The Best Light Beers For Summer: Taste Tested | Delicious Magazine
Mark Dredge – 6 July 2022
delicious. beer expert Mark Dredge explains the depths of flavour different varieties of hop bring to beer – there’s always a new combination to discover… and our Italian Pilsner made it in to his top picks for light beers for summer.
Mark Dredge is an award-winning beer writer, a regular columnist for delicious. Magazine and the beer expert on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch. He’s written eight books about beer and is an international beer judge.
Hops are my favourite flowers. Capable of turning a brew from bland to sublime, they give beer its intoxicating aromas – everything from fresh and floral through citrus and tropical to herbal and spicy.
There are more than 200 hop varieties, each with its own unique qualities, which in turn are affected by the growing conditions, so the same variety grown in Washington State and Worcestershire will have different accents and aromas.
Hops grown in the Pacific Northwest of America have strong citrus, stone fruit, melon and piney qualities. With similar fruitiness, the hops of New Zealand and Australia come with more of a tropical lilt. In Germany and the Czech Republic, the classic hops are herbal, floral and grassy, with a bitter citrus depth. In Britain, traditional hops evoke an English garden, with flowers and leaves, stone fruit and berries, wood and spice. Look out, too, for new British varieties such as jester, harlequin, olicana and godiva, which have tropical aromas of passion fruit, pineapple, peach and lime.
As we ease into summer, we’re reaching for blonde ales, golden ales and modern hoppy pilsners, all pale, light and aromatic with fresh and fragrant hops.
Did you know?
Brewers add hops in varying amounts and combinations in the same way chefs add herbs, spices and seasonings. Hops are usually added during the boiling stage – the later the hops are added, the more aroma they give.
A ‘dry hopped’ beer means the hops were added very late (after boiling) – like a chef adding fresh herbs before serving a dish.