Lovin’ Cup Bistro in Henrietta has teamed up with regional distributors and local breweries to showcase specialty beers paired with hors d’oeuvres from their kitchen. Building on the success of their popular “12 Beers of Christmas” event held each December, “12 Beers of Summer” is their first foray into an event highlighting lighter seasonals.
My friends and I arrived early, so we were first in line to try some of the tasty beers available. It was a warm spring evening, so the event was held outside, which was nice. We kinda worked our way around the vendors counter-clockwise, starting with the delightful Lilac Wheat from Stoneyard Brewing in Brockport. The Great Oz Himself was there to pour and answer our questions. The Lilac Wheat was one of the first beers brewed by Stoneyard when they began in 2014, so it was appropriate to see it make a comeback this summer.
Next up, we sampled Liliko’i Kepolo, a Belgian-style witbier that was full of fruity aromas and sweet and sour citrus tastes. The idea for a witbier brewed with tropical flavors comes from Avery Brewing of Boulder, Colo. I sampled some Anderson Valley (Boonville, Calif.) Summer Solstice, which I’ve had before. It’s a little lighter than their Winter Solstice offering, but still full of sweet caramel malt notes. We finished with a sample of Oberon from Bell’s Brewery of Comstock, Mich. Oberon is an interesting wheat beer with some spicy notes and hop flavor.
Genesee Brewhouse brought out their crisp and refreshing North German Pilsner beer, which they have bottled and is available locally at many locations beyond the restaurant.
Empire Brewing Company of Syracuse was represented with their Skinny Atlas (a play on words on the name of a local resort town “Skaneateles”). This is a traditional Kolsch style beer, pale, hoppy, and refreshing. California’s craft beer pioneer Sierra Nevada brought Otra Vez (Spanish for “Again”). This is a gose style beer brewed with the fruit of a prickly pear cactus, which brought interesting sweet flavors to an already complex beer.
Part of the UFO (UnFiltered Offering) series from Harpoon Brewery of Massachusetts, the Big Squeeze Grapefruit Shandy combines nice citrus flavors with a witbier style ale. This is the second time we have mentioned “witbier” without explaining it. It’s a Belgian style that is cloudy in appearance because they are not filtered before packaging.
Local distillery Apple Country Spirits of Williamson brought their Rootstock Original cider, made from New York State apples. The flavors are clean and sweet, with low acidity and just enough carbonation.
Paying us a visit from Endicott, Southern Tier Brewing poured samples of their 3 Citrus Peel Out, which is a wheat ale that combines the complex flavors of blood orange, grapefruit, and tangerine peels. The citrus notes combine nicely with the hop flavor.
And then there was Rubaeus. From the Founders Brewery in Grand Rapids, Mich., Rubaeus is everything you want in a summer fruit beer. Brewed with more than 5,000 lbs. of real raspberries per batch, Rubaeus is just probably the most amazing thing you will put in your face this summer. Nine-packs of Rubaeus in cans (Known as the “Ruby Cube”) is widely available in stores around the area.
We wrapped up with our old friend Don who brought out some Radler from Boulevard Brewing. The lemon-ginger Radler is actually a malt beverage, but it is not cloyingly sweet like the Zima I know you were already thinking of. At 4%, Radler is enough to tip the scales without sending you overboard. The same company that owns Ommegang in Cooperstown also owns this rapidly growing Kansas City brewery.
A huge thanks to all of the beer reps who took the time to hang out with us and listen to us tell tipsy stories of boozy good times. Lovin’ Cup Bistro knows how to get people excited about beer, and I am anxious to stock my fridge with some new selections soon.