The Best Summer Beers

best summer beer Here I am, August 18th, just now talking about the best summer beers. Wouldn't you think I would have posted this say, in June? Such is life. Summer is made for BBQs with friends, parties at the pool, hot dogs and hamburgers, and an iced cold beer in hand. Some of these beers are old favorites and others are ones that I just discovered this year.

Stiegl Radler Brewery: Stieglbrauerei City: Salzburg, Austria Style: Fruit Beer ABV: 2.5% Why I chose it: Every summer I find myself buying Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. The mix of beer and lemonade is incredibly refreshing and delicious. This summer however, I stumbled upon something new while on one of our trips to Door County. For this beer, Stiegl uses their Goldbrau as the base and mixes it with grapefruit soda. It's the perfect balance of refreshing fruit soda and beer. Definitely a new summer must!

New Glarus Spotted Cow Brewery: New Glarus Brewing Company City: New Glarus, WI Style: Cream Ale ABV: 4.8% Why I chose it: New Glarus is brewed, bottled and sold solely in Wisconsin, making it somewhat of a hot commodity. With a line of seven year-round beers, ten seasonal beers, and a few specialty brews, there is a beer for everyone. As my family vacations often in Wisconsin, I have been able to enjoy this beer often and can absolutely call it one of my favorites.

Victory Summer Love Brewery: Victory Brewing Company City: Downington, PA Style: American Blonde Ale ABV: 5.2% Why I chose it: I came across this beer a few weeks ago while at getting brunch with friends at Old Oak Tap in Chicago's Ukrainian Village. At first I didn't know what to make of its flavors, but quickly grew to enjoy them. Filled with the familiar flavors of European hops, Summer Love pairs with German malts and ends with delightful lemon flavors.

Anchor Summer Beer Brewery: Anchor Brewing Company City: San Francisco, CA Style: American Pale Wheat Ale ABV: 4.6% Why I chose it: Anchor Brewing Company is one of my favorites. Heralding from San Francisco, the brewery offers an amazing bottle and logo design with the incredible depth of flavors in their beers. The Summer Beer is an all-malt craft beer in which the brewery uses wheat and filters out all of the yeast to create a clean crisp flavor, perfect for a hot summer day.

Samuel Adams Summer Ale Brewery: Boston Beer Company City: Jamaica Plain, MA Style: American Pale Wheat Ale ABV: 5.3% Why I chose it: When I think about summer beers, this is the first that comes to mind. Boston Beer Company makes this beer with malted wheat, lemon zest and grains of paradise which results in a thirst quenching, clean finishing beer.

New Belgium Summer Helles Brewery: New Belgium Brewing Company City: Fort Collins, Colo. Style: Dortmunder/Helles ABV: 5% Why I chose it: This is another beer that I feel upon this summer. While at the Door County Beer Festival in June, New Belgium had a booth with a number of their year-round and seasonal beers. The Summer Helles was first brewed to celebrate 40 years of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. This lager offers the sweetness of pale and German Pils malts and balances off with the light bitterness of Hallertau and Tettnang hops.

Lagunitas DayTime Fractional IPA Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Company City: Petaluma, CA Style: American IPA ABV: 4.65% Why I chose it: IPAs are perhaps my favorite style of beer right now, so it would be heinous for me to make a list of the best beers without including one. Lagunitas is known for their big hoppy flavorful beers, so this light IPA is a nice change of pace. Despite the light or sessionable category, the hops are still rather potent. The beer is fresh, crisp and clean, with a malty finish. This is a great lighter IPA option for  a summer day, when heavy bold IPAs may be a little too much.

Mojito Fruit Salad

Here is my view for this morning's post...

Door County

Weekend one is done - my sister and family are back home, my dad is back in Illinois for work and it is just the three amigos - my mom, brother and myself. (Until my grandma comes up for a few days that is.) I am grateful to be able to stay up the entire week. So often do we go on a quick weekend getaway and before you know it, the weekend is over and it is time to go back to work. It is going to be nice to have the chance to unwind and relax. With a pile of books and magazines, my typewriter in tow, and the lake a few hundred feet away, chances are it is going to be a great week.

My sister sent me this recipe via Pinterest the other week and I quickly pinned it to my food + beverages board. I have the tendency to pin like crazy but not always follow through on trying the recipes I find. Part of this may be I read a lot of cooking blogs and cookbooks and prefer pulling inspiration from those avenues. But when I saw this recipe, I knew it'd be a hit at our 4th of July party.

ingredients

Fruit salads are a summer classic. No matter what summer party you attend - there is sure to be a fruit salad sitting at the buffet. They've been done time and time again. Some may say not to touch a classic. My opinion? Turn the status quo upside down and make it your own. This salad is easy to make and refreshing on a hot summer day. It will last a few days in the refrigerator, but be sure to drain it of any juices that accumulate in the bowl.

mojitofruitsalad

The mint and lime juice in the salad add an extra kick of flavor to this dish that make to soar about the normal. My nieces were hesitant at first of the green stuff (the mint), but once tried it, couldn't stop devouring the berries.

Do you have any variations of a classic fruit salad that you love?

Mojito Fruit Salad Recipes from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients: 4 cups chopped watermelon 1 lb strawberries, chopped 6 oz raspberries 6 oz blueberries 1/4 cup packed mint, chopped (NOT 1/4 cup chopped mint) 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes) 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Add watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and mint in a large bowl.
  2. Stir together lime juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl then pour over fruit and berries.
  3. Gently toss with a spatula then let sit in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before serving to allow the natural juices in the fruit to start coming out.

 

Strawberry Lemonade

How am I just now realizing that I never wished you all a Happy 4th of July? Fail on my part... Anyhow, I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend with your family and friends. Mine was spent in my parent's backyard with a little bit of bags, an iced cold beer in hand, and burgers and beer brats cooking on the stove. A little music playing, my nieces running around the yard, not worrying about avoiding the throngs of people in the city - it was the perfect way to spend Independence Day! lemons

Sunday afternoon my mom and I decided to pull out the Vitamix and try making homemade strawberry lemonade. Please bear with my while I shamelessly plug Vitamix. After living in NYC for a year, I had developed an unhealthy love for juices and smoothies. Green juices. Berry smoothies. Coconut water. Almond milk. Anything and everything. I knew that I wanted to put my money into something worthwhile and decided to purchase a Vitamix. Unfortunately I am not longer in possession of this amazing blender - let's call it payment to my parents for allowing their adult son to live at home. This thing can do anything - smoothies, make flours, soups! I can do no wrong.

I just discovered Vitamix's newest blender, the S30. How can I get my hands on this guy to try out in my kitchen?

strawberries

When making the recipe I juiced 1 cup of lemon juice and it only came from about four lemons. I did a little adjusting and decided to use about a 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice. Depending on what your taste is, feel free to use as much or as little as you please. I grew up eating lemons. My sister and I would give our little brother lemons to eat as a baby and watch him make faces. It got to the point that none of us made faces when we ate lemons.

We didn't make this batch with vodka, but it'd be a great drink to make for a BBQ or summer party!

strawberry lemonade

s.lemonade

 What about you? Do you have any go-to drink recipes for the summer (alcoholic or nonalcoholic)?

Strawberry Lemonade Recipe from My Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar 1 cup of water 1 pint fresh strawberries 1 cup fresh lemon juice (I ended up using 1.5 cups) 4-6 cups cold water (this will vary depending on your taste, I only used 4 cups) 1 cup vodka (optional)

Directions:

  1. Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar with 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and heat until the sugar in completely dissolved; swirl the pan occasionally. Let cool.
  2. Once the simple syrup has cooled, puree strawberries in a blender with ½ cup water.
  3. In a large pitcher, combine strawberry puree, simple syrup and lemon juice. If using the vodka, add it to the pitcher and stir to combine.
  4. Add 4-6 cups of cold water. The amount of water you use will depend on your taste, so add as little or as much as you want to achieve your perfect sweet/tart balance.
  5. Serve over ice. If desired, garnish with fresh strawberries and lemon slices.