What better way to showcase our first summer beer than in a heavily-filtered mason jar?
Baxter Brewing really impressed me with their last beer, Window Seat, a coconut almond porter. So when their summer seasonal was one of the first summer brews to make its way into my shop, I didn’t hesitate. Brewed with lemon and lime peel, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass, it sounds like a zesty sauvignon blanc of a beer.
Baxter Brewing – a Lewiston Maine-based brewing company, was one of the first in New England to can their beer.
Commercial Description: “Our first unfiltered offering, Summer Swelter Ale is the perfect warm weather beer! Summer Swelter Ale is light and refreshing while still keeping your taste buds interested. The malt base features a hefty dose of wheat for a big, fluffy head and a soft, round body, yet keeps the beer drinkable even during the dog days. The light malt character is more than balanced by a blend of citrusy American hops, giving Swelter a crisp bitterness without being overpowering. The hoppy citrus aroma complements the ingredients that make this beer so unique: lemon and lime peel, Kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass provide a subtle touch yet unmistakable floral nose and just a touch of bracing tartness, taking the refreshment of Swelter to the next level.”
It pours a hazy and golden yellow with lots of sediment particles floating around. The carbonation is visible and keeps a frothy layer of foam on the top.
The nose is more subdued than I expected; light lemongrass, grassy hops, zesty and wheaty. As it opened up a bit more, the limes really began to step forefront, almost to the point where it smelled like I just juiced a lime into my beer.
This is herbal, grassy, with some pithy citrus rind and a touch of acidity. I’m glad that Baxter went out on a limb with their summer seasonal and I would take this over most crummy blonde ales, but the bitterness slightly overpowers the creamy wheat base and a lot of the refreshing acidity that I expected.
The carbonation is bubbly and active, keeping that grassy bitterness with you for a while after its dry and bready finish. It’s drinkable and definitely a unique approach, but just not my cup of tea.