Beat the Heat With These Five Texas Wheats
There are people who will tell you that when it's more than 100 degrees out, you need to drink water because alcohol will dehydrate you. Ignore those buzzkills -- especially today, it being International Beer Day, making for two international beer holidays in a row. Here are some of our favorite beers to drink when it's 100-and-kill-me degrees outside. Better yet, they're all made in Texas, a state that knows a thing or two about drinking in the heat.
Franconia Wheat. Hefeweizens are a German style made with wheat, which makes for a lighter-bodied beer perfect for summer drinking. Some Americans add lemon slices to their hefes, which horrifies Germans only slightly less than if you were to add ketchup. McKinney's Franconia, owned by native Bavarian Dennis Wehrmann, whose family ties to brewing go back centuries, makes an outstanding hefe. It's refreshing and light with citrusy hops and the classic hefe banana and clove yeast flavors.
Rahr Summertime Wheat. Another German-style wheat beer, this one from Fort Worth's Rahr & Sons Brewing Company is a tad maltier with some rye spiciness. With six-packs in stores, it's easier to find than the currently draft-only Franconia.
Jester King/Mikkeler Drink'in The Sunbelt. This hoppy wheat beer, a collaboration between Austin's Jester King and Danish "Gypsy brewer" Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, tastes like summer in a glass. It's bright and citrusy with tropical fruit notes and a refreshing crispness. With an ABV well under 5 percent, you could drink it all day if you could afford it.
Southern Star Walloon. Wallon is a grisette, a Belgian style created in the early 19th century to slake the thirsts of coal miners, and is a sort of a spin-off of the saison/farmhouse style except marketed to a different class of workers. Walloon, from Southern Star Brewing Co. in Conroe, is a light (for Belgian-style ales, at least) 5.5 percent ABV and is something like a hybrid of a saison and a Belgian witbier. Like hefes, wits are made with wheat, but also usually have coriander and orange-peel flavor as well. Here, all those elements combine for a very crisp, light thirst quencher.
Saint Arnold Weedwacker. Houston's Saint Arnold Brewing Company got some complaints when it announced it would discontinue popular Texas Wheat with this brew. Except for the substitution of hefeweizen yeast, it's the same recipe as another Saint Arnold heat-beater, Fancy Lawnmower (so named for being an upscale take on a "lawnmower beer," a brew suitable for relief from outdoor work). A small amount of malted wheat along with pils malts makes for an outstanding light yet rich beer that has all but silenced the outcry over the death of Texas Wheat.
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