The weather is heating up and summer is rapidly approaching, so it’s time to start picking out the best beers to match this wonderful weather. Some of you might be afraid that all craft beers are heavy and not the best choice for being outdoors in the sun, and will turn to lighter mass-produced alternatives. We will discuss some lighter craft beer options and a few particular brands of each you should try next time you are looking to try something new!
Lagers & Pilsners
Lagers and pilsners are great options for most seasons, and summer is no different. With most variations having a biscuit-like, malt profile and a crisp clean finish, these are “go to” beers for many patrons. Lagers and pilsners are meant to be enjoyed at a temperature between 39-45 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can drink these beers nice and cold without worrying about the loss of taste…great for a summer day. Some brands to consider are Brooklyn Lager, Lefthand Polestar Pilsner, Gaffel Kolsch, Great Divide Nomad and New Belgium Shift Pale Lager (available in cans!). If you are looking for a local craft beer option, the Red Hare Long Day Lager is a perfect fit and is available in cans. My favorite lager at the moment is the Brooklyn Lager, and my favorite pilsner at the moment is North Coast Brewing’s Scrimshaw Pilsner. Try these out and see if you agree!
Pale ales are another great option when you are reaching for a summer beer. I’m sure many of you have tried a Sweetwater 420 or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, so you are familiar with the style. If you aren’t, pale ales generally have a nice balance between hops and malt. Some are more citrus-like or piney and carry a bit of bitterness, and others you will find to be a little more on the malt-like side and have the hops f or more of a balancing act rather than a main component of the flavor profile. There are a huge variety of beers in this category and some definitely find themselves on the heavier side, probably a little more so than you are looking for on a warmer day so be careful. If you want to stick with a lighter pale ale try and find one that has an ABV (alcohol content by volume) lower than 6 percent. Some brands to try: Great Divide Denver Pale Ale, Victory Brewing Headwaters Pale and 21st Amendment Bitter American, which is available in cans. For some local options, give Terrapin’s Rye Pale Ale or Wild Heaven’s Let There be Light a try. I have to admit, having gone to The University of Georgia in Athens, I am quite partial to Terrapin’s Rye Pale Ale – So if you haven’t tried that yet, you should give it a go!
Finally, we come to wheat beers in our short review of summer beers! As with pale ales, there is a large selection to choose from. Wheat beers are easy to drink, very refreshing, and typically don’t have flavors that will overwhelm your palate. Blue Moon is a great example of a summer wheat beer; it is wildly popular with its refreshing citrus-like flavor. It is hard to say no to a pint of Blue Moon adorned with a slice of orange on any day, much less a nice summer day. So to put a style to the name, Blue Moon is considered a Belgian-style Wheat beer. These typically have notes of orange peel, citrus, and coriander. If you like this particular style, try Avery White Rascal, Ommegang Witte, or my local favorite, Monday Night’s Fu Manbrew! If you are into more of a traditional German-style wheat beer that brings subtle notes of banana and clove you definitely need to try Weihenstephan Hefe-weiss, Konig Ludwig Weissbier or Lagunitas Brewing’s A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale. American blonde ales are a variation of a wheat ale that came along with the rising of the American Craft Beer scene. Blondes are a little lighter and have a clean mouth feel with a touch of malt sweetness. Try out Atlanta’s own Red Brick Brewing Blonde ale if you are in the mood to try one!
Let this brief guide be only the beginning to your craft beer adventures this summer. Unfortunately we were only able to scratch the surface of these beers here, and it is up to you to go out and try these for yourself and see what best fits you!
BY: Curtis Stockwell
OF THE BEER GROWLER