Summertime and the living’s easy…as long as you have your hands on a few choice seasonal suds. If you haven’t had the pleasure of sipping on any of the following summer specialties, now’s the time to hit up your local grocer or brewpub. Nothing beats the heat like an ice cold craft brew and there’s a plethora of top-notch ales that only make their way to the shelves during these warmest months of the year.
The crisp and refreshing characteristics of a wheat beer make this style the prevalent choice of summer. And while so many varieties of this popular ale border on bland and unremarkable, 21st Amendment (563 2nd Street) in San Francisco produces an unexpectedly delicious version called Hell or High Watermelon. Boasting a session-worthy 4.9% ABV with just a subtle hint of fruit, this straw-colored sipper appeals to drinkers on either side of the gender divide. And the fact that it’s available in cans makes it a perfect companion for the beach cooler.
Down south it can get unbearably hot and humid. In Austin, Texas, for example, the thermometer can often soar into the triple digits. It’s a good thing that people can still keep it weird with Independence Brewing Company‘s Austin Amber. This 4.8% percenter is smooth and refreshing but still has a strong backbone of malt flavor that makes it well-suited to cooking up burgers and wings on the grill–an absolutely essential activity for this time of year. If you’re from this part of the country, you already know all about ‘em, but if you’re visiting anytime soon make sure to check out the wide assortment of satisfying ales, stouts and lagers from Austin’s favorite local brewery.
If you’re from the midwest, nothing compliments a laid back day on the lake like Three Floyds’ Gumballhead Pale Wheat Ale. Fusing divergent styles to bring added bitterness to an exceptionally light-bodied beer, Gumballhead evokes notes of peach and marmalade but counterbalances that sweetness with that familiar grapefruity finish that makes hop-heads go wild. Originally a seasonal summer release, it’s undeniable delectability soon mandated year-round availability.
For a more mainstream, widely-available product, check out Samuel Adams’ Summer Ale. This traditional American wheat utilizes lemon peel and rare African brewing spices, giving it a pleasant tropical aroma reminiscent of mangoes. On a hot summer day, it’s the perfect pint to wash down some fresh seafood, like boiled lobster or Dungeness crab. I’m going thirsty just thinking about it.