This list was difficult to compile. There are now so many summer beers to choose from, and they are all so different. I took a lot of serious time tasting these beers, tasting more beers, and tasting more beers. I categorized the following styles as Summer Beers: Wheat, Saison, Wit, Pilsner, Pale Ales, IPAs. Is the list exhaustive? Hell no. Can I guarantee that no matter what beer you try from this list, you will enjoy. Hell yes. Here it is:
10. Voo Doo Brewing “Some Say that Cucumbers Taste Better Pickled”
While strolling the walk of the Selinsgrove “Hops, Vines, and Wines” Festival, I came upon a sign that simply said “Some say cucumber is better pickled—try our beer.” Clearly that was going to be the first one I tried. I didn’t know what to expect—how can cucumber flavor really come through malts and hops? Somehow, it did. It wasn’t too strong, but you could definitely taste the refreshing cucumber flavor. I’m still trying to figure out how to get it sent to me. This is a great brew to have at one of your kick-ass barbecues and suddenly break out the cucumber beer for all your friends. Refreshing.
9. Curious Traveler Summer Shandy
First, there are the main-stream shandies that we are all familiar with. Then there is this. Curious Traveler Shandy comes in several flavors but I think the original lemon is the best. The beer has a crisp lemonade flavor that does not take over the beer. It is well balanced and includes the essential flavors of a lemonade AND a beer. Kick one back on the porch.
8. 21st Amendment “Hell or High Watermelon” Wheat
For those who enjoy a sweet wheat beer in the heat of summer—this is it. Put away the wine cooler and drink like an adult with 21st Amendment’s signature wheat. Watermelon comes through right away and carries itself throughout. The wheat beer flavor is there—sweet and complementing the watermelon in an odd but tasty way. If you like sweet beers, try this out. Plus the artwork on all 21st Amendment cans is just pretty damn awesome.
7. Bell’s Oberon
One of the heavyweight contenders in terms of ABV, the Oberon ale has the solid taste of a wheat ale, with the base sweet wheat flavors then followed by bitter orange. This combination makes for a balanced taste and light hints of spice (coriander). The beer has a lingering aftertaste that is actually pretty awesome and makes you want more. In case the other wheat brews are too sweet for you, this has great balance and is very drinkable.
6. Otto’s Apricot Wheat
However you pronounce it, apricot and wheat beer is a good pair. Together, they produce a very refreshing flavor that finishes crisp. PLUS you don’t need to put a piece of orange in the beer to make it taste good. Try this and you will be refreshed.
5. Dogfish Head Peach Festina Peche
Truly one of my favorite summer beers. Festina Peche is a delicious neo-Berliner Weisse that is complemented by natural peach. Since the style of beer is traditionally tart, the sweetness of a ripe peach is just what you need to feel complete in the hot summer months. Tartness is not so tart that it JOLTS your tastebuts, but is there enough to wake the suckers up. Then the sweetness follows with a dry finish. Not your average wheat beer—that in itself is refreshing.
4. Stone IPA
One summer, this brew opened my eyes to what an IPA could/should be. The Stone IPA is one of the best I’ve ever had. For many people, taking the step to drinking IPAs is one that can be a challenge, but ends in success. If you are ready to take the next step, start with the Stone IPA. You will understand what hops are all about, you will smell the bouquet of hops from your glass, and you will finish the brew satisfied. Summer’s the perfect time to start – get some.
3. Weyerbacher White Sun Wit
If you can find any cases of this left in stores—get it now. This will be good even when sitting on your porch in late September/early October. The beer starts with a sweet fruit flavor (maybe banana and orange) with smooth start and typical characteristics of a wit (orange, some spice flavors). Then, you will taste a little bit of the hops (“spice-like” and a little earthy) with again, a citrusy hint to it. The banana continues to come through and then some pear comes through in the end. Crisp and refreshing with a nice aftertaste of banana and a little bit of pineapple. Finally, I was surprised with the awesome mouthfeel of this beer: buttery. Not butter flavor—just the creaminess of butter. Trust me, it’s a good thing.
2. Victory Swing Session Saison
For me, this summer has been the summer of saisons. If I see a saison at a brewery, I’m trying it. I love the light sweet flavor of the brew, while also maintaining the spicy and hoppy tastes of what I like in a beer. Sometimes a shandy or wheat beer just doesn’t have enough of a flavor profile for me. I like something more complicated – because I’m sophisticated, ya know? Try one….or three.
1. Founder’s All Day IPA
Get it? No? Let me explain. Founders brewed up an IPA that you can drink ALL DAY. Yes, IPA fans, they’ve created a low ABV IPA that won’t knock you out after having four. Out doing yard work? Camping with your friends and don’t want to be the first to pass out by 6PM? Grab a case of these. The beer keeps the profile of traditional IPAs with some citrusy hops, dry hopped for wonderful “garden of hops” aroma. Even if it’s not even afternoon yet, it just isn’t worth surrendering your taste buds to some light, piss-flavored beer. Bottoms up.