The phrase “cool as a cucumber” isn’t just some meaningless cliche—the green gourds’ thick skin actually keeps its innards about 20 degrees colder than the air outside it. More than that, though, cuke flavor has a soothing, chill-out quality that makes it a favorite addition to ice water at your neighborhood spa. That same sensation can be employed to great effect in the right beer, so put a few slices over your eyes and pour a glass of one of these cucumber-based brews to keep the heat at bay.
Uinta Cucumber Farmhouse
A blend of fresh rye saison and a saison aged in gin barrels, this brew from Salt Lake City has a hushed aroma that blends bubblegummy sweetness, honeydew melon and dry cucumber skin. Pleasant, candylike cucumber transforms into pear syrup at the close of the sip, while lingering gin-like booziness seems hotter than the beer’s 6.2% ABV. Look for it through the end of July.
Cigar City Cucumber Saison
The climate in Cigar City’s hometown of Tampa, Florida, practically screams for the cooling quality of cucumber, and this 5% seasonal delivers it each summer. Cuke shavings combine in the nose with peppery saison phenols to produce something like a quick pickle; lime leaf, juniper berries and sweet pear further spice up the herbaceous blend. Citra and Sorachi Ace hops add notes of lemon and dill to the sweet cucumber that surges at the swallow and the peppercorns that linger long after; brisk carbonation and a dry finish add to the flavor’s refreshment.
Manayunk Belly Flop
With its bright, leafy, Greek-yogurt-like aroma, this Philadelphia-brewed “cucumber melon gose” would be a nice little side dish for Mediterranean food. On the tongue, sweetish and slightly artificial green apple drops in before cucumber, parsley, Greek yogurt and sour cream splash around. The brew’s clean, moderate tartness lingers long but doesn’t overpower the tongue or get abusive; the same can be said for the almost-not-there 4% ABV.
Mother’s Cucumber Saison
Cucumber and black peppercorn aromas combine in this ale from Missouri-based Mother’s Brewing Co.’s Backyard series of 16-ounce cans to give the impression of green peppers plugged in with notes of dill, lemon, sweet pear and sugary banana candies. The front of its flavor is all sweet cucumber and pears; the swallow introduces spicy phenols and lemon pith before a briny, peppery finish.
10 Barrel Cucumber Crush
Say what you will about this AB InBev subsidiary—with the release of this Berliner weisse in cans, they just may have created the most crushable beer of the summer. The aroma, stuffed with lemon and sweet cucumber concentrate, seems to have a cooling, menthol-like sensation. The flavor, too, is clean and refreshing, leading with clean and uncomplicated citrus and cukes before a flash of lactic acidity is doused by cucumber water, while the gourd’s invigorating peel is all that remains on the tongue after the sip. A medal-winner at the Great American Beer Festival in 2014 and 2015, Crush will be joined by more flavors, including raspberry and strawberry, later this summer.
Flat12 Cucumber Kölsch
Cold-fermented Kölsch is a perfect pairing for cucumber; in this version from Flat12 Bierwerks, the style’s soft fruitiness and clean white bread character provide the perfect base for very fresh, very wet sliced cucumber. Cans of this seasonal appear everywhere around the brewery’s Indianapolis headquarters each summer, but the sour, barrel-aged version called Pickle Barrel is much harder to find.