Beer: Lemon Lush Brewery: Huss Brewing Co. Style: American Wheat Beer ABV: 5 percent
In the spring and summer months, seasonal beers brighten up. Just as the days get longer and sunnier, the dark, roasty brews that kept us warm during the winter fade to pale hues of amber and gold. Light, refreshing wheat beers -- and the fruit adjuncts brewers often choose to enhance them with -- become the flavors of the month.
Lemon Lush is the springtime offering from Huss Brewing Co. in Tempe, which is owned and operated by -- and named after -- husband-and-wife team Jeff and Leah Huss, a pair with a couple decades of craft beer experience under their belts. Jeff, whose nickname is "Ginger", and you can probably guess why, is a graduate of Chicago's Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology and was head brewer at BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse in Chandler for more than seven years. Leah graduated with a degree in culinary arts from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute and has been a managing partner at Papago Brewing Co. since 2001.
While Jeff does the brewing, it was Leah -- or Leah's grandmother, specifically -- who provided inspiration for Lemon Lush. The brew's based on a dessert made with lemon and toasted coconut she would often bake for her granddaughters. The beer is made with the same ingredients.
In a glass, the brew looks like a dandelion: a fluffy, cotton-like head of pure white on top; hazy gold blooming underneath. Notes of fruity wheat and the soft, sugary citrus character of a lemon bar topped with toasted coconut swirl in the aroma. Lemon is nigh unnoticeable in the flavor, however, appearing more in a powdered sugar form before a soft floral character and a blast of savory toasted coconut carry it through the finish. A medium-light body keeps the beer airy and chuggable while hyperactive carbon dioxide bubbles brighten the flavor and add a bitter snap. The added lemon and coconut flavors are subtle, but noticeable, and the soft touch with which they're inserted allows the beer to remain snappy and refreshing overall.
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Lemon Lush premiered in February and is available on draft at bars across the Valley. Go grab some while the weather calls for it.