Season's Drinking: 10 Great Beers for Summer
All photos by Susannah Skiver Barton
At long last, here comes sweet, sweet summertime. To you, that might mean grilling out, lying on a beach, or just sitting on your fire escape listening to the Mr. Softee truck. But whatever you decide do, be sure to grab a cold one this outdoor drinking season. Here are 10 great beers for summer.
Tröegs Sunshine Pils (4.5 percent alcohol by volume) Pilsner is typically a solid warm-weather choice, and this delight from Tröegs is no exception. With high carbonation and a quiet hop kick, this pils refreshes thanks to a pleasing acidic bite of citrus flavors and grassiness counteracting the base of bready malt. It finishes on a dry note that leaves you wanting more -- which, happily, won't be a problem, thanks to this beer's low ABV.
Left Hand Brewing Co. Good Juju (4.5 percent alcohol by volume) Another sessionable choice, this ale is brewed with organic ginger to create a spicy, not sweet, refreshment. Light bodied with tight carbonation, Good Juju rests on a solid malt base with crisp grassy flavors and a lingering bite of ginger on the dry finish. If you're looking for a pick-me-up on a hot day, this would perk your palate back to life.
Shipyard Summer Ale (4.8 percent alcohol by volume) True to its Maine roots, this beer smells and tastes like summer by the sea. Malty bread and yeast mingle with crisp hops, fading to a lingering sweetness on the finish with a touch of lemon. Pair it with a lobster roll or some fresh clams, or take it on your next fishing trip.
Two Roads Worker's Comp Saison (4.8 percent alcohol by volume) Fans of saison will want to seek out this intensely fruity brew that includes barley, wheat, oat, and rye malt. Notes of banana bread and bubblegum play well with a slight sourness. With sparkly carbonation and a lightly creamy mouthfeel, this brew finishes with a lingering spiciness -- a superb balance of flavors for a slow-paced afternoon session.
Two Brothers Ebel's Weiss (4.9 percent alcohol by volume) This beer drinks a bit like a piña colada: orange, banana, pineapple, and mango mingle with floral perfume until notes of bread dough and fresh hops kick in. Cloudy and unfiltered, this Hefeweizen has very little bitterness and finishes with a clove kick that counteracts the fruity sweetness. Try it with something spicy and enjoy how the sweet and hot intermingle.
Anderson Valley Summer Solstice (5 percent alcohol by volume) The dark mahogany color belies this beer's notes of plums and light caramel. With a soft vanilla flavor reminiscent of creamsicles, weighty malt helps this ale finish clean with no cloying sweetness. Mix this into a boozy milkshake or float, or enjoy it on the side of a fruit pie à la mode.
Captain Lawrence Sunblock (5 percent alcohol by volume) This dry-hopped wheat ale yields sweet fruit flavors: apricots, peaches, oranges, and lemons. Herbaceous grassy notes and gentle yeast and spiciness round things out to a soft finish. Perfect with a fresh salad or ceviche, Sunblock also makes a great picnic beer for its easy drinkability.
Stevens Point Nude Beach Summer Wheat (5 percent alcohol by volume) With a nose of yeasty lemon-lime soda, bright citrus (tangerines, lemons) up front melts into crackery malt flavors with a lingering sweetness. Buttery bread notes mingle with floral hops and a hint of Smarties candy. Make this your breakfast beer or the first one of the day on the beach. You don't even have to be naked to enjoy it.
Victory Summer Love Ale (5.2 percent alcohol by volume) Earthy and yeasty, this seasonal favorite smells like dandelions and hay in a sun-drenched field. Tongue-tickling carbonation and a light body allow grain and grass flavors to shine, with floral, citrus hops in support. This is a perfect go-to beer for just about any summer activity, from baseball games to rooftop sunbathing.
Founders Rübaeus (5.7 percent alcohol by volume) The color, smell, and taste of raspberries reflect the fruit's addition throughout fermentation. Biscuity malt supports the sweet berry flavor; when combined with spritely carbonation, this ale tastes almost soda-like. Slight tartness serves as a reminder that this is, in fact, an alcoholic beverage, and the perfect one to experiment with beer-based sangria.
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