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.