Beer of the Week: Summit Brewing Co.

BY DAN VERHILLE | MAY 16, 2013 5:00 AM

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I wandered into John's Grocery this week with my mind full of questions about which beer to review for my last Beer of the Week at The Daily Iowan. The questions were quickly solved when I met some of the friendly guys with Summit Brewing Co., who were offering free samples of their beers as part of the Minnesota Craft Beer Week, an event taking place May 13-21.

In honor of the MNCBW, I've decided to run a double review special on two of their best beers, which are newly available at John's Grocery and come highly recommended from yours truly.

Before I delve into the reviews, I want to thank all the people who've read and supported my column over the course of the year. Keep drinking good beers and support your local breweries!

Name: Meridian Session Ale, Belgian-Style Session Ale

Product of: Summit Brewing Co. St. Paul, MN

Serving Size: 12 FL. OZ., 4.5% ABV

Serving Style: Glass bottle to pint glass

The Meridian Session Ale is a Belgian-Style Session Ale that is true to its origins with a prolific single malt and unique "discovered by accident" hops bitterness. While the modest label might have you expecting an underwhelming beer, the Meridian packs a whole lot of character into a simplistic recipe.

Smell: Belgian yeast is the most prominent overtone, with lemon citrus and sweet caramel combining to form a delicate undertone. It finishes in a zesty, peppery spice that accentuates the previous flavors. 4.7/5

Appearance: The Meridian is a beauty to behold: A pale goldenrod body with a hazy hue of orange supports a thin but frothy white head that quickly dissipates, leaving an impressive amount of glass lacing behind. The carbonation appears light, but what is there is extremely active. 4.9/5

Taste: The only malt used in the Meridian, the Concerto Pale, makes for an extremely drinkable beer with a surprisingly robust, toasted flavor for its lightness. Floral and citrus notes meet in the middle of the palate, and slowly fade into the cleanly distinct bitterness of the Meridian Hops. The zesty spice present in the aroma lingers in the mouth and plays against each flavor, making each more pronounced without being overpowering. 4.8/5

The Meridian is fantastic example of Belgian-Style Session Ale done just right. As many flavors come to play as possible without crowding your senses. It offers just the right amount of complexity to keep your taste buds guessing, but enough simplicity to be very drinkable and thirst-quenching. 14.4/15


Name: Saga India Pale Ale

Product of: Summit Brewing Co., St. Paul, MN

Serving Size: 16 FL. OZ, 6.4% ABV

Serving Style: bottle to pint glass

Earning its namesake from the Norse goddess and drinking comrade of Odin, Saga has been championed as one of the most exotically flavored IPA's available, making it a strange yet satisfying take on familiar style.

Smell: Some interesting fruits are at play here on top of a grassy base, most citrusy ones like grapefruit, orange, and lemon, with some sweeter fruits like mango and kiwi also making an appearance. Not the most aromatically impressive of IPA's, but it's certainly no slouch either. 3.9/5

Appearance: A hazy honey sits below a thick, bubbly head beckoning you to bury your lips into it. Fantastic glass lacing and medium carbonation finish off a round appearance. 4/5

Taste: The exotic fruits and hops bedazzle the palate. Underneath there's an earthy, pine and grass base that's finished off with the acidity of fruits and bite of alcohol. Extremely interesting flavors are at work here, although they may take something of an acquired taste to appreciate. 4.3/5

If you're an IPA fan and are tired with the traditional executions which do little more than overwhelm your palate with hops, Saga is a fantastically different rendition sure to confuse your mouth for the better.  12.2/15

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