Summer is almost here. The air is getting hotter, the shorts are getting shorter, and the pools are getting ready to open for business. Summer is a time for frivolity, but also heat waves and dry throats.
Other than sunscreen, nothing combats the burning sun better than beer. Having a crisp, cold beer in hand is a must during the summer days; whether you are lounging by the pool, mowing your lawn, or having a barbeque.
This is not to say that you should run out and stock your fridge with macro-brewed options like Budweiser and Coors. Instead, discover surprisingly complex and pleasant tastes from popular microbreweries.
The beer that gets advertised all the time on television might be the cheapest available, but the quality and taste of microbrews cannot be beat.
Here is a list of ten delicious beers perfect for keeping you cool in the hot sun!
- 21st Amendment: Hell or High Watermelon. This beer might come in a can, but don’t let that fool you. Cans are actually becoming very popular in the microbrew industry, and 21st Amendment is leading the way. Hell or High Watermelon is first brewed like a traditional American wheat beer, and then it goes through a second fermentation with real watermelon. The taste of wheat and watermelons is crisp and refreshing – literally summer in a can. And, like all 21st Amendment beers, the can features cool cartoonish artwork.
- Leinenkugel: Summer Shandy. Following the trend of taking regular beers and brewing them with real fruit, Summer Shandy is a wheat beer that is brewed with natural lemonade flavor. The hops and malts are kept to a minimum, allowing the light lemon flavor to take precedence. If you hopheads are worried that it will taste like a sickly sweet Mike’s Hard, you have nothing to fear. The taste is very light and refreshing; perfect for basking in the sun by the pool.
- Brooklyn Brewery: Summer Ale. Back in the 1800’s to the early 1900’s, breweries in England popularized a style of beer known as “Light Dinner Ales”. These pale ales were light and refreshing, earning them the nicknames “family dinner ales” and “luncheon ales”. Summer Ale is a modern take on this English style, though it definitely sets itself apart as something special. Bready, lightly bitter, and with hints of citrus and floral aromas, this beer goes great with summer dishes.
- Victory: Summer Love. This is a prime example of the American Blonde Ale: balanced hops and malts, light-bodied, and with a subdued fruit flavor. Summer Love is brewed with noble English hops and fresh German malts to create a well-rounded beer that tastes of lemons, grass, and summer. The bottle also comes wrapped in neat artwork depicting the city of Philadelphia (whose marketing and tourist center actually commissioned the beer).
- Left Hand: Polestar Pilsner. Though not specifically marketed as a “summer beer,” the Polestar Pilsner holds its own in the hot summer months next to pale ales and wheat beers. The style is a German Pilsner, which means that it is straw golden in color, well hopped, and has a bitter, spicy taste. Marketing for the beer states that this is the one true pilsner that will guide you out of the wilderness if you just keep your eyes skyward. That may sound a bit dramatic, but this beer has no problem quenching your thirst and guiding you through the long summer days.
- Anchor Brewing: Anchor Summer. Here is another example of the American-style filtered wheat beer. But don’t think this means it is just like the others. Two things help it stand apart from the wheat crowd. First, it claims to be the first American Wheat in modern times (first brewed in 1984 and bottled in 2002). Second, whereas some beers have “wheat” in their name, this one is brewed with a 50/50 split of malted barley and wheat, so you’ll definitely notice the wheat presence. With flavors ranging from dried grass to fresh baked biscuits and lemon cookies, this beer is certain to delight the palate.
- Magic Hat: Circus Boy. This beer is an Americanized version of the classic south German Hefeweizen style. This style is characterized by a cloudy appearance, a large amount of wheat and yeast, and flavors mostly reminiscent of bananas and cloves. Unfiltered and unfettered, Circus Boy sticks close to its origins, which results in a beer that is bitter enough to bite through the UV waves but crisp enough to refresh the body. Marketing for the beer states that no one knows where the Circus Boy comes from or who he is, only that he creates mischief wherever he goes. What more could you want for the summer?
- Deschutes: Twilight Summer Ale. The winner of multiple awards over the years, this Blonde Ale is a champion amongst its peers. The toasted malt foundation and spicy Amarillo hops create a perfect balance of flavor and complexity. Though it sits at only 5% ABV, the ale tastes much bigger and heavier, meaning that it will stay with you instead of running through you. As its name implies, Twilight Summer Ale is best enjoyed in the evening, sitting on the back porch and watching the sun sink into the west.
- Harpoon: Summer. For a little something different to imbibe in the summertime, Harpoon decided to go with a German-Kölsch style ale. This style, whose original version is now obscure, consists of a light pale body, a dry hoppy bitterness, and a somewhat wine-like flavor. Closer to a lager then an ale, the low alcohol content makes this a great session beer (meaning it is highly drinkable without getting you intoxicated). Light and refreshing, this beer is best when you’re thirsty from sweaty summertime activities.
- Southern Tier: Hop Sun. Though in appearance it seems ordinary, this American Pale Wheat Ale contains flattering characteristics that put it above average. After fermentation, a batch of fresh hop flowers is added to the mix, creating a kick in the taste buds that will leave you wanting more. Barley, wheat, and hops all intermingle in a balanced and crisp light-bodied beer. To borrow the words from Southern Tier, “summer never tasted so good”.
So there you have ten of the best summer beers on the market. All of these offerings are excellent in taste and high in drink-ability. Please drink responsibly, because these are going to be hard to put down.
And this list is by no means absolute. Though we have left out a bunch of the lesser beers, there are still plenty more that refresh and revive in the summer sun. Feel free to tell us your favorites in the comments below.