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While it’s beloved and consumed year-round, there’s something special about summer beer. From the ballpark to backyard cookout, to afternoons at the pool and vacations when there’s no need to wait for 5 o’clock, a pint pulled from an icy cooler is just going to taste better in warm weather.
Some would have you believe that these hot months call for the lightest of beers, the ones that are just a few blades of grass removed from water. But the truth is, summer, in all its complexity and iterations, can be a great time to drink just about any style of beer.
Lagers and pilsners are ubiquitous, obvious choices for refreshment. Usually lightly hopped, they can be spicy, a little sweet and crisp overall. Additionally, a Kölsch, cream ale or blonde ale will have vaguely fruity aromas and flavors that suit the season.
Hops have evolved over the years, and many varieties used in India pale ales impart aromas and flavors of tropical fruits like guava, mango and pineapple. Then, of course, there are fruited beers that have an effervescence and freshness in every sip—even some the ones that are barrel-aged.
Tart or sour ales are lively beach chair companions and easily pair with food, making them ideal for extra-long brunch sessions. Look to wheat beers for campfire hangs, and saisons for pre-and-post hammock nap nips.
Perhaps unexpectedly, darker beers like low-abv stouts, porters and brown ales are also great when the heat rises. The undertones of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and nuttiness lend well to just about everything that comes off the grill. Serve them ice cold for proper refreshment.
There is no wrong answer when it comes to beer in the summer, so pick a favorite or try something new and get out for some fun in the sun.
Here are ten suggestions from our blind review panels that are perfect for every summer experience.
10 Summer Beers to Try
Bale Breaker Nouveau Blanc; $15. Buy at Bale Breaker. This saison is brewed with Riesling juice, creating a hybrid beverage that celebrates the best of beer and wine… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Creature Comforts Athena Paradiso Berliner Weisse; $13/12oz 6 pack. Buy on Total Wine & More. There is an earthy, fruit flavor that emerges quickly in this deep-purple colored ale. It offers flavors of tart cherry juice… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Flounder Hill St. Honey; $20/16oz 4 pack. Buy at Flounder Brewing Company. This grain aroma forward blonde ale is both sweet and dry, with sprinkles of perceived crystalized sugar that keep the tastebuds active… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Genesee Cream Ale; $10/12oz 6 pack. Buy on Total Wine & More. Clear and light golden in color with a robust head, the taste is a mix of light corn and faint fruitiness, but overall clean and refreshing… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Great Lakes Brewing Edmund Fitzgerald Porter; $10/12oz 6 pack. Buy on Total Wine & More. The gold standard of American-brewed porters, the beauty of this beer is its simplicity. Named for the ship that met a tragic ending, this lovely ale…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Green Bench Postcard Pils; $11/12oz 6 pack. Buy on Total Wine & More. Some pilsners are light and airy, acing discernable flavors or aromas, meant as alcohol refreshment. Then there are pilsners like this one…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Industrial Arts Pocket Wrench; $15/16 oz 4 pack. Buy on Saucey. Pours a pale hazy straw yellow with a robust foam head that dissipates quickly and soon reveals a soft aroma of lemon and pineapple, guava, tangerine and passion fruit…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Live Oak Hefeweizen; $10/12oz 6 pack. Buy on Total Wine & More. Soft and bready with an easy drinking quality, this pale-yellow ale is on the clearer side of haze and strong on the clove phenolics…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Urban Chestnut Zwickel; $9/ 16oz 6 pack. Buy on Total Wine & More. “Pure” is a word that doesn’t get used too much in the beer space because it really denotes something perfect and can usually be quantified through science or faith. This beer reflects the word… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Von Trapp Kölsch; $10/12oz 6 pack. Buy on Total Wine & More. Golden with a slight haze, this is a full-bodied ale with a creamy body and lemony accents… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW