I like the motto of Atlanta’s Sweetwater
Brewing Company. “Don’t Float the Mainstream” they say. In other words,
don’t settle for your average, uninteresting, boring American Light Lager
the likes of Budweiser, Miller, or Coors. And I can understand that
sentiment. I share it. I think more beer drinkers should explore the
wide and wonderful world of beer. Look, you wouldn’t eat the same food every
time you sat down for a meal, so why drink the same beer every time you get
a hankering for a brew?
As much as I like the motto, however, floating the mainstream is exactly
what Sweetwater seems to have done with their latest offering, Sweetwater
Summer Hummer. Everybody loves a hummer, or so they say on the label.
And they are of course referring to a different kind of hummer, too (it’s a
euphemism for something I won’t go into here. Here’s how they describe the
beer on the label:
A crisp refreshing wheat ale to raise your summer spirits! Hints of
coriander and orange peel deliver tantalizing tones of citrus.
OK, so it’s supposed to be a Belgian style wheat ale, a Wit beer. These
brews contain a generous does of wheat in the mash to impart a very
refreshing crispness and drinkability. This makes them perfect for summer
Here in Georgia, the now-defunct Dogwood brewing Company made an excellent
Wit beer as their Summer Brew. I found it to be one of the better examples
made in the states. Those who would like to read about it for historical or
comparison purposes can do so by clicking
In any event, Sweetwater hopped right on the style for a summer brew of
their own this year. The results, unfortunately, are not as spectacular as I
had hoped. Because while Summer Hummer is a refreshing and very drinkable
ale that might be nice for the hot weather, it lacks the true subtleties and
finesse of the style.
Sweetwater Summer Hummer (now Sweetwater Hummer, and available
year-round) pours to a cloudy whitish yellow color with a thick foamy head
formation and a big yeasty nose. There are subtle hints of coriander to be
found in the nose as well.
In the palate, there’s a touch of malt but the wheat predominates with a
crackery, light bodied presence. This makes the beer very drinkable and it
is tart in the finish and refreshing. So what’s the problem then? For my
taste, the spicing is far too late.
To be sure, there is a touch of coriander here. And I get just the faintest
hint of citrus, too, from the orange peel. But not enough to make the beer
overly interesting. In truth, these spices should combine to give the beer
an almost blueberry like quality (at least that’s how my taste buds have
always perceived it). At the very least, they should be more perceptible
than they are here and serve to accent the wheat more than they do here.
This is not a bad beer, but it is not an exceptional one either. Perhaps the
weakest link in an otherwise strong line of brews.
And remember, try a new beer today, and
drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.