Five on Five: Light Ales

We reached out to brewers’ guild directors and asked for recommendations on light-colored ales (from a state other than the one they represent) that have tickled their fancy. Here’s what these proponents of craft beer reach for when they travel.

John Holl Jun 10, 2019 - 4 min read

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Funk Factory Geuzeria Meerts

J. Wilson, Executive Director of the Iowa Brewers Guild
“I realized that I don’t live close enough to Madison, Wisconsin, this summer when I had my first taste of Funk Factory Geuzeria’s Meerts. Historically noted as the second runnings of lambic, the little-produced style as brewed by Levi Funk is tart and lemony with notes of hay and wood. Funk does fruited iterations as well, but the straight version is where it’s at. Foeder-aged, this sessionable, 4 percent ABV beer is ultra-refreshing and packed with layers of character.”

Crooked Stave Keller Kölsch

Rob Fullmer, Executive Director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild
“It’s easy to get wrapped around the axle when faced with the daunting list of Brett and barrel-aged beers at the Crooked Stave Taproom (Denver, Colorado), so how about ordering a beer to have while you’re thinking about the beer you’re going to have? I often lead with their Keller Pils or more recently the Keller Kölsch. It’s unfiltered, softer, and a touch fruity sweet. It’s easy on the brain if you’re still focused on your next beer, but it’s complex enough to have two or three without regret.”

Chimay Tripel (White)

Sean Nordquist, Executive Director of the Florida Brewers Guild
“Few breweries are more iconic than Belgium’s Bières de Chimay, one of eleven Trappist breweries in the world. Chimay Tripel (White) is a standout of the style, bringing spice and orange peel to the nose and a full, smooth mouthfeel on the tongue. The higher alcohol is well hidden beneath a balance of softly sweet malt and mild hops bitterness.”

Three Floyds Gumballhead

Frances Michelle Lopez, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild
“Three Floyds Brewing Co. (Munster, Indiana) ticks a lot of boxes for beer lovers—from their aggressively hopped IPAs to their deeply luxurious imperial stouts. However, it is their pale wheat ale, Gumballhead, that’s the sleeper hit here. A medium-bodied ale bursting with citrus-forward Amarillo hops and great wheat structure in the mouthfeel, Gumballhead is the beer I give to anyone who makes the blanket statement that they ‘don’t like wheat beers.’”

New Glarus Spotted Cow

Justin Hemminger, Deputy Director of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association
“My wife and I go to Wisconsin every summer for vacation, and literally as soon as we cross the border, we get pints of Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company. If it hasn’t been declared the official state beer, it should be: a legendary cross between a cream ale and a saison, it’s light and crushable but bursting with flavor that pairs with the Badger State’s finest meats and cheeses. It’s everything I love about Wisconsin in a glass, and you can only get it there. Perfection.”

John Holl is the author of Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint, and has worked for both Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and All About Beer Magazine.