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Harpoon Summer Beer - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Summer BeerHarpoon Summer Beer

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

937 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 937
Reviews: 368
rAvg: 3.54
pDev: 13.56%
Wants: 21
Gots: 81 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Kölsch |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes/Commercial Description:
Harpoon Summer Beer is a beer brewed to be enjoyed with summertime activities. It is light, refreshing, and crisp.

28 IBU

(Beer added by: pezoids on 09-08-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 937 | Reviews: 368 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of danielharper
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Great Spirits, Huntsville, AL. (New to AL!)

A: Pours a dark yellow/orange color with a foamy white head that starts tall but eventually settles down into a nice half-finger foam. Decent presentation.

S: Slight corn aroma in background, masked by a sweet floral ester up front. Slightly "off" somehow, but decent enough.

T: Sweet orangey flavor, slight yeastiness, with a moderate hop bite. Pleasurable, finishes clean.

M: Relatively thick, foams nicely on the palate.

D: It's a great mico-macro beer. Exactly what it's intended to be.

danielharper, May 19, 2006
Photo of brentk56
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear golden body with a fluffy white head that leaves a ton of lacing

Smell: Grainy with a touch of lemon and noble hop aromas

Taste: Starts out with a malty, grainy flavor; after the swallow, the malt dries out and lemony and noble hop flavors kick in; crisp finish

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with lots of carbonation

Drinkability: While I haven't tried too many commercial Kölsches, this one is close to style and is very good

brentk56, May 05, 2006
Photo of bignick
4.03/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

64oz growler purchased at the brewery. Poured into a pint glass.

This beer is exceptionally clear in the glass. It is pretty tasty, light without lacking flavor. It starts with a nice fruitiness, smoothes with a honey flavor, and finishes with slight hop kick. This is a good summer offering, and one that I would enjoy very much in the heat. I would also say that this is the best of Harpoon's seasonals.

bignick, Apr 27, 2006
Photo of taez555
3.3/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a pale straw yellow body with a thick bright white head.

Very light nose. Mostly some mild fresh grain, some touches of yeast and a very mild citrus fruit.

Light to actually medium bodied and very chewy. A nice clean crisp grain, grain husk taste. There's an interesting dry leafy hop presence that gives it some nice background. It's not in your face but just adds a contrast, although it does come out a bit more as it warms. Very little hop bitterness.

Simple, light and refreshing. Nothing to write home about, just a good refreshing summer brew.

taez555, Apr 16, 2006
Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - this Harpoon offering pours a great straw color with moderate carbonation, and wells up a 1/3 finger of cream white head that quickly laces

S - has a great summer aroma, a combination of hoppiness and citrus, definitely seems like lemons as other reviewers have noted

T - the lemons really come through in the taste, along with a wheaty taste, well bodied and a nice hop kick at the back

M - smooth and sweet like a summer afternoon

D - easy to drink, would make a great session beer, on a back porch while the BBQ coals smolder

sinstaineddemon, Apr 15, 2006
Photo of Roderick
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This little beauty poured a light yellow with a thin tan head,the aroma is citrus with a hint of malt.
It has a very fresh clean taste with hint of lemony sweetness and hardly any aftertaste.
The mouth feel is nice wish a crisp finish.
Even though I normally don't like lemon taste in my beer I thought this was a nice refreshing change. I see myself buying this occasionally in the summer months.

Paid $1.00 for a 12oz bottle

Roderick, Dec 09, 2005
Photo of WanderingFool
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On a mild November New England afternoon I was looking for something refreshing to drink. In the back of my fridge I found my last Harpoon Summer Beer looking for a glass to fill.

The beer pours a clear straw yellow color with a fizzy white head on top. The foam fades to a creamy ring around the surface. Above the beer floats an aroma of dry malt, lemon, and floral hops.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is rather dry on the palate. The light fizz brings out the dry malt flavor. Some nice notes of lemon, honey and hops balances out all the malt. It finishes slightly tart leaving some lemony notes behind.

This beer is quite refreshing and a good choice for a hot summer day or a mild autumn afternoon.

WanderingFool, Nov 20, 2005
Photo of aquatonex
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very nice Kolsch...

Got a 6-pack coz I needed some brew while at my gf's little sister's sweet 16. Gotta have a buzz to deal with a dozen teenage girls...oy!

Pours a nice pale golden with a light frothy head, good retention, not much lacing but good bubbles throughout travelling up from the bottom of the glass. Nose is decent, light citrus and hops. Taste follows with a bubbly smooth start growing into a moderate hoppiness and ending with subtle hints of citrus. Pretty decent overall.

aquatonex, Sep 19, 2005
Photo of EPseja
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at fridge temperature in a pint glass.

A - Pours an almost-clear sunny golden color atop which rests a white, inch thick meringue-like head. Excellent lacing. Very active carbonation in the glass. This is what domestic lagers could (and should strive to) look like if the time was taken and the ingredients were of good quality.

S - Fresh, lightly roasted grains with a citrusy-bitter hoppiness. Very clean and straightforward.

T - Medium bodied malt and sweetness off the bat, turning green-grainier and hoppier in the middle. Alcohol is evident at this point as is a whisper of citrus. Finish is slightly woody and mildly drying from the hops, but very clean. This is a summer beer that's not afraid of showing some character other than "refreshing".

M - Begins with a watery, jagged, assertive carbonation that immediately steps back, becoming creamier and lighter, but leaving a nice tingle on the tongue after the swallow.

D - This is a very drinkable summer beer that is a much better alternative to all of the other watery, weak-bodied and weak-spirited summer ales that every brewery seems compelled to create.

EPseja, Aug 30, 2005
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is always a sure-fire safe bet. Odd characteristics for this style, it’s almost as if the lemon zest was added after the beer complete. However, I do enjoy this beer; its drinkability is very high, mainly because it is so light. As are most summer brews, a little uninspired but good. Summer brews are much better on tap.

FLAbeergutinMASS, Aug 20, 2005
Photo of beermanbrian
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Golden color with a thin white head. Nice steady flow of carbonation helps to maintain the thin coating of head on top. Light earthy/bread malt smell and taste. Don't get much else from this beer. It's an ok summer beer but just dosn't have that WOW effect. Can't say that i'd recomend it, but also wouldn't say that it's bad.

beermanbrian, Aug 15, 2005
Photo of Xadoor
4.03/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a chance to try this during a recent trip to Boston. Poured a clear, golden-yellow into the glass with a big, frothy head. Very light aroma with slight lemon and grassy flavours. Mouthfeel is light but crisp and refreshing. A good drinkable beer on a hot summer day.

Xadoor, Aug 04, 2005
Photo of putnam
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Gold with a smudge of orange. Suspiciously even blanket of white becomes translucent in a hurry. Cookie dough aromas. The drink is thoroughly dry as firm bitter resins constrain peach and tangerine marmelade fruit flavors. Peanut-shaped marshmallows flavors lurk within. Full, creamy texture is what I expect from American "Kölsch." There are brief episodes when I think this beer is a successfully crafted light ale. I am happy to forgive the inappropriate use of the term denoting the classic Cologne beer style. But then it seems to lose focus, offering an unintigrated if balanced mix of sweet and bitter. Nothing compels one drink after another.

putnam, Aug 01, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.22/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Minutely dusted bright gold. The pearl colored cap is creamyfirm with a gently rocky, lunar landscape surface. Portions of the head maintain sticky contact with the glass, but the lace itself is too thin and melty to result in much eye candy. Regardless, the beer and the foam atop it look splendid.

Summer Beer smells like an all-malt lager. On second thought, there's a gently spicy, musky hoppiness that pulls it up a notch. While not as hoppy or as bracing as a good pilsener, it's more than fine for a kolsch.

The beer is more flavorful than the nose suggested and is much more hoppy to boot. Now it definitely reminds me of a good pils. The noble hops are pungent, grassy and spicy, which leads to a clean crispness on the finish that is enjoyable. This is no weak-kneed, drink and forget summer seasonal. Not even close.

There's also a very nice flavor contribution from untoasted grain, especially on the finish. The beer is much more dry than malty sweet. I used the word 'bracing' earlier and that adjective keeps coming back to me as I sip. Summer Beer is lip smackingly, tongue rufflingly, puss puckeringly... bracing.

A lemon zestiness appears on the surprisingly long finish, a development that I applaud wholeheartedly. The body/mouthfeel is a smidgen short of medium and the carbonation is as spunky as the flavor. Both of those attributes are exactly where they ought to be. Less or more of either would make for a lesser beer.

It should be fairly obvious by now that I'm both surprised and delighted by this summer seasonal from Harpoon. It has loads of personality, is bursting with flavor and is as dry and as hoppy a kolsch as I've ever tasted. This one is a winner.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 01, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Either I was on crack when I wrote my last comments on this beer or Harpoon greatly improved their recipe since then. I rather enjoyed this beer. It makes for a very good Kolsch. I still beleive that the beer is a bit overly 'fizzy' in carbonation and too prickly on the toung. A less-than-firm body is the only hinderence from making this beer a +4 for me. Perhapse a bit more citrusy (lemon / lemon rind) than the style calls for, but I liked this characteristic.

I usually expect more from Harpoon. This beer looks light to medium straw colored and highly carbonated. Smells lightly malty with earthy, grassy notes. A bit sour and bitter smelling. Perhaps a bit grainy and astringent. Tastes more malty than aroma. Still persists with yeastiness and graininess. Hops are a bit out of balance, but I believe that it makes this beer better. Vegital as the body weakens and into the finish. Bitterness lingers a little too long. This is out of style for a Kolsch and too astringent for a Golden Ale.

BEERchitect, Jul 29, 2005
Photo of watermelonman
3.6/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured to a decent gold color with a small head that didn't leave much lace. The smell is mild and contains a fair amount of lemon. The taste is slightly sweet up front while hops set in later. Drinkability is high.

The finish doesn't seem to fit quite right, but it doesn't take too much away from this very reasonable summer choice.

watermelonman, Jul 26, 2005
Photo of TinusTime
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice bright clear straw colour with a fluffy white head. Aroma is light mainly of citrus with a little spiceness and fruitiness. Taste is light graininess with just a bit of hop bite at the back. The citrus notes are slight and not nearly as prominent as they were in the aroma. Mouthfeel is crisp and clean. Very easy to drink. Overall while the flavour is not that bold or complex it is an easy drinking summer beer perfect for hot weather.

TinusTime, Jul 18, 2005
Photo of clemtig76
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 05/17/05. Pours a beautiful clear golden yellow with a thin head that dissipated quickly. Minimal lacing. Very pleasant, yeasty aroma with nice floral and citrus overtones. Light bodied with a clean, crisp and refreshing taste. A good beer to have handy on a hot Carolina day.

clemtig76, Jul 13, 2005
Photo of silver0rlead
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, straw colored yellow with a thin white head that dissapates quickly. Aroma is all malt, with scents of wheat and fresh grains and a hint of fruity ale esters. Taste is mix of wheat, grains and a bit of lemon, pretty simple but refreshing. Mouthfeel is crisp, carbonation is high as is drinkability. Refreshing summertime beer, very drinkable and tasty enough to satisfy a mirco junkie.

silver0rlead, Jul 11, 2005
Photo of Luigi
3.6/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden color with a good amount of carbonation bubbles. Nice white lace for a head. Smells slighty sweet and fruity with a light grain and lemon zest.
The taste is crisp, clean, and light bodied. A hop bitterness hits the tounge at first but is followed by a clean grain. Zesty dry aftertaste. No in your face flavors, just a clean lightness that is great for the summer heat. A perfect summer time beer that pairs well with any grilled meat.

Luigi, Jul 05, 2005
Photo of Boilermaker88
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle I lugged out from Boston. Harpoon's kolsch-style ale had a clear yellow color, pretty vigorous carbonation, and a frothy white head that quickly petered out to a thin ring, leaving no lace.
The nose was appealing enough, consisting of grainy malt and crushed wheat aromas melded to the notes of light lemony citrus. A couple pulls and I noticed this seemed more full-bodied than the typical light-and-Sahara-dry kolsch. Almost came off as an American wheat beer vice a kolsch. Anyway, the wheat-laden grain flavor was fully in charge initially and through mid-palate. Then the tangy, lemony citrus bite from the hops kicked into gear to balance things out. The feel was crisply, drily refreshing.
Overall, a nice refreshing brew to enjoy out by the pool on a warm Independence Day. Not something I'd buy in bulk but a suitable brew given the time of year.

Boilermaker88, Jul 04, 2005
Photo of kaszeta
2.98/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

First of all, anyone know what's up with Harpoon and their beer names? They seem to go out of the way to not call this beer a Kölsch, instead calling it a "Summer Beer in the Kölsch style." I've seen similar waffling with their "Munich-style dark beer" which mentions in the fine print that it is a "Dunkel." Anyone know?

Anyhow... had this one on tap at the Windsor, VT brewery. First thing I noticed is that they've taken to serving their beer in type-specific glassware, so my Kölsch was actually poured in a Kölsch glass. Nice touch. Usually I have to be at home to have this sort of service. The beer pours with a nice crisp, clear, very light straw color and a frothy white head that quickly disperses. Certainly has the look of a Kölsch down pat. It also has a reasonable Kölsch aroma: fruity, with a bit of spice and yeast. No real banana or bubblegum, so they didn't overdo the warm fermentation.

Taste-wise, I was a little disappointed. It's got a reasonable malty flavor, and is decently hopped, but its weak overall, bordering on watery. I'd like a little more of the fruity flavor and bite from the aroma, but they just aren't there. Not bad, just a little weak. Similarly, the mouthfeel is lacking. It's not sweet, it's not tannic, it's just not there.

On the flip side, this isn't swill, it's at least true to the Kölsch style, just a little disappointing. It's definitely drinkable, and good for a hot day in the sun. And, quite frankly, most US brewers have a hard time with Kölsch, so maybe I can't blame them.

kaszeta, Jul 04, 2005
Photo of ncbrewerbun
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours into my pint glass a clear, bright, pale straw color with a clean white head that quickly faded. A good looking pint (well, 12 oz.) of beer.

A refreshing aroma greeted me -- fruity and a little spicey. I got a hint of bubblegum, too.

A smooth and refreshing beer. A slight malt hit up front balanced nicely by noble hops. Nicely attenuated to finish on the dry side.

Not a lot to rave about, but very little to dislike. I thought it was an enjoyable summer beer, especially on the 94 degree day that I tried it.

ncbrewerbun, Jul 01, 2005
Photo of silenius
4.15/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

All around solid summer drinker. One of the best "Summer" beers I've had. Pours a clear pale yellow with a moderate white head that leaves only a little lace.

The smell on this beer reminds me of a NZ Sauvignon Blanc. Mineral and slightly floral with some bittering on the end. Appetizing!

Hits the tongue with a malty sweetness balanced by a mineral dryness. Great taste in the heat (90 deg on the porch today). Leaves with a nice dryness and a snap of hop bittering. Quenching!

Carbonation levels and mouthfeel are darn near perfect for this one.

Highly drinkable in the heat!

silenius, Jun 29, 2005
Photo of JackStraw22
3.1/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Crystal clear light golden color. Good fluffy head, lots of bubbles feeding it. Nice lacing too. A little bit of spicy hops in the nose, but pretty one demensional aroma wise. Hmm, nothing in the taste. A little bit of hops, a little malt, but really bland. Not bad tasting, it's certainly refreshing. Good for a BBQ, and it quenches your thirst, but that's about it.

JackStraw22, Jun 28, 2005
Harpoon Summer Beer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
80 out of 100 based on 937 ratings.