Lammas is this Sunday, August 1st. Being the first of the three Harvest Festivals, I was excited to present a selection of beers in this second installment of The Magic of Beer: Wheat Beer.
Bell’s Oberon, that I profiled at the Summer Solstice, is a wheat beer. Wheat beers are a perfect summer beer because they are typically light and refreshing. In Atlanta, where the temperatures are still close to 100 degrees, it is hard to believe that this is the beginning of any sort of harvest season or that Autumn will ever happen. I officially declare that Midsummer to Lammas is Wheat Beer season to celebrate the entire span of the summertime.
Wheat beer, as you might expect, is brewed primarily with wheat as opposed to barley or hops. Germany and Belgium are known for some of the most amazing wheat beers on the planet. Many wheat beers have lingering flavors of citrus or spices like coriander. They often feel more carbonated on your tongue than other types of beer.
Using a wheat beer in your Lammas festivals will honor the wheat harvest. Here are some of my favorite Wheat Beers. Some are regional and some are more widely distributed.
My favorite German wheat is Konig Ludwig Weiss. Served in a tall vase-shaped glass typically with a lemon, Konig is a light, very carbonated beer with a lot of citrus and clove flavor. Because it is an international beer, it should be available in all parts of the world.
In the US, a great wheat option is Sam Adams Summer Ale. it is a light, drinkable beer. What I like about Sam Adams is that is was the first mainstream brewery to offer microbrew style beer to the general public.
Another brewery that is following in Sam Adams’ footsteps is a Colorado brewery called New Belgium. They have some fantastic beer offerings that are available throughout the US at even the most normal of bars. Their Mothership Wit is one of my very favorites. It is an organic beer and has the authentic taste of what you might expect from a German or Belgian wheat beer.
There is one more beer option that would be elegant at your Lammas celebrations. Not only is Lammas the wheat harvest, but it is also the harvest of first fruits. Therefore, I propose Lambic as the perfect Lammas beer. Lambic is a specialty wheat beer that is brewed with spontaneous fermentation, rather than the careful methods of normal ales or lagers. The most common brand available is Lindemans. Lambic comes in multiple fruit flavors including Framboise (raspberry) and my personal favorite, Peche (peach).
So, enjoy a refreshing wheat beer this Lammas and celebrate however you are called.
Also, a message to readers in the Southern Hemisphere. I appologize that my beer selections are hemisphere-centric. If you can stick with me for the whole year, I hope to have selections that can be enjoyed by anyone anywhere in the world.