As the weather gets warmer, more and more seasonal Spring and Summer craft beers arrive on the shelves. From flavorful session beers to lighter, fruitier brews, some folks eagerly await the season just for a taste of Summer. Southern Tier, perhaps most famous for its Fall seasonal offering, Pumking, also has its share of warmer-weather beers. Hop Son Wheat Beer being just one of them.
Southern Tier’s Hop Sun clocks in at 5.1ABV and is sure to be a Summer staple this season for fans of the brewery. The sud is a wheat beer, which means that a large part (30-70%) of the mash is made up of wheat, with the remainder being regular barley malt. Now, fun fact for you; Wheat has more protein than standard barley, which contributes to a bit of haze inside your glass, and more of a silky mouthfeel that is often sought after in the warmer weather. While some in the craft beer community are quick to write-off wheat beers as tasteless wastes, Southern Tier offers a unique take on the brew by adding fresh hop flowers at the end of the fermentation process. This contributes a nice aroma and flavor profile not usually found in standard hefeweizens.
Once uncapped, no strong aroma hops out at you. A hint of citrus and light hops eventually make their presence felt. This beer pours a pale amber and hosts a thick fluffy pure-white 2 finger head. As described above, the thick head is mostly due to the protein found in wheat. The beer shows a slight wheat beer haze, but you can definitely see through the glass as it invites you take your first sip.
Inside the glass, aromas get stronger, but certainly not overpowering. Light biscuit, minor citrus, and slight hops fill your nostrils as you’re ready for your first taste. The first sip is crisp, smooth and balanced. Some hops shine through towards the end which is expected from a beer called Hop Sun. The more this is nursed, you begin to notice some biscuit flavor, but the true highlight is the smooth, silky mouthfeel. Southern Tier’s take on a wheat beer is miles away from Yuengling’s Summer Wheat Beer – which was almost pure banana bread in a bottle.
This beer is the perfect Summer brew , hosting a low ABV, a silky mouthfeel and a crisp taste with an almost pilsner-like drinkability. Bring this one to your next Summer outing and enjoy throughout the day. Southern Tier’s Hop Sun differentiates itself from the larger brewery’s wheat offerings by not being overly fruity, or needing an orange slice to float inside the glass. The addition of fresh hops towards the end of the fermentation adds just enough kick to this beer to make you crave it more than just once in a blue moon!
An interesting take on a Wheat Beer