Saranac Summer Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Summer AleSaranac Summer Ale

Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
Available in the 12 Beers of Summer sampler. Not to be confused with Saranac Summer Brew (a German Radler).

Added by WesWes on 04-14-2005

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Reviews: 195 | Ratings: 306
Photo of oriolesfan4
3.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought as part of the Saranac 12 Beers of Summer mix pack ($11.99/12)

One of the better offerings from the summer mixed pack but still doesn't compare to the other micros. Has a bit of a lemony and citrusy taste to make it 'summer' like, but overall its a beer that is lacking on body and overall taste. Would try again though.

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Photo of zeff80
3.03/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Poured out a golden, orange color. Highly carbonated with a fomay, white, three-finger head. It left no lacing.

S - It smelled of wheat and yeast. Also, a good dose of lemon.

T - It tasted of wheat and a strong lemon flavor. It had some hop kick, too.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A light-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good wheat beer. Has a nice hop character that some beers of this style usually lack.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.63/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a weizen glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of lemon, spices, wheat, light malts and a little bit of hops.

T: Flavors of lemon and caramelized malt start out with light flavors of wheat, spice and hops in the background. However, this one seems a little watered down and lacks the hearty wheat flavor that you typically get in this style. After-taste is fruity and a little sweet.

M: Crisp with a little smoothness, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: It goes down easily and isn’t very filling, a little tasty but I would consider it a stretch to call this beer mediocre. There are many others I would choose first in the style.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of the Saranac Beers of Summer Box - $13.48 at Sherlock's in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a hazed, bronze-esque body with a thin, scant, whitish head.

Smell: Malted wheat with a vague, ill-defined spiciness and a bit of honey and perhaps less than a bit of light caramel (though I may be unduly influenced by reading 'caramel coloring' on the label). Then, there's the lemon, which, sadly, has an artificial bent to it.

Taste: Wheat malt, along with some simple pale malted barley joins a medium sweetness and small hint of graham cracker crumbs. A small hint of honey as it warms. Then, in comes a lemony flavor akin to adding a spoonful of Crystal Light to the brew. A subtle spiciness and a hint of bitterness tries to cut through the lemon additive to no avail. Finishes crisp, the tongue popping with crackling carbonation. A bit more of the lemon flavoring lingers in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium-high, soda-like carbonation.

Drinkability: SSA reminds me a bit of Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat (minus the Fruity Pebbles kick, natch). One to pound after mowing the lawn, or pound while out at the lake with friends, or not drink at all. I think I know which option I'll go for. I see a few notations of people wanting to call this a witbier, but, come on, let's not be hasty. At the very best, it's like a weird, creepy distant cousin the rest of the proud Witbier Family never calls, doesn't accept FB friend requests from, or responds to requests to "borrow" money.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orangish amber with quite a few fine particulates swimming about and eventually slowing to a static haze. The yellowed bone cap is surprisingly creamy for what I expect to be a relatively light-bodied beer. Respectable cap persistence eventually gives way and results in a glass that isn't exactly covered in lace. A more than passable look.

The nose is exactly as advertised, never a sure thing when it comes to beer. It's softly wheaty with a fair amount of lemon zest and a sprinking of spice that is almost certainly coriander. For all intents and purposes, Summer Ale is a witbier that uses lemon peel instead of orange peel. Nothing wrong with that.

Yep, it tastes like a lemony wit. I think that I prefer the classic orange zest flavor, but then what I might be craving is simply a better beer. Not that this one is bad; I'd consider it to be comfortably above average. 'Comfortably above average' appears to be the glass ceiling for this particular brewery.

Actually, there's a good bit of flavor to be had. The wheat malt has something of a grainy quality, but there's enough citrus and spice to overcome it and to keep the beer drinkable and reasonably enjoyable. The Tettnang hops don't contribute much, either in terms of flavor or bitterness, until the finish. This one is growing on me as I drink and is a pretty decent version in the end.

The body/mouthfeel is appropriately light, although not overly so. I might even grant it light-medium status. Nothing wrong with the amount or the feel of the bubbles either. I'd say that the mouthfeel is well suited to the task at hand. It enhances rather than detracts from drinkability, which is all that one can ask for in a summer beer.

Summer Ale is one of the better offerings from The Matt Brewing Company. Of course, their lineup doesn't exactly stand out in my memory. I'm not sure why it's classfied as an APWA when, to my nose and palate at least, it's clearly a wit. Yet another addition to my growing list of refreshing, locally available 'lawnmower' brews.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.08/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was my fifth beer of the summer sampler, well sixth actually but I will review the Kolsch later..

A - Poured a very very clear amber color, with no head at all. None, no lace either, just a dull looking amber color liquid, some visible carbonation but nor much to look at really.

S - Aroma was very very very light Almost non existent. What was there was a light grain with a twist of lemon to it. Maybe some grass, but thats about it.

T - Macro lager with a twist of lime best describes it. It was a tiny tiny bit hoppy in the beginning but I really think that was just the lemon, or lime taste I picked up more of later. Light grain and maybe thats about it, ratehr blah.

M - Now the feel was very good actually. Very light and nicely carbonated went down very smoothly on a hot day. Crisp and very clean finish in the end.

D - very high. It was so light I could really drink this all day long. Awesome session beer.

Overall this could be a great beer to drink a ton of on a hot day, however if you are just sipping to enjoy it is lacking alot. It really was kinda bland for that purpose, but I will enjoy it when I mow the lawn agaon for sure.

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Photo of Jason
2.6/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle with no freshness date.

A- Thin off white lacing, pale copper hue. Clear but the head lacks a bit.

S- Iced herbal tea? Sweet maltiness in the back.

T- Soapy with a lackluster malt character, hops are minimal with some washed spice flavors from coriander and such.

M- Slick with a modest carbonation within a medium body.

D- I could barely down on bottle and I am certainly not going for a second. This is like a Belgian Wit gone wrong.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Finally almost done with the Saranac Summer pack. Jesus, it's taking me way the hell too long... Anyway, this one pours a clear pale golden straw topped by a half-finger of white foam. The nose comprises coriander, orange and lemon zests, and a good amount of wheat. The taste runs along a very similar course, but with more wheat and some sharp flowers thrown in. The fruitier notes are decidedly toned down, mere shadows of their nasal selves. The body is quite light, with a light moderate carbonation and a crisp, clean finish. Overall, an okay brew, but one that really doesn't endear itself to me. As mild as it is, I still can't see myself wanting to drink much more of this. Maybe it's too mild, I dunno.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.18/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I saw a 12-pack at The Foodery (N. Liberties) and being a CAN regular, I asked if they had singles available, so they broke one open for me and I bought three. It's a CANQuest (TM) thing ...

I am a retired sailor and I am doing three knots with this beer: 1) It's knot summer yet; 2) It's knot Noon yet and 3) I'm knot worried about the first two. There's an old joke about a salt on his 80th birthday and the young woman he procures to help him celebrate. She tells him: 1) You're knot in; 2) You're knot even erect; and 3) You're knot getting your money back! Brings a tear to my eye ...

From the CAN: "Beer brewed with natural flavors" (unlike Minhas, which is as unnatural as they come).

The Crack & Glug was yet another reminder as to why it is important to deCANt: not only did I get two fluffy fingers of bone-white head, but it looked like summer in a glass. Color was a beautiful sunshine yellow with NE-quality clarity. Couple that with the cloud-like head and you have a summer's day. I am a visual beer guy, I suppose. Nose had a metallic aspect to it. Uh oh. Fortunately, the smell did not translate to the taste. Mouthfeel was on the thin side and the flavor was big on lemon, which were probably the natural flavors alluded to earlier. It was a pretty mellow drink, as wheat beers are wont to be, finishing with a light zestiness, making it quite refreshing. I probably would not want more than one, but if I were accompanied by someone who really likes this sort of thing, it would be in my cooler.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.53/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appears a clear golden honey hue with a large amount of white head that dwindles quickly, lacing is scant and thin. Aroma tart lemon peel with spiciness and thick grainy edges. Flavor is a bit rough on the back of the throat with that cereal graininess and lemon zest flow, thick spices left on the palate in the finish. Mouthfeel is light bodied carbonation is heavy to point of it gives you trouble when going to swallow. Drinkability is not so great I'd much rather have a nice golden ale rather than lemon flavor and strong spices added. Those two aspects take away from the drinkability factor.

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Photo of stakem
3.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Brown bottle with no indication of freshness poured into a weizen glass. Appears a light yellow color with a bit of haze from a pour that included a few drips of sediment from the bottom of the bottle. Less than a finger of white head appears and doesn't hang around long. Light bready and caramel aroma with plenty of lemon zest and spice almost like cinnamon that carries over into the flavor. Taste includes caramel malt like sweetness blended with the seemingly fake lemony flavor and a slight touch of hop bitterness. There is an aftertaste of lemon and spice left lingering in the mouth that doesn't really blend all that well with the caramel like sweetness from the malt. Light feel with a modest level of carbonation. This is another offering that would best be enjoyed after sweating it up in the heat and just drinking without savoring any flavor. This isn't something I would try again.

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Photo of tdm168
3/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottles poured into a pint glass.

Pours a golden straw color with a quarter inch of head that fades to a thin lacing. Smells grainy and mildly like straw, the hops are noticeable, but take a backseat here. Taste is very mild; wheat and hops, but the flavors are so mellow that neither offer much. The bottle says lemon, orange and spice, but I get a tiny hint of lemon in the finish and that's it. This beer is very carbonated and actually turns to foam in your mouth; incredibly light bodied.

This beer is mediocre at best.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear orange gold with a two finger white head that falls fairly slowly. Nose is like oranges. Flavor is way too tangy, unbalanced, and there seems to be a grassy end to it. Feel is like a bit of syrup almost. Decent carbonation, but what does it matter at this point. Overall, not really drinkable I'd say. Unbalanced and not even. Just isn't that good.

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Photo of jwc215
2.53/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours golden yellow with a thin white head that stays around. Minimal trailing lace sticks to the glass.

The smell is of wheat with underlying hints of lemon.

The taste is of wheat and lemon juice. Very slight hints of a flat spiciness that doesn't mesh very well. A bit soapy. Fairly crisp/dry finish.

It's light, a bit too slick. Something of a body for the style. Lemony wet cardboard lingers.

Don't know what they are trying to do here - goes towards a wit a some point, but the spice is too muted and yeast strain too weak. It just seems off - there are much better summer refreshers out there.

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Photo of Gavage
3.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Crystal clear yellow in color with a short 1/4" white head. No lacing develops. Decent carbonation levels. The aroma was of light citrus. The flavor was slightly unbalanced as lemon overpowered the malt and wheat. The bitterness was very mild. Hints of pepper and ginger were also detectable.

Mouthfeel was crisp, and finishes dry with the lemon and pepper lingering briefly on the tongue. Very average summer brew, as the lemon citrus was too overwhelming.

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Photo of tone77
3.72/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to woodychandler for yet another canned beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a golden color with a 1 inch head. Smell is sweet, malts and grains. Taste is crisp, some citrus and grains, a bit on the sweet side. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an easy drinking summer beer.

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Photo of WesWes
3.75/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a light pale wheat malt scent that is riddled with lemony zest and a touch of caramel malt. The taste is decent. It has a very dry wheat malt flavor with loads of lemon and a bit of caramel malt to balance the flavor. It's a nice warm weather beer. I like the use of crystal malts to add a malty aftertaste. The mouthfeel is fine. It's a low/medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a good summer seasonal. It's not your typical wheat beer for sure, but it drinks well.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Figuring that I already had the amber wheat, maybe having the pale version as well would be interesting to compare. On to the beer:

Clean bodied pale orangish gold color, the body seems "still". The head retention is adequante, and it leaves a little lacing. The aroma is like being near a lemon tree; lemon peel and lemonheads in the nose, though it should be noted the intensity isn't very high. Call it decent for a beer.

Leinenkuegel's had say in making this beer, but that famous "fruity pebbles" note strikes in here, and is the leader of the flavors. Lemonheads come out secondary. I prefer this over being bland. Light and airy in the mouth, with a gentle snap of carbonation. The mouthfeel is identical to the one of the amber wheat, but if taste is what you're concerned about, go pale.

A somewhat decent summer ale. You can do better or worse.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into pint glass. Clear light amber in hue, a bit of head that dissipates to next to nothing. Leaves no lacing.

S. Smells of dark wheat. When agitated, I can pick up some citrus notes.

T. Some wheat, giving way to a lemony punch, a bit of grassy citrus hop, not half bad.

M. Light bodied and crisp, leaves a sour lemon aftertaste.

D. Quite drinkable, good for a hot summer day.

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Photo of plaid75
3.25/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light and slightly cloudy straw hue with a one finger foamy head. The retention and lacing were decent.

The smell was very subtle. Mild hints of lemon, wheat and spice.

The flavor was very subtle as well. Again, wheat, lemon and maybe coriander. A light hop floweriness. Could have been a bit more flavorful.

The mouthfeel was very light and clean. A nice wheat tingle at the finish.

Very light and crisp and very drinkable on a hot summer night.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.36/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle marked 1179-1118. Sampled on May 24, 2009.

A - An amber, rusty color with a smidge of off-white head and light lacing. Slightly cloudy but reasonable clarity.

S - The aroma is malted and citrus like. It has a freshness about it.

T/M - An average mouthfeel. Not too watered down but not very heeavy either. The taste is kind of fruity and malty.

It works well on a very hot day but beyond that it is really kind of average.

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Photo of Zorro
3.44/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Yet another Saranac beer, I really haven't been that impressed so far.

Looking at it through clear glass this is a near clear amber colored beer with a small white head.

The smell is a bit better. A little sweet smelling with wheat malt very strong floral and citrus aroma. Quite flowery and fruity it has some witbier scents.

The taste begins a little sweet but stoutly hopped and a little bitter. The taste doesn't develop that much a little citrus but mostly just good ale.

The mouthfeel is OK.

An OK beer but not one I will seek out, it just isn't remarkable.

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Photo of Halcyondays
2.81/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark gold with a small white head, good retention.

S: Mild Lemon Pledge, some malt.

T: Light lemon flavour (little artificial), hint of wheat, just very bland though inoffensive, but that's nothing to brag about.

M: Crisp and clean. Light-bodied but has a nice structure.

D: Drinkable, but I'm already bored halfway through. Simply needs more flavour.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.15/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A seethru auburn-tinted gold with a two-finger head that died instantly and left a minor lace ring. A somewhat odd smell of of cherries and caramel...I have no idea why that comes across my nose but that's what I'm picking up with some minor clove/pepper hints and citric hops. A dull, lifeless citric taste with a fluffy but empty medium body. Has some spiciness to it with a crisp backbite, but not really a great beer. Of the six beers in the Saranac Summer Sampler this one seems is missing something.

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Photo of weeare138
3.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appears a light, pale yellow with a small white head that quickly fades out into a mild cap. Gentle streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of mild lemon zest and light caramel.
Taste is of the same aromas. Nothing close to dazzling here.
Mouthfeel is crisp, lemony, bubbly, along with a dry, citrus finish.
I guess if there's nothing else around, this American Wheat can sub for a Corona, or a Miller Light but don't expect to wowed.

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Saranac Summer Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.13 out of 5 based on 306 ratings.
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