To create this list for craft beer drinking over the holiday weekend we had to try out a lot of beers to see which ones made the very important cut. There are some sessionables, PLENTY of IPAs, some Belgians and that canned Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer we can't stop drinking (clearly). Why can't it be Thursday already. Wait, who says it has to be Thursday. OK!
1. The Bruery: Hottenroth
An expert in the art of sour beers, The Bruery has crafted a gem of this traditionally tart style from Germany. Hottenroth clocks in at just 3.1%, but what it lacks in forte it makes up with in taste. It's dry, tart and fruity, hints of green apple and lemon throughout, and newcomers to the style can enjoy how refreshing it is. Like all of the Bruery's beer, it only comes in 750ml, so it's a great reason to share one (or a few) with friends.
2. 21st Amendment Brewery: Hell or High Watermelon
Here's a beer that discerning craft beer-drinkers love to hate on, but on a hot day there really is nothing better. This wheat beer brewed with watermelons is your answer for a fun summer brew accessible even to the BMC (Bud-Miller-Coors) crowd.
3. Samuel Smith Old Brewery: Organic Apricot Ale
It’s hard to pick a favorite organic beer from this classic English brewery, but there’s really no better way to ring in summer than with a good fruit ale. A collaboration with All Saints Brewery, the ales are crafted from organic ingredients using manually operated equipment, and brought over to Samuel Smith’s to be blended with organic fruit juice. Apricot is the pick here, but you can’t go wrong with any of them. It’s sweet like apricot jam, just a touch tart and completely refreshing.
4. Bell’s Brewery: Oberon Ale
This classic Midwestern wheat ale has a ton of spicy Czech Saaz hops. It’s remarkably refreshing and goes down easy…and yes, you may serve it with a slice of orange, as per brewery tradition. Welcome in your Blue Moon replacement for the summer.
5. Dogfish Head: Festina Pêche
You might know Dogfish Head for their excellent IPAs or quirky Ancient Ales, but this excellent session ale is a fruit-forward take on Berliner Weissbier made with peach concentrate. At 4.5% ABV and only 8 IBUs, there's almost no bitterness. Lactic fermentation gives it a tart, almost green apple flavor that works perfectly with the peaches. Makes for a great thirst quencher on a hot day.
6. Allagash Brewing Company: Dubbel Ale
Allagash might be better known today for their many specialty versions of Belgian style ales like Curieux, Odyssey and Interlude, but they also have many excellent standard Belgian styles, too. A standout pairing with steak is their Dubbel Ale, which boasts a heavy malt profile with enough bready Belgian yeast, caramel and sugary fruitiness to balance things out nicely. At 7%, this Dubbel can pack a punch on its own. Enlist a great fatty steak to keep things on track.
7. Founders Brewing Company: All Day IPA
We singled out this sessionable IPA from Grand Rapids favorites for our Spring beers list. They've already increased distribution of All Day IPA bottles, but it’s worth repeating now that All Day comes in cans, too! You’d be hard-pressed to find an IPA that drinks easier than this — which at 4.7% you could really drink all day and probably all night, too. The taste is bitter but doesn’t overwhelm — hints of pine, citrus and spice make for one of the most enjoyable drinking experience you’ll have this summer.
8. Elysian Brewing Company: Super Fuzz (Blood Orange Pale)
This new American Pale Ale from Elysian is brewed with blood oranges, which makes for one of the most citrus-forward beers we’ve ever had. Though some fruit beers fall into the trap of artificial taste, there’s none of that here. Completely refreshing, this is one that screams summer.
9. Brewery Ommegang: Fleur de Houblon
Fleur de Houblon — French for "hop flowers" — is Ommegang’s summer ode to hops. Though it’s called a Belgian Ale, this one could easily satisfy discerning hop-heads' cravings for a beer that’s light enough for summer, though still 6.8% ABV.
10. Deschutes Brewery: Chainbreaker White IPA
Though it’s described as a White IPA, it’s really a wheat-based Belgian IPA. It’s especially good for fans of wheat beer, with hints of citrus, spice and some sweet malt. The blend of Cascade and Citra hops ensure this is still an IPA, but the wheat components make this one of the most drinkable examples of the style. At 5.6%, it doesn’t pack the aggressive punch of many Belgian IPA’s, so drink it cold while it's hot out.
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