Summer's on its way, the sun is shining, and journalists are writing hackneyed, weather-related intros to their articles. We've asked London's breweries which of their beers we should be supping over the warm months — and they've come back with some serious liquid treats.
IPAs, pale ales and blondes
Hackney's Five Points are getting into the festival spirit, with a beer specially-brewed for Field Day — Ten Points Extra Pale. Its 4% abv makes it perfect for sessions in the sun. Why's it an "extra" pale ale? Because it's loaded with extra pale malt for a lighter colour and body. East London will be swimming in this beer; you cab get it at MOTH Club, The Sebright Arms, The Dundee Arms and The Adam & Eve. It'll also be at Clapton Craft on growler fill, and at Field Day itself on 11-12 June.
East End neighbours London Fields have got 3 Weiss Monkeys, a 5% Hefeweizen/IPA hybrid. Trad German wheat beer meets New World IPA to create a complex, fruity, refreshing brew. Light spices and orange peel are "hijacked" by a big nose of tropical fruits and bananas, with the classic crisp finish of an IPA. Also check out the brewery's Broadway Blond, a 5% California pale made with West Coast hops, providing a crisp, refreshing finish. Find them both at London Fields Brewery Taproom and Brewhouse.
Walthamstow's Wild Card recommend their 5% Queen of Diamonds IPA, for summer supping. It's described as an ostentatiously hopped IPA, with aromas lychee and grapefruit, and tropical fruits and nectarine flavours.
Weird Beard's Defacer is a stonking 11.1% triple IPA, described as "a monster of a beer... like the heat of summertime in a glass" Expect zesty citrus notes, some lemon sherbet,coconut-ice flavours and an "outdoorsy mowed lawn aroma". Wow, that really does sound like summer in a glass, and it's available in July and August. It's vegan-friendly too.
Summer Ale by Fuller's — a light, smooth 3.9% brew — makes a reappearance this summer, made with malted wheat for crisp, biscuit flavours and packed with sought-after Saaz hops from the Czech Republic. A great beer to go with fish, chicken and salads.
Down south in Battersea, Sambrook's are making their annual batch of Lavender Hill, brewed with honey, and offering a dry finish and soft bitterness. Give your taste buds first dibs at the brewery launch party on 18 June.
Over at One Mile End, they've made a Citrus Crush Saison, packed with a strange, Far Eastern fruit known as Budda's Hand (sometimes called 'lemon with fingers'). The fruit is treasured for its sweet floral fragrance and mild zest, and the brewery team has combined this with orange, pomelo, kumquat, lemon and lime — enough citrus to bowl you onto the floor.
New kids on the block Old Kent Road Brewery hit the ground running with their Astoria Saison — a Belgian farmhouse ale, with big tropical hops and a generous addition of citrus fruit — light-tasting and refreshing stuff. It's available at The Beer Shop in Nunhead, Hop Burns & Black in East Dulwich and Ubrew in Bermondsey.
Summer Knights Saison is the seasonal offering from Late Knights — a 3.8% take on a historic Belgian recipe, with grapefruit & lemon notes and hints of spice. It's available at all of their south London bars in keg and in bottle, from the start of June.
If you find yourself in Blackheath this summer, make a beeline for Zero Degrees and its infinitely drinkable Wheat Ale — a number 4.2% with a citric orange, coriander, vanilla and cinnamon aroma. We're told it goes great with a gorgonzola and mushroom gnocchi (which, fortunately, Zero Degrees also sell).
Bermondsey's Fourpure have been busy brewing wheat beer too — Skyliner is a 4.7% classic Bavarian beer, with enticing aromas of cloves and banana bread, gentle malt body and a refreshing finish.
North of the river, Essex Street Brewery are working on their American Wheat, loaded with tropical aromas from Citra and Mosaic hops. "It's a 5.3% beer that drinks like a 3.5%," head brewer Vanessa tells us. Sounds dangerously delicious.
Here's a beer to get you in the mood for Murray mania: London Beer Factory are releasing a Wimbledon Strawberry and Cream Ale available mid to late June (to coincide with the tennis). It's a crisp, American style lager, brewed using hops from the Yakima Valley region in Washington State, then flavoured with bucket-loads of fresh British strawberries.
Busy brewers Fourpure have got Juicebox — a 5.9% citrus IPA with fresh orange zest and heaps of extremely aromatic hops, lending bright, intense flavours of mango, papaya and bitter orange. Very, very sippable stuff.
As for Fourpure's neighbours Partizan, they've been brewing up batches of their summer classic Raspberry & Lemon Saison. It's become something of a summer standard, but this year, due to popular demand, you can get it in bottles too. Hundreds of kilos of raspberries are used to make it, while real lemons add a fresh twist of sharpness and aroma.
Staying in Bemondsey, Anspach & Hobday are doing a number of specials on keg this summer, including the magnificently-named The Miami Weiss — a lime flavoured wheat beer.
Feel the need for mead? Gosnells Hopped Mead is inspired by their local brewery neighbours, and pairs the citrus notes of their signature mead with a blend of floral aroma hops — to create a bold but refreshing brew. Bottles (around £3.50) are available at all good bottle shops including Borough Wines, selected Oddbins and Clapton Craft.