Summer is here and it’s time for some beer. Whether you’re at the beach, camping or grilling in the backyard, you’ll need a selection to keep things fresh and most importantly, refreshing. Since the onset of summer, we've taken the opportunity to delve into warm weather specialties like wheat beers, fruit beers and incredibly thirst-quenching sours. Let us help you try something different this beach season. Here are 25 beers we highly recommend you drink at the peak of the summer.
- 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.
- 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.
- Founders Brewing Company: Rübæus
After several years waiting, Founders finally brings this delicious raspberry wheat beer to their seasonal release lineup. Sweet and malty, and a lower ABV at just 5.8%. Get some!
- The Peekskill Brewery: Simple Sour
The Peekskill Brewery is located right on the Hudson River in Northern Westchester County. No doubt you’ll here more about them in the coming year but this is the summer beer if you’re in the NY area — a hop, skip and a jump (or quick train ride) outside the city. Its tartness is almost like a Berliner Weisse from the added brettanomyces, but it's not offensively funky. It’s just 4.5% and so refreshing!
- 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.
- Cigar City Brewing: Cucumber Saison
Cigar City is the king of warm weather beer. While you might just do with any of their lighter offerings, the Cucumber Saison is made with real cucumbers and is light, refreshing and revitalizing on a hot day.
- Perennial Artisan Ales: Peach Berliner Weisse
Perennial was one of the breakout star breweries of the last year, and their Peach Berliner Weisse, brewed with Midwestern peaches, is one you have to try. Its tartness works especially well with the all-natural peach flavor and at just 4.1% you can definitely have a few.
- Gueuzerie Tilquin: Oude Quetsche Tilquin à L'Ancienne
This is one of the newest producers of Gueuze (a blend of aged lambics) in Belgium but also one of the best. This special version of their traditional Gueuze is brewed with plums, which mix elegantly with the lemony tartness of the base brew.
- Almanac Beer Company: Farmers Reserve #3
Plenty examples of American Wild Ale look to a single fruit for flavoring, but Almanac’s Farmers Reserve #3 uses two. Brewed with local strawberries and baby nectarines and aged in wine barrels for a whole year, this is one of the year's best new sours — we hope they brew more!
- Maui Brewing Company: Lemongrass Saison
Hooray for collaborations, especially from two of the West's most enterprising breweries: Maui Brewing from Hawaii and Lost Abbey from San Marcos, CA. This delicious wheat Saison combines locally grown lemongrass along with Citra and Nelson Sauvin hops for an easy drinking experience.
- Cascade Brewing Company: Apricot
Hugely refreshing, even for the surprisingly high 8.5% ABV. This tart, oak-aged ale from Portland, OR is made with Northwestern apricots and takes over a year to brew (it’s worth the wait). If you haven’t tried sour beers yet, this is the one to seek out. Tip: though it’s hard to come by, you can order it directly from the brewery.
- Boulevard Brewing Company: Saison-Brett
Looking for something a bit funkier this summer? Boulevard has you covered with this limited version of their Tank 7 Saison, bottle-conditioned with brettanomyces yeast. It’s a big beer at 8.5%, but is full of tropical notes imparted from the yeast. Buy one to drink and one to put away for winter to see the flavors develop.
- Dogfish Head Brewery: Positive Contact
Part of the Dogfish Head Music Series, Positive Contact is a collaborative effort between Dogfish and hip-hop producing extraordinaire Dan the Automator of Deltron 3030. Made with Fuji apple cider, organic cilantro and dried cayenne pepper, this 9% brew falls somewhere between a cider and a beer. A malt bill of half-barley, half-wheat give this one of the most unique bodies around, especially when paired with food.
- Westbrook Brewing: Gose
Like Berliner Weisse a few years ago, Gose, a traditional German lower-ABV style, is on the rise. Westbrook’s might be the best American take on the style yet. It’s tart with coriander and a bit of salt, which makes for one of the most unique experiences you're likely to try this summer.
- Night Shift Brewing: Somer Weisse
This tiny brewery in Everett, MA is making big noise with their refreshing Weisse beers, which feature locally grown ingredients. A touch higher ABV than typical Berliner Weisse at 5.5%, it’s still very refreshing, tart and flavorful. The addition of lemongrass and ginger root makes this one go down easy.
- Goose Island Beer Company: Sofie Paradisi
Proving that creativity is still abounding at GI, this is a special version of Sofie, their Belgian Saison aged in wine barrels with Brettanomyces. Now it's infused with grapefruit! It’s only available on tap, so you’ll have to hunt it down, but the rewards are huge.
- Evil Twin Brewing: Bikini Beer
This itsy-bitsy 2.7% ABV IPA might be the most surprising thing you’ll try all summer. Light but extremely pleasing to the taste with tons of hops to make you think you’re drinking a mean IPA (though it’s a self-proclaimed sissy beer). Look for this in bottles and cans this summer.
- Hangar 24 Craft Brewery: Orange Wheat
The more I have from this brewery, the more I’m convinced they are one of the best in the country when it comes to using fruit in beer. A perfect balance of wheat and orange flavor — if you’re on the West Coast seek this out!
- 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.
- Karbach Brewing Company: Love Street Kölsch
Kölsch in a can from Texas = hot weather approved. One of the newest and best breweries in the Lone Star State, Karbach’s Kölsch will replace their Barn Burner Saison, and features lots of spicy hops and bready malts. Texans, meet your new summer favorite.
- Firestone Walker Brewing Company: Pivo Hoppy Pils
The brewers at Firestone Walker are experts at making some of the hoppiest beer around, but can also tone it down to a science when they need to make a more drinkable offering. This new take on a German Pilsner is clean, hoppy and refreshing — it would do well to satisfy hop-heads in search of an IPA alternative.
- Widmer Brothers Brewing Company: Citra Blonde
Blondes do have more fun, much to porter and stout’s chagrin. Look no further than Widmer’s Citra Blonde featuring the luscious citra hop for an easy drinking experience that’s big on citrusy hop flavor.
- Boston Beer Company: Samuel Adams Porch Rocker
Sam Adams puts out some great summer seasonals, but this is our pick because it’s unique: a German-style Radler, which mixes Helles beer with lemon. A touch tart and heavy on the carbonation, this refreshing beer is great for the heat.
- Blue Point Brewing: Blueberry Ale
A New York classic, one we return to every summer, Blue Point uses a ton of blueberries to make one of the crispest and most refreshing ales you’ll find. Though your friends might reach for a lager, this will surely show them the benefits of well-made fruit ale.
- Paulaner Brauerei: Hefe-Weissbier
If you want to go international, a great German hefeweizen is the way to go and Paulaner’s take on this classic German style is one of the best. It’s brewed strictly in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot, German purity law, so no funky business here; just natural, simple great-tasting wheat beer.
More beers to drink this summer on Food Republic: