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Sixer: Tricked-out wheat beers

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Soft, lemony American wheat ale is the beer-soul of summer, but with practically every brewery bottling one right now, the same ol’ flavors can get boring by mid-June. Here are six spins on the wheat beer shaking up the shelves with unusual flavors.

Coney Island Tunnel of Love: Boisterous, breezy watermelon connects with light-handed tropical hops and rides a wheaty tang straight through this summer stunner. Catch it now, ‘cause like most summer romances, the beer will be gone by fall.

4 Hands Contact High: Orange zest and piney, citrusy American hops add oomph to this soft wheat, but don’t call it a fruit beer: The zest and hops turn the beer into a bitter bomb with a wonderful orange oiliness that joins with the wheat for a smooth swallow.

Lakewood Rock Ryder: This sessionable seasonal is a subtle example of just how much grains can do: Wheat adds its standard lemony softness, but an addition of rye adds a sharp, peppery spice that pulls the sweet start to a clean, crisp conclusion.

Milwaukee Litta Bitta: A wheat beer brewed just for hop-heads, this 6.5% ABV white IPA (an IPA brewed with a bit of wheat) is more than just a litta bitta: Sharp, piney hops storm through the wheat-softened mouthfeel to stake their bitter claim on the tongue.

Carson’s Red Dawn: This 5.5%-ABV amber wheat has the hops of a pale ale in the body of a wheat beer. Rich, caramel malt and that fluffy wheat join sweet forces to campaign against the hops’ citrusy bitterness.

Bayou Teche LA-31 Boucanèe: Rich, sweet and earthy, cherrywood-smoked wheat lends this 6%-ABV Louisiana brew a smoky-fruity flavor you have to taste to believe. It’s a natural match for whatever’s on your grill.

…and on tap…

New Belgium Juvenilia Wheat Beer: Venerable Chicago gastropub The Publican teamed up with New Belgium to craft this 4.9%-ABV, small-batch wheat beer starring Nelson Sauvin hops, lime zest, coriander and the brewery’s lactobacillus bacteria. It’s on tap for a limited time at the restaurant.


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