Summer weather has finally hit New Hampshire which leads to a bevy of outdoor projects, sports, barbecues, and sharing good times with friends and family. Your tastes have migrated toward summer as well. You look for lighter foods and beverage choices as well. And this season always brings out a huge selections of summer-style brews, so today we look at 603 Brewery’s Summatime Session Ale in 12 oz cans.
A few things to note about cans; they are not made the same as your grandfather’s Schaffer cans back in the day. The lightweight aluminum is coated with a fine protective layer to keep the metal from the liquid. They store well, travel well, chill fast and are recyclable. And most importantly, if you drop a can, it won’t shatter into a thousand shards of glass!
603 Brewery started in Campton (above Plymouth), but is now located in Londonderry, NH. They offer year-round beers as well as seasonal beers matched to their climates. Less than 29 months old, 603 Brewery has made a momentous mark in the NH craft beer scene. Each of their beers has something to do with a historical fact about NH. For instance, their 18 Mile Rye Ale is named for the 18 miles of Atlantic shoreline NH is afforded between Maine and Massachusetts.
Today, they are a 15 barrel brew house with beer exclusively sold in NH and distributed widely throughout the state in 12 oz cans, 22 oz bottles, growlers (half gallon bottles) and kegs for restaurants and taverns. You can find it in Hanniford, Market Basket and Case-n-Keg, Meredith while you are out shopping. Visit their website at www.603brewery.com
Summatime is a golden delicious visual treat. It pours elegantly into a pint glass with a thick frothy white head which lasts through most of the sampling. You immediately sense fruity, citrus notes, some grapefruit and floral elements. With the first sip, you are hooked on it’s maltiness, with a crisp, clean, somewhat distant hop character near the end of the experience. An American Ale yeast was used for this year’s edition (completely redesigned from last year), and has improved the wow factor by a large value! Yeast has so much to do with how beer tastes. The variety it is says so much about the brew style. Combining just the right amount of hops to balance against the grains used (another design feature) makes what you drink successful in your sampling. This is what craft brewing is all about these days!
This ale is available throughout the summer months but disappears once September come around.
Although BeerAdvocate.com has not yet rated this year’s version officially, followers of 603 have rated it last year as high as 3.75 out of 5.0 which points out that you should try this before it leaves for the season!
Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to firstname.lastname@example.org.