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The bottled beers you should try this season

MW’s beer guide for 2014

1664 Blanc

Style: Wheat Beer
Colour: Cloudy, Straw Yellow
Alcohol: 5%
Its Carlsberg parentage and chic cerulean packaging do half the work. But, let’s not be superficial. There’s a lot more depth to the French wheat beer Kronenbourg. Oh, who are we kidding! This one’s all about the lightness of being. From its champagne hue to its citrusy effervescence, there’s a celebratory air about the Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc. Like most wheat beers, it’s sweet to taste with a cloudy texture. For those of you wondering, the spice is coriander.

St Erhard
Style: Pilsner
Colour: Translucent Copper
Alcohol: 5%
Somewhat of a ‘hoptical’ illusion, St Erhard’s coppery tint often has it mistaken for an ale. It is all lager, though. It may be the new kid on the block — it was launched in 2011 by the eponymous start-up — but it has roots in the historic brewing town Bamberg, in Bavaria. In true Franconian ‘kellerbier’ (cellar beer, a type of unfiltered German beer) style, St Erhard appears partly cloudy with a spicy, albeit subtle, aroma. St Erhard’s take on the pilsner is easy on the palate. With a mildly hoppy flavour complemented by fruity accents, it is the ideal mate on a summer afternoon. The purist curves of the brand’s award-winning packaging is a bonus.

Spitfire Kentish Ale (England)
Style: Kentish Ale
Colour: Amber-Red
Alcohol: 4.5%
You know those nights you slip down the rabbit hole that is your inbox of ‘Dear Old Love’ exchanges? You’re better off trading them for a Spitfire Kentish Ale or two. It’ll leave you with the same bitter-sweet aftertaste (a better one, actually), and definitely longing for more. What starts out as a mellow malty flavour unexpectedly pops with the tanginess of berries and citrus fruit towards the back of the tongue, and eventually ends on a spicy note. Spitfire is brewed in England’s Kent county, a region that’s known as much for its hop gardens as for being a frontline during WWII. Its makers, brewery Shepherd Neame, named the ale in tribute to the Supermarine Spitfire, the British fighter aircraft that flew many a mission over the area.

Shepherd Neame’s India Pale Ale
Style: India Pale Ale
Colour: Deep Amber
Alcohol: 6.1%
The legend of the India Pale Ale goes back to colonial rule, when the British shipped beer to their troops in India. In order for the brew to survive the long journey, brewers added extra hops (a natural preservative). So came about the term IPA (India Pale Ale) that is now used to categorise beer varieties that employ the old English brewing process. The IPA is currently experiencing a global revival, especially in craft breweries in the USA, and Shepherd Neame’s is one of the better ones. Medium-bodied with just the right bite, it’s ideal if you’re looking to evolve from lagers to ales, in pursuit of hoppyness.

Style: Pilsner
Colour: Clear, Pale Golden
Alcohol: Up to 5%
You’re most likely to guzzle down a pint of Carlsberg without a second thought about colour, flavour and the like. Not because it lacks elements of note, but because it is synonymous with quality value-for-money beer. One among few foreign labels to be brewed in India, the all-malt Carlsberg beer is originally from Copenhagen, Denmark. Light-bodied yet crisp, equal parts sugar and spice, smooth with a grainy aftertaste, it is reputed for its subtle balance. It’s little wonder that we take it for granted.

Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel
Style: Dark Weissbier / Dark Wheat Beer
Colour: Dusky Brown
Alcohol: 5.3%
Another winner from Germany’s Bavarian region, the Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel is produced by Erdinger Weißbräu, one of the world’s oldest breweries. A full-bodied dark wheat beer, it picks its colour from roasted malt, which also infuses it with a caramel aroma. Although reminiscent of a stout, the Dunkel has a surprisingly light and silky mouthfeel. The burnt caramel flavour juxtaposed against the sweetness of wheat makes for a heady combination.

The beers were selected in consultation with The Pint Room and its owner, Pradeep Gidwani
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