Burnt City Brewing - formerly Atlas Brewing -- arrived on the scene with a new name and new beers just prior to Chicago Craft Beer Week and now they are introducing a new summer beer - Retrofit Lime Radler.
I first tried this at The Barrel, a cool Chicago-craft-beer-only dive bar in the Pilsen neighborhood on Damen Ave. One sip of it and I was addicted. Retrofit Lime Radler features the juice of a Key Lime, which offers a super refreshing taste and terrific aroma. Lime Radler refrains from overpowering you with sweetness. It's nothing like a shandy, or even a fruit juice; it exudes very natural flavor and aroma. The beer almost reminds one, oh so slightly, of a sour beer due to the tartness of the Key Lime, but this a session ale (3.7% ABV), and it drinks like one. You can purchase it in cans - perfect for taking to the beach, picnic, softball game, or backyard shindig.
It almost seems fitting to drink this straight from the can while leaning on a chain link fence and talking to a neighbor. That's so Chicago. And the beer is canned in a place oozing with Chicago history - the old Jay's potato chip plant on the South Side.
During the summer, you can choose the Burnt City Brewing Retrofit Lime Radler, or any of the three flagships: Dick the Butcher pale ale, Face Melter hibiscus IPA, and Balloon Boy farmhouse wheat ale. Burnt City co-founder, John Saller, commented, “We typically make beers on the drier end, and we wanted this radler to follow suit,” Burnt City Co-Founding Brewer John Saller says. “We use real Key lime juice in the beer, which gives it a tart, light flavor—and almost a cinnamon or warm spice note in the background—while lowering the ABV to make this beer extremely sessionable.”
But wait, there's more! How 'bout a bar crawl to kick-off the summer?
"To celebrate the release, the public can join the Burnt City brewing team for the Radler Ramble, a bar crawl through Logan Square on Thursday, June 16." explained Lacey Griebeler and Chip Bouchard Vassil, of Wagstaff Worldwide. They added, "The event kicks off at Webster’s Wine Bar (2601 N. Milwaukee Ave.) at 8 p.m., continues to The Radler (2375 N. Milwaukee Ave.) at 9 p.m., and makes a last stop at Emporium (2363 N. Milwaukee Ave.) at 10 p.m. Each bar features Retrofit lime radler on tap or in cans, as well as a specially selected shot pairing to accompany the beer. No cover; drinks at cost."
“John and I want to kick off summer and celebrate the release of our beer the best way we know how: drinking with friends,” Burnt City Co-Founding Brewer Ben Saller says. “We both live in Logan Square, which has a bunch of great bars that feature Burnt City. The Radler Ramble will be a great opportunity to drink an awesome summer beer that pairs super well with spirits and finally enjoy the warm weather.”
You may have had lime in your beer before, but this is something a little different. The already-good session ale doesn't need the lime, it just so happens the Key Lime takes an already well crafted beer and makes it better. Summer sun and 90-degree weather will soon be upon us, so why not embrace the fruit that loves a good hot sun - the Key Lime. And there's no reason to think you can't embrace that tropical-love with a good beer.