Top 5 Beers of the Week

Redemption Export Stout from Initiative Brewing

Cool Water Cream Ale from Sunriver Brewing

Worker’s Pale Ale from Walkabout Brewing

Key Lime Wheat from GoodLife Brewing

Bodhizafa IPA from Georgetown Brewing

August for me brings two things to mind — long, hot summer days and camping. The warm dry days call for lighter, crisp, refreshing beers, and this summer there has been an interesting trend in seasonal release from a number of local breweries — fruited sour ales. The twist? They’re all released in cans, which is the perfect beer vessel to take camping.

Bringing canned beer camping makes sense for a number of reasons: Cans are lighter than bottles, they pack easier, chill faster and there’s no risk of broken glass littering the campsite. Inexpensive, light, easy-drinking beer is a must, of course, but over the past decade, as craft brewers have increasingly offered their wares in cans, I always bring a selection of specialty craft brews to enjoy alongside the macros.

I decided to check out four seasonal sour releases as well as two other year-round beers to get an overview of what’s available this summer.

Deschutes Brewery — Marionberry & Lavender Sour Ale (4.3% ABV, 10 IBU)

Deschutes’ sour beer series includes flavor combinations, such as Thai Chile Ginger and Grapefruit Rose. For the first canned release in this series, the brewery — inspired by culinary cocktails — blended Oregon marionberries and lavender for a summer refresher.

The beer is a clear purple color with hints of pink and orange. In combining these ingredients, the name is as advertised. Notes of tart berry jam and floral lavender imbue the aroma, and it’s bright and spritzy in flavor. The marionberry is up front but subtle, and the lavender takes on an herbal, almost tealike quality. This will appeal not only to sour ale fans but also those seeking such an herbal flavor profile.

Worthy Brewing Company — Exuberance Summer Sour (4% ABV, 10 IBU)

This fourth beer in Worthy’s Hopstar limited series is a gose, a tart wheat ale typically brewed with salt and spices. Exuberance includes Jacobsen Pinot Noir Sea Salt and a blend of Oregon-grown berries — blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. It pours a pink-red color with an aroma that is bright with tangy, tart berries.

There is a noticeable saltiness to this beer, and I find it complements the tart lactic “snap” and berry flavors well. The salt follows into the finish and ultimately gives the beer a refreshing quality that can be restorative on a hot day.

10 Barrel Brewing Company — Strawberry Crush (5.1% ABV, 4 IBU)

This latest entry in 10 Barrel’s sour Crush series arrived just in time for summer and is in the brewery’s Crush variety packs. Like others in this series, Strawberry Crush starts with a base of Berliner weisse sour wheat ale. It then ferments with fresh strawberries and even a touch of cayenne, according to the press release, “to really make the flavor pop.”

Strawberry can be a difficult character to preserve during fermentation, so I was pleased to discover an aroma of homemade strawberry jam. The flavor is a bit more subtle, but the berry character is still present, with a mellow sweetness that offsets a gentle sour note. The finish reminded me a bit of SweeTarts candies.

Silver Moon Brewing Company — Salty Bog Cranberry Gose (4.5% ABV, 4 IBU)

This fruited gose returns for the summer in Silver Moon’s specialty Stellar Series lineup, and is a beer I first wrote about two years ago in exploring the style. The cranberries give a soft pink tinge to an orange base, which I liken to a twilight color.

Cranberry is subtle and plays off the briney, tart character well, and overall this beer is a crisp and refreshing summer quencher. As I noted two years ago, you may find an impression of Thanksgiving cranberry sauce in the finish.

Immersion Brewing Company — Sexy Girlfriend (5.8% ABV, 25 IBU)

Immersion’s year-round sour is brewed with mango and passionfruit for a tropical experience, redolent of fresh juice highlighting the mango with citruslike passion fruit behind it. Without the berries present in all of these other beers, Sexy Girlfriend is a hazy golden color similar to pineapple juice.

I found less of that juice impression in the flavor, which emphasizes instead the sour base. There’s some fruit skin earthiness and the fruit gains prominence as the beer warms, with a tealike quality playing off the grainy tartness.

Bend Brewing Company — Razztafari Sour Ale (5% ABV, 10 IBU)

The brewery began canning Razztafari in May and is the only 16-ounce-sized can of this group. It’s a Berliner weisse-style ale with lemon zest and raspberry puree, which gives the beer a hazy, pink appearance with a tinge of orange. A gentle raspberry note rides the wheaty tart aroma of the base style.

The lemon and berry combination evokes the fruit well in the flavor, which will have you thinking of fresh-picked raspberries. There’s a touch of raw wheat and a light yogurtlike tartness, and it finishes crisp with a berry tang.

The verdict? If you like sours, these are all terrific camp beers. I am always a fan of a properly salty gose, so Worthy’s Exuberance hits the mark for me.

What’s your go-to canned beer to take camping, or to enjoy on these hot summer days?

— Jon Abernathy is a beer writer and blogger and launched The Brew Site (www.thebrewsite.com) in 2004. He can be reached at jon@thebrewsite.com .

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