Harpoon Summer Beer | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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Harpoon Summer BeerHarpoon Summer Beer

Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Kölsch

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

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

Added by stirgy on 09-08-2001

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Reviews: 381 | Ratings: 1,046
Photo of mpedara429
3.19/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours our a very clear golden color with a little over a finger of white frothy head. Surprisingly good retention and lacing. Lacing draping down the glass.

S: Not grabbing too much here but some bready malt and yeast.

T: The nose is also prominent in the taste along with a slightly bitter earthy hop.

M: Light body with medium carbonation.

O: Surprised. I'm a tough critic of summer beers because they are usually lacking too much substance for me or are overpowered by citrus and fruit flavors. Not my thing. This is actually a beer I'd want to drink in the summer. Not necessarily bursting with flavor, but very light, crisp, and easy to drink.

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Photo of greenmtn1111
3.37/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a glass tulip.

Pale gold in color, lots of bubbles and a decent white frothy head. The body is semi-transparent. There’s a great deal maltiness up front as I smell it, with lemon peel and orange rind in the background. Taste is very similar to a classic pilsner, except for some more pronounced herbal and spicy qualities to the hops. Low bitterness, crackery malt on the tongue, dry grass, but flavours do not linger. The finish is fairly dry. Overall it’s not a bad thirst-quencher for the warmer months, but it doesn’t have any one quality that makes it stand out.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.11/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a golden straw color with a big billowy white head. The head has a moderate level of retention, slowly fading over time to leave patchy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is of biscuit with some notes of wheat and lemon mixed within. Along with these smells is some grain and a little bit of grass as well.

Taste – The taste begins with a very mild and smooth, dry cracker flavor. Upfront there is a little bit of lemon and a small amount of graininess. The graininess increase and is joined by some more bitter hop flavors of a grassy nature as well as more bitter lemon taste. In the end, any sweetness that was upfront is largely gone with a taste of crackery malt and some bitter grassy and lemon flavors left on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is average to a bit thick in terms of its creaminess and thickness (at least for a kolsch of 4.8%) with a carbonation level that is on the average to slightly lower side. A little thinner body and higher carbonation would have likely been better for the style; creating a more refreshing and session like feel that would match better the flavor profile.

Overall - Nothing too great here. It’s a little too bitter with a bit too much thickness for the style, which makes it not as refreshing as I would have hoped.

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Photo of hdf561
2.66/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Since it is summer time, I have been hitting the summer beers hard lately.

Got this beer in a make your own 6 pack at the local grocery store. The description of this beer on the bottle, already has me apprehensive...I usually do not think of German Kolsch as the typical style for a summer beer.

The smell is a little harsh, can smell some bitterness, hops

taste is similar to the smell bitter at first but the aftertaste diminishes to be surprisingly smooth.

Again I just don't think this style fits the "summer beer" style. I would have rated it higher if it wasn't trying to pass of a classic Kolsch as a summer beer.

This beer is average but fails in the summer beer category, there are simply just better summer beers out there.

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Photo of WunderLlama
3.6/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a pilsner

Clear bright golden yellow with a faint carbonation. Two finger foam cap quickly settled down to a thin layer of bubbles on top. Sparse lacings grasp to cling on to the glass.

Citrus notes dominate the nose.

Clean, crisp , refreshing. Eponymously named, this is a Summer beer.

Light,light- medium mouthfeel.

A very good summer beer that I would pack in the cooler heading to the beach, golf course, etc. Good beer.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.79/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on July 13, 2013.

It pours yellow with a fizzy white head like a good Kolsch should. But the head does not last terribly long.

The aroma is both grainy and sweet but there is also the slightest lemongrass note in the background.

The body is light but also kind of creamy.

The taste has a decent upfront pale malt sweetness and not so much like the grains of a typical Kolsch. The sweetness is what surprises me the most and it results in an unique approach to the style.

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Photo of DeFaz
3.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a sizable and fluffy head. Some lacing lingers with a scent of bread, grain, and hops. A lot of people rave about the taste of this one, and my guess is that many of them are simply happy to find a "summer" beer without the typical flavors (fruit, wheat, yeast, etc.) and instead a beer with some dryness. Other than for the fact that it is a bit more thin than beers one might drink in the autumn months, there's nothing special here, and certainly nothing that makes me think this is an ideal beer to consume during warm summer months. Yes, it's "crisp" and on the lighter side, but it's just not that interesting. A decent example of a Kolsch and a decent summer beer--but not something I would consider purchasing again at $9.49/six pack.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear medium gold with a fizzy white head. No lace, but ok retention.

Grassy notes and some light malt. I wanted the grape vine thing here, and did not get it.

Light and crisp, with some light wheat, some herbal hop notes, some bread, some grassy bitterness, and a fairly clean finish. I actually am ok with this one for a hot day. Not super complex, and kinda falls out of style, but it still works.

Lighter bodied, well carbonated.

Overall, not bad. Doesn't hold a candle to any German Kolsch, and pales compared to many domestics as well, but it is about a drinkable brew, and not a label. I'd have this again.

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Photo of Act25
3.78/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. Yellow can into Kolsch glass .2L.

I have been searching for a light-alcohol, summer afternoon beer, and as a hop-head, I have found it with Harpoon Summer beer. Compares well with Ipswitch Summer Ale.

A: Pours clear golden yellow. Rocky large white fluffy head. Substantial amount of
carbonation can be seen. Head retention is moderate and the lacing is normal.
Very attractive PILS style beer.

S: Light, crisp, wheat, citrus, and sweet malts. Malt aroma is welcoming. Clean. Smells like Kolsch.

T: Light bodied. Crisp. Flavorful for a light summer beer! Wheat and sweet malts. Grains finish with a lovely hop bitterness. Plenty of, just the right amount of, HOPS!

F: Bracing, lemony, refreshing mouthfeel I could drink this all day. The finish is clean with the right hops tingle.
The citrus taste and feel is authentic, not an additive.

O: This is the best beer of the Kolsch or summer light beer style I have tasted from an American brewer. Totally lives up to Harpoon name. I'm going back for a case. This is a summer beer hop heads could enjoy. Sessionable!

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Photo of fx20736
4.08/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought a 12 pack from the Wegmans in Northborough, MA on 7/6/13 for $ 13.99.

poured from a 12 oz can into a glass tumbler, served cool (not cold)

Lemon yellow with a frothy white cap. Nice lacing.

aroma of pale malts with a light lemon zest.

mouthfeel is soft and silky.

taste; thick malt with a tang and a light touch of bitterness.

notes: just what the doctor ordered, light, refreshing, easy to drink, a perfect Summer beer.

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Photo of Premo88
3.38/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into craft beer glass (slightly wider stick)
enjoy by 9/15/13 printed on bottle

L: solid 1-inch head of pure white foam on top of crystal clear bright yellow beer; have to give it a good pour to get the head to pop, but if you do, you get some solid sticking off the head -- a nice lace pattern up top. does not lace much on the way down.

S: a grain bomb! sweet grains (barley, corn?, milo?) with a pinch of malty yeast/bread notes; lemons -- not super citrusy, just a watered-down lemon note

T: follows nose -- grain and malt presented in sweet, gentle package; a hint of spice from hops, but very subdued; more grain, spice bite when it's super cold, the brew opens up to some malty sweetness as it warms

F: light but good enough; holds its carbonation well despite the hard pour i gave this one.

O: another fine option among the summer seasonals. it's got plenty of taste and enough character to make it well worth working through a six-pack. it's definitely a good choice for beating the heat. i like some of my Texas kolsch options a bit better, but there's nothing wrong with this brew -- and if you can find it super fresh, my bet is you'll love it.

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Photo of CaptJackHarkness
3.71/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From twelve ounce bottle dated 08/15/2013.

Scent is slightly sweet and grapefruit-like. Poured bright yellow body, small very short-lasting white head. Spotty lacing on glass. Taste is citrus and wheat with a slight hop bite at the end. Crisp , refreshing, exactly as on the label; i.e. a summer beer!

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Photo of mnrider
3.67/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. Brown Bottle. Has Freshness date printed on bottle.

A: Pours clear golden yellow. Nice large white fluffy head. Substantial amount of
carbonation can be seen. Head retention is thin and the lacing is normal.

S: Light, crisp, wheat, citrus, and sweet malts. Really just normal.

T/M: Light bodied. Crisp. Wheat and sweet malts. Grains with a light hop bitterness.
Has a somewhat abrasive mouthfeel which I would consider unfaltering. The finish is
pretty clean with just a hint of a wheat aftertaste.

O: This light on taste summer beer is average, nothing special here. It does what is
needed of it on a hot day. I guess that's all you really need with this style of beer.


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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoy By 07/15/13

A: Pours a clear golden yellow color with 2 fingers of head that quickly dies down to a very thin cap

S: Bready malt, a light fruitiness, and a hint of wheat. Not much, but what's there is decent

T: Lightly fruity to start and then goes into the maltiness which is bready and wheaty. Again, not a lot going on here but it's still good

M: Light-medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: An easy drinking summer brew with just enough aroma and flavor to entice the taste buds on a hot summer day. Simplicity aside, it's still a good brew

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Photo of Andrew041180
3.79/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Poured a light golden color with two fingers worth of sticky looking head, which retained well and left a very light lacing throughout.

S - German Kolsch all the way. Not sure how to define the smell, but it is very typical of my limited experience with the style. Not a huge fan of it, but it was mild in this instance.

T - Surprisingly good! Again, my limited experience with the style has usually led to a skunky type flavor, but this was crisp and highly enjoyable. There was no long lasting finish, which I think was a nice feature.

M - Very nearly medium-bodied. I was expecting something far more watery. A pleasant surprise.

O - It was over 90 out when I got home from work and popped this one open. I was pleasantly surprised. The flavor, feel, and even appearance, which remained nicely carbonated all the way down were exactly what I needed. I only wish I had another one. Highly recommend!

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Photo of Groomsy
3.52/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams glass. "Enjoy by" date of 07/15/13.

This Kolsch pours a familiar but welcoming straw golden and is topped by a 2-finger head of tight white bubbles. Leaving some admirable lace down the bottom of the glass, a steady stream of bubbles from the bottom of the glass keeps this summer seasonal looking alive. A classic appearance on this beer.

Harpoon Summer Beer has an aroma that will remind many of German and Czech pilsners (which, stylistically, isn't too far off from a kolsch - classic ale vs. lager debate). With a malty foundation of fresh grain aromas and some bready/biscuit notes, this beer is rather mild but also has a nice grassy/floral hop presence - smells like Saaz or maybe some other Noble hops. Also a slight lemon presence to this one. Well-balanced and, well, summery.

The taste starts out with a smooth grainy malt presence, leading into some lemon on the middle and a dry, slightly bitter finish with grassy/floral hop flavors. There is also a bread/biscuit flavor that emerges in the aftertaste as the finish dries out. A simple, balanced summer beer. Quaffable and enjoyable.

Summer Beer has a dry finish with lingering flavors from both the hops and the malt. Its light body and crisp carbonation contribute to its enjoyability.

While not my favorite summer seasonal, this is most definitely enjoyable and drinkable. If you're generally a pilsner drinker during the summer months and need a more "ale-ly" counterpart, check out Harpoon Summer Beer.

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Photo of kshizzle101
3.61/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle to a pint glass

A - clear yellow-gold in color. 2 inch white head with good retention for this style.

S - grains, lemon, sweet malts, grassy

T - sweet malts, a grassy flavor, slight lemon hint, but not as much as the smell

M - light bodied, good carb. as it should be

Overall - lacks the taste that I would prefer from a beer like this. the notes are good, but need some punch behind them. I know that this beer should not be oozing with flavor, but you can do better than this. Still, not a bad beer, worth a go.

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Photo of socon67
3.54/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Golden pour with active foam and carbonation. Foam retention is solid.

S - Some smells of fresh biscuits, and hearty grains. Slight musky scent comes from the beer.

T - Dry finish, mild hop profile, and some earthy spice notes.

M - Dry feel, light body, and easily drinkable. Some carbonation.

O - Not my preference for a summer seasonal, but it is a pretty good representation of the style.

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Photo of smcolw
3.72/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Tasted at the Harpoon Brewery in Boston. I like that it was served in a traditional Kölsch glass.

Pretty yellow gold. The head is modest and settles quickly. It leaves ample string lace on the glass.

The smell is more hoppy than I expected. Very dry.

The taste mirrors the smell. Less soft and more astringent than a traditional Kölsch. Higher hop bitterness. Good body and carbonation.

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 8/19/2012. Pours a lightly cloudy golden straw color with a nice 1-2 finger fluffy white head with nice retention, that reduces to a good cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of pear, bread, lemon, cracker, herbal, grass, floral, light pepper, and earthy spiciness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance, but they are quite muted. Taste of lemon zest, pear, bread, cracker, herbal, floral, grass, light pepper, and earthy spiciness. Light spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of pear, lemon, bread, herbal, grass, and pepper on the finish for a short bit. Nice balance of flavors, with a good malt/hop balance; a touch watered down; zero cloying flavors after the finish as expected. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a nice kolsch. Nice flavor balance and very smooth to drink. A pleasantly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.02/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured chilled in ale glass

A: amazing carbonation; frantic head; beautiful dark yellow color--clear
S: almost nothing except a faint benign malt aroma
T: Very average-tasting kolsch; flavor is subdued, but a good balance between malt and hops; little bit of angry bite at the end of the swig

Overall a nondescript, benign beer

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Photo of chefhatt
3.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When i poured this beer, it has a golden color body with a small head that quickly dissapeared. The smell of lemon with some malt to it, not very strong though. The taste has a faint lemon taste upfront followed by a nice peppery flavor on the back of the tongue. The mouthfeel is very nice and smooth, not to overly carbonated, over all this is a average Kolsch, but a nice and easy drinking one.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for the tick, Chris.

A crystal clear light yellow with a dense, white head that falls off rather quickly. The nose is rather nondescript but entirely serviceable. Light doughy malt, mild lemony hops, maybe a touch of fruity yeast character? While all the right flavor notes are present, this just doesn't have the right combination. This is mirrored on the palate, where the same flavors but the same lack of definition is present, along with a faint buttery note. Light in body, crisply carbonated and dry and refreshing on the finish, this beer is nice, worthy even, but not all that it could be. Recommended.

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Photo of SouljaSaia17
3.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours a light, golden color with a 1/2 inch foamy white head. The appearance looks like an adjunct lager to me.

S: Smell gives off some lemon grass type notes on the top with a hint of honey and coriander on the back end.

T: Taste is a lot like the smell with lemon-grass at the front, with honey and coriander that follows.

M: Very light German Kolsch style beer, with lots of carbonation.

O: An enjoyable beer that is a make up of the German style Kolsch. More flavorful than a lot of summer beers I have had. Harpoon is something special out of Boston and comes out with a quality beer every time!

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Photo of Dools9
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Golden yellow, produced a finger of white head that receded after a few minutes to a skim, left some patchy lacing. Lots of visible carbonation.

S: Light lemon and grassy aromas mixed with some mild sweet crackey malt.

T: Bisciuty grainy pale malts, mild hop bitterness, a bit grassy and there's some light floral notes.

M: Light to medium bodied, crisp and refreshing. Goes down nicely in the sun.

O: Not a bad summer seasonal, very easy drinking and makes for a good beer to pair with hot weather and bbq.

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Harpoon Summer Beer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.57 out of 5 based on 1,046 ratings.
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