking it all afternoon.
Rhinegeist Panther Robust Porter: As mysterious as the animal it’s named for, Rhinegeist Panther is a surprise. This brew has surprising depth. Sweet and fruity at the first sip, layers of lighter flavors open to lush cherry and chocolate with a coffee finish. A frothy head and impenetrable blackish color add to the appeal. At once crisp and creamy, this Porter is fit for summer daytime drinking with an ABV of 5.8 percent. Pick it up when you want to take a walk on the wild side.
Dark Horse Blueberry Stout: What better way to celebrate July’s status as National Blueberry Month? This stout pours jet black with a purple hue and a velvety, mocha head. Although the fruit is clearly present in the aroma, the brew’s palate is more smoky than sweet. The warmth and creaminess of this brew may make you think it’s for winter, but its blueberry freshness and tang clearly say summertime. At 7.5 percent ABV, it’s the strongest of our picks this season and a great way to end summer with a bang.