PICTURED: Tri Fin Tripel and Lemon Ginger Ale Soda, both by Leashless Brewing. Photo by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer


Memorial Day has come and gone, June is upon us and it’s been blue skies and sunshine for days. Summer is underway, and while IPAs will never go out of style in these parts, this is the time when light, easy-drinking beers — lagers, blondes and their ilk — come into their own. Local breweries have taken things one step further, with some fruit-enriched options that add a hint of orchard goodness to their ales. I went in search of this season’s summer crop to see what the fuss was all about.

Institution Ales
Raspberry Day Dreamin’ Golden Ale
$9/32 oz. crowler

This pretty-in-pink pleaser is summer in a glass. Institution’s own golden ale base gets a pronounced raspberry flavor, subtle sweetness and a gorgeous hue from the addition of the fruit. Nice and light with just the breath hops (15 IBUs, courtesy of Mosaic, Nugget and Warrior hops) and only 4.7 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), you’ll love daydreaming in the sunshine with this one.


Leashless Brewing
Tri Fin Tripel
$16/32 oz. crowler

Burnished gold in color, this certified organic abbey-style ale is drier than your typical golden ale. You won’t notice the apricots right away, but they’re there, balancing the earthy richness. Complex and flavorful, this is a nice fruit-enhanced Belgian ale that doesn’t give itself over to the sweet side without a fight and a bit of bite (courtesy of 21.4 IBUs). Note, however, that the hefty 8.7 percent ABV demands respect.


Poseidon Brewing Co.
Partial Pressure Plum Blonde Ale
$12/32 oz. crowler

With a thick, creamy head and a dusty orange color, I was expecting a beer with some real plum punch. Looks can be deceiving. It’s a good effort: a tasty, crisp, thirst-quenching blonde that’s perfect for barbecue or just cooling off with on a hot day. At first taste, the plum is there more in spirit than flavor, lending this traditional summer sip a fuller, rounder, thicker character. After the initial chill wore off, though, the stone fruit became more evident. Not the fruitiest beer in this batch, it’s true, but easy to drink and love all the same. If you’re skeptical that fruit and beer can live in harmony, give this one a try — you just might change your mind.


Leashless Brewing
Lemon Ginger Ale Soda
$5/32 oz. crowler

One of the few breweries offering something for those who can’t or choose not to drink alcohol, Leashless makes a suprisingly good soda. This is a far cry from your supermarket ginger ale, with pronounced ginger flavor, a touch of citrus and a fresh taste that’s not too sugary. Not gonna lie: My kids and I fought over this one. Wonderful on its own, I have no doubt it would make a dynamite mixer for your favorite spirit.