Summer Nights | Central Waters
Ah summer. For the majority of your early years, summer was the only time you were really able to cut loose and do what you want with as little responsibility as possible. Stay up late, go out late, eat late – all about staying up late and those summer nights spent doing whatever. Central Waters must like summer nights as well, as they attempt to capture this sentiment with their Summer Nights wheat beer.
The real question becomes – what would Summer Craig want in a summer beer, be it days, nights, or (ugh) morning? Focusing on the nights, something light and refreshing with a clean finish. Possibly a wisp of fruit for some added flavor and personality. Maybe a small hop addition for some character. Nothing too complicated – just easy to drink and flavorful. Central Waters for the most part agrees with Summer Craig, as they went with a wheat beer with some Citra hops.
And then added peach black tea. Not what Summer Craig wants from a beer called Summer Nights! Tea feels more like summer days maybe, or with winter? Maybe that’s my psyche working too much into this.
Summer Nights pours golden and clear. Some chill haze stuck around but after a while I could clearly see my finger on the other side. A finger of white head forms and persists for a bit, eventually reducing to a thin layer while you’re distracted watching Better Call Saul. It looks like what I think a wheat beer should look like. Appearance points!
Wheat beer aromas are usually nuanced but the addition of the citra hops and peach tea do add some distinct nose flavors. Unripened peach hits first and the biggest with some fresh, herbal tea notes supporting it. Digging a little deeper nets some vanilla notes, giving Summer Nights some definite peach rings candy vibe. While the peach and tea box out any big citrus aroma from the citra hops, a bit of grassy bitterness shows up at the very end of the sniff.
The peach notes from the peach black tea on the palate are perfect. A majority of the flavor still comes from the malt and the wheat, but a nice little wisp of peach weaves itself in throughout the sip. Unfortunately, as we’ve experienced with tea beers, the tea stops Summer Nights dead in its tracks instead of letting the beer ride out (like a good summer night should!). Some bitterness does creep in at the end aiding in Summer Night’s drinkability.
Due to the wheat, Summer Nights packs a nice, full bodied mouthfeel. I would go so far as to say a creamy mouthfeel that somewhat coats the tongue. But it doesn’t get to be too much. However, due to this mouthfeel, I would reach for Summer Nights in the spring or autumn (definitely spring!) as that mouthfeel kind of weighs you down a bit.
For a summer beer, I prefer something a bit more effervescent and really crushable; the Barb Attacks from Dutchbag comes immediately to mind. Could I drink a 4-pack of Summer Nights? Sure, but I’d be less enthused reaching for each subsequent can as opposed to crushing them. Nothing against the beer; it’s just my personal preference.
I think maybe not using peach black tea would’ve made me like Summer Nights a bit more. I’d like the finish to ride off into the sunset rather than stop as soon as the peach note hits. While some bitterness does protrude in the finish, it’s isolated and not really part of the whole flow of the beer. I do however love the amount of peach flavor I do get in Summer Nights – not too much so it overtakes the whole beer but enough to let you know it’s there. Those that love tea will love this beer (like my wife does). Those that have had bad experiences with tea beers should probably look for another wheat beer option.