Just as March is stuck between seasons, the beer of the month, Summit’s Frost Line Rye, is a seasonal between seasonals. Offering spice and malt alongside an invigorating and energizing tease of citrus, Frost Line Rye befits a month when temperatures rise and the days lengthen but the snow still flies, the trees are still bare and, sadly, my camping gear remains stored and unused on most weekends. (If the weather is right, though, I’ll be cracking beers around a campfire.)
Though Summit recommends serving Frost Line Rye in a “stemmed tulip glass,” a good ol’ shaker pint glass will work just as well. The color is deep, copper-tinted amber, and a couple fingers of tight, light tan head will dissipate slowly and leave trails of lacing along the glass. Overall, the aroma is bready—at times reminding me of pumpernickel. The first whiff is a joyful and enticing blend of malts and spice: Aromas of chocolate, caramel, toffee and toasted malts create a solid foundation for a generous dose of spicy rye. Orange and grapefruit citrus slowly gain prominence and are welcome reminders that springtime pale ales and IPAs are just around the corner.
The flavor is delicious and true to Summit’s “‘between seasons’ seasonal” billing. While toasted malts, chocolate, toffee and caramel are noticeable, the namesake rye flavor takes center stage. It offers an assertive dose of spice and bitterness that pleases throughout each sip and continues in the aftertaste. The orange and grapefruit citrus flavors may not be bracing, but, coupled with a little pine resin, they give the beer a tasty West Coast-style zing.
- Serving temperature: Summit recommends serving Frost Line Rye at 44-48 °F.
- Alcohol content: 5.8 percent ABV.
- Food pairings: According to the Summit website, Frost Line Rye pairs well with spicier foods like “jerk chicken and pork, south Indian curry, [and] pepper jack cheese.”
- Where to buy: Summit brews are widely available around town and Frost Line Rye should be among the selection.
- Price: $7.50–$8 per six-pack.
Casey Wagner lives in Iowa City.