Everyone you know will be drinking wine beers this summer.
They’ll be drinking lagers, too — you’re not a woke beer drinker in 2018 if you don’t like craft lagers — but wine-beer hybrids will soon be everywhere, brewed by your favorite brands and as on-trend as last year’s rosé-all-day movement.
One thing to note on the construction of these brews is that “wine’’ is a bit of a misnomer. In most cases brewers are adding grapes or grape juice (rather than, say, boxed Pinot Grigio) into their tanks, allowing the sugars from the fruit (or juice) to ferment along with the beer. Blending is often involved, and the final product tastes decidedly more beer-y than wine-like, with subtle notes reminiscent of the latter.
Here are four wine beers you should try immediately.
Saison Rosé, Brewery Ommegang (7.7 percent ABV): This Cooperstown, N.Y., brewery’s new ale is a blend of saisons: one aged on oak, the other brewed with hibiscus flowers and co-fermented with Chardonnay grape juice. The resulting beer pours pink and smells like grapefruit, oak, and red berries, with the peppery kick you expect from a saison.
Mixed Media, Dogfish Head (7.5 percent ABV): The O.G. of wine beer makers, Dogfish has been brewing them since 1999’s release of Midas Touch, an ale made with Muscat grapes. The latest, Mixed Media, is as close to wine as a beer can legally get, fermented from 49 percent Viogner grape must from Alexandria Nicole Cellars in Washington. Brewed with a Belgian yeast, the beer smells of melon and white grapes and tastes a bit grassy.
Sauvignon Blanc Gose, Two Roads Brewing Co. (4.8 percent ABV): The latest edition of Two Roads’ Tanker Truck Sour Series is a twist on a German gose beer, traditionally brewed with salt and coriander. In this case Two Roads brewers ferment the beer, add Sauvignon Blanc grapes, then ferment it again, more gently, to preserve the minerality and fruitiness typically found in a glass of a New Zealand white. The result is a dry brew that’s a tad sour.
Dialed In Double IPA, Trillium Brewing Co. (8.5 percent ABV): Trillium makes several versions of Dialed In — one with Sauvignon Blanc juice, one with Pinot Gris, another with Chardonnay and Gewürztraminerl — whose tropical fruit notes play off the brightness of hops like Galaxy, El Dorado, and Nelson Sauvin. The beers are incredible when fresh; take a whiff of one three or four days after canning for the full sensory experience.