Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Beers

I am getting on the kick of making my list of what I like to have (or am having) during the summer.  The heat, humidity and yard work are all factors in the decision that needs to be made when it comes to beer.  You don't need to have a fruity foo-foo drink to enjoy the summer weather.

One of the best styles to have directly following yard work or any other outdoor physical activity is a nice crisp pilsner.  I love having a Sunshine Pils (Troegs).  This German Pilsner beats the thirst, while the light body of the beer doesn't weigh you down for the rest of the day. The hint of lemon and slight grassy taste are accompanied with a perfect amount of carbonation. Other Pilsners that I would recommend are: Victory Prima Pils, Stoudts Pils, Lagunitas Pils and, for the import crowd, Javer Pilsner.

Sometimes I like to keep the light body, but push the alcohol content to the roof with a Tripel. My favorite tripel is made by Selin's Grove Brewing, but unless you are close enough to grab a growler for home, you might never get it. So, go find what is on the back shelves at the beer store (many tripels are available in the winter, not so available in the summer).  The Bruery Trade Winds, River Horse Triple Horse and Unibroue La Fin du Monde are very good examples.  Be prepared for the 8-12% abv that comes along with the sweet nectar. You could, of course, go with any of the classic Trappist beers (Achel, Westmalle, or Chimay-my favorite) and be extremely happy.

If you don't like the pilsner and the tripel has too much heat, you could go with a nice "fruity" Saison (or Farmhouse ale).  The Saison of the Year (in my opinion) is the Stillwater Stateside Saison, made by a guy who decided this year to start commercially brewing, and hasn't been able to keep up with the demand.  This is a great saison, with an added hop kick to it.  Most saisons (as well as this one) are light bodied, lighter colored beers that have a zesty citrus kick.  The farmhouse name comes from a funky smell/taste that some beers have.  Some people love it, some hate it, but it is a very refreshing beer to drink during the summer. Saison Dupont is a classic example of the style.  Other beers to check out are Ommegang Hennepin, Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere and Great Divide Colette.  Brettanomyces are a strain of wild yeast that makes the beers have that funky, sour taste.  Nice word to look for on the bottle.

If I am going to a park or party or where ever and want to be "environmentally clean"- I'll grab my friends in a can.  The best- Oskar Blue's Dale's Pale Ale.  First time I brought a six pack of cans (with the dolphin killing plastic) to a party my friends thought I was crazy bring beer in a can.  Then they tried it.  Instantly, they were captivated by the taste.  Oskar Blues only cans and kegs there beer, and all the beer they make are winners.  From Dale's to Gordons to Ten Fidy, you can't go wrong if it has Oskar Blues's label on it.  Other canned beer that is good are the Caldera IPA and the beers brewed by 21st Amendment.

The last great summer beer to try, would be a wheat beer.  Whether you go with a Belgian Wit or a German Hefeweizen, the wheat beers give the light body, smooth taste that make drinking in the summer weather a good experience. Ayinger and Schneider Weisse are two great examples of hefeweizens that most beer drinkers would enjoy having, while Allagash White and Harpoon UFO are two good examples of witbier. 

Finally, the beer that has not left my fridge for a long time- Flying Dog Raging Bitch.  I feel this beer can be drank in any weather, and be kept on hand.  Hopefully, you like this quick list that I made up, and if you don't, comment below and we'll discuss.


  1. Excellent list. At the pool right now and I brought some cans of Caldera IPA & Ashland Amber.

    I did not pick up a lot of Summer beers this year. Usually I enjoy Summer Seasonals from Anchor, Smuttynose, & Brooklyn. But I had an overload of Christmas beer still hanging around, so I've been celebrating Xmas in July. Hoping to cut down on inventory in time for my favorite Märzens that will soon be on thr shelf. (BTW... Best Märzens are Weyerbacher Autumnfest, Flying Dog Dogtoberfest and Heavy Seas Marzen aka Clipper City Marz-Hon.)

  2. I plan on making a Fall weather list as well. (I think every season)

  3. Could Dale's REALLY be considered a summer beer though? Not to be taken wrong here...I LOVE Dale's...I mean love the beer and anything from Oskar Blues, but not exactly a summer beer I don't think.

    I honestly doubt that you can get Souther Star anywhere but Texas, but if you can, you have to try their Bombshell Blonde. Having one right now, and it's the perfect summer beer.

    Sierra Nevada also makes a pretty damn good summer beer called their "Summerfest" I would check out.

    P.S. Mind you I'm the guy who loves his Double IPA's even when outside in 105 degree's ;)


  4. @Ilya I love having Dale's during the summer. I feel it is a great picnic beer. Not light and crisp like Sunshine Pils, but is good clean beer overall.

    I should have included Summerfest on the list, that was a mistake, it is a very good beer.

    But for the most part, I didn't limit the list to summer releases (like Summerfest) but just went with beers that I love and work well for the different instances during the summer.

    I will try to get some Bombshell Blonde, see if I can have one of my friends (who travels to Texas weekly) bring me some back.

    Thanks for the input.

  5. @Jay

    Yep, agreed! :) Dales is a stellar beer for even those hot days. Though plenty of Pale Ale's are right there too. IPA's and Double IPA's start getting just a bit much by the pool in 105 degree's....especially with those 10% + ABV's values!

    I wouldn't worry about missing anything. There are soooooooo many great summer lagers, pale ale's etc....that it might take a good few months of constant trying and researching to get a list like that going lol.

    Let me know about the Bombshell Blonde. If you can't get any, I'll be more than happy to send you a six pack along with everything that Southern Star makes. And they have a 98 rated stout...not to shabby for a new brewery out of Texas that can's all their beer!