It is not often that I am compelled to write a review of something that I don’t really like. I suppose it is an affect of such things being so easily dismissible as to not warrant comment. This will be an exception.

I must be clear, however, that it’s not that I dislike this so much as to be compelled to write about how it made me wretch—it’s really not terrible. It’s just that it’s not that good, either. I’m just in a mood to write and this is what is in my glass at the moment.

Harpoon Summer Beer
Appearance: rich, golden yellow with an immediately dissipating 1″ head leaving behind a thick, textured lace
Smell: grassy, light citrus flowers, delicately toasty
Taste: sweet, toasty malts and slightly over-the-top bittering hops dominating and, ultimately, undoing the long finish
Mouthfeel: fuller and creamier than expected with just enough fine carbonation to keep it from seeming flat
Drink-ability: meh—not light or refreshing enough to drink a couple after mowing the lawn. I’d prefer to drink a domestic macrobrew to cool off in a pinch.

Drunk once directly from 12 oz. aluminum can and a second time from a DAB pilsener glass.

I’m simply not feeling the Harpoon Summer Beer. Ostensibly a Kölsch, but lacking the clean balance typical to the style (though the Kölsch style is one of the most widely interpreted). Pleasantly toasty and slightly sweet malts make up the all-too-short front-palate. However, there is an overriding citrus-pith bitterness that is nearly as bracing as biting into that one bad pecan. And it lingers…forever. Sometimes bitter is just plain bitter—that is the case here. It is also just a bit too heavy/creamy for a Summer beer.

I am going to guess that it is the American obsession with over-hopping that brings this about. The problem is that with classic Bavarian bittering hops (which I assume are in use here, though the tech data on the Harpoon website does not say), that is a sticky wicket as they, typically, don’t have sufficient flavor character to support the bitterness. Don’t get me wrong, I love those hops when used judiciously. I wish Harpoon showed a bit more restraint with what should be a restrained style.

This beer is oh-so-close to being just right, but that one detail completely undoes it for me. Perhaps if I get them super-cold and drink them super-fast, I can get through the rest of the 12-pack.

13.5/25   54%   D