Summertime has arrived, with its myriad ways to get thirsty: tossing horseshoes, playing ball or just standing around asking folks if it's hot enough for 'em. However you work up a thirst, though, Scott Smith of East End Brewing says he's got the cure: beer.
But not just any beer. In the summer, he says, "People will reach for something lighter in color or maybe lighter in flavor and lower in alcohol. The lower alcohol makes sense -- you can get dehydrated pretty quickly."
Smith says that in the heat, even folks who aren't typically beer drinkers may make the switch: "It's hard to stand by a barbecue grill with a glass of red wine." Also, "summer beers tend to be more carbonated, which is more thirst-quenching."
Smith has been creating summery beers at his spot in Homewood, which are now available at local bars and restaurants. Or, stop by the brewery to buy beer by the half-gallon in a reusable glass "growler." Currently, Smith has four beers on tap that he would recommend as summer brews.
A year-round brew that people turn to in the heat is East End Witte. "It's a light and refreshing summer beer, consistently our No. 2 or No. 3 [seller]," he says. Wheat Hop, Smith says, is an India Pale Ale with a big barley and malt taste, a hint of wheat and bright, citrus flavors reminiscent of pineapple and grapefruit.
Here It Gose Again is a beer that explores sour and salty flavors, not often featured in beer. Smith makes use of the seasonal heat to create the beer's sour mash base. As the mash sits for days, Smith says the aroma at the brewery evolves from garbage to garbagey lemonade to sweet, clear beer smell.
The brewery's spring seasonal, Monkey Boy, has been held over to appease the clamoring masses, and it works for summer, too. It's a German hefeweizen, or wheat beer, with banana esters -- meaning it smells like monkey food because of a chemical reaction during the brewing.
Also, keep your eyes peeled for Pedal Pale Ale, in bars all summer long. Smith and a crew of biking beer enthusiasts deliver it by bike, and the mysterious, word-free tap handle is made from bike parts.
East End Brewing Company
6923 Susquehanna St., Homewood
Growler Hours: Tue.-Fri. 5-7 p.m. and Sat. noon-5 p.m.