June is almost over and summer is officially upon us. For many of us, this means feet in the sand, long vacations, and cookouts in the backyard. For craft beer fans, it means a new assortment of seasonally appropriate brews. Witbiers, lagers, ales and pilsners — the name of the game is light, crisp and most importantly, very cold. With the dog days already barking, here is a roundup of our favorite summer beers.
The Alchemist Heady Topper – To best enjoy this, follow the big and bold instruction as directed by the top of the 16 oz. can – DRINK FROM THE CAN. The Heady Topper has achieved a cult-like following and is sitting comfortably at the top as Beer Advocate’s top rated beer in the world — and justifiably so. The initial taste highlights the hops, which is then followed by a complexity of tropical fruit and spicy notes with a strong, but not overbearing, bitter finish.
Cascade Kriek Ale – Brewed with 4 types of cherries and aged in an oak barrel for at least 6 months, the oaky sourness of the barrel combined with the tart of the cherry creates a very complex beer that keeps us coming back for more.
Hardywood Pils – Our friends down the road have really outdone themselves with this one. According to their description, “Hand crafted with only the finest European pilsner malt and German noble hops, Pils is patiently conditioned for weeks in our lagering tanks, maturing into a beer that refreshes the palate and satiates the soul.” When it’s quittin’ time – or more like, when it’s 5 and we know it’s gonna be a long one – Hardywood Pils is our go-to in the office.
Firestone Pivo Pils – Summer is a time for pils. Recommended by our pal and Hardywood brewer, Nick, Pivo Pils is one of his top summer sippers. Bright and hoppy with floral aromatic and spicy herbal notes.
Anchor Summer Beer – This classic American summer ale has been a staple of the warmer months for almost thirty years because they nailed the formula: the 50% malted hops quench thirst, and the slightly tart hop finish pops on the palate. Best served with your feet dipped in a body of water.
Shiner Ruby Redbird – A front porch, backyard, poolside sipper. For any day that’s just too damn hot, crack open a can of Shiner Ruby Redbird. Light and refreshing with a strong punch of grapefruit and ginger. This one’s a crowd pleaser.
Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ale – Ignore whatever the calendar says; summer has arrived when you see this beer on the shelves. The label is sky blue dappled with white polka dots, and underneath the cap is a delicious golden ale brewed in the English tradition of “luncheon” ales. German and American hops cut the bready malt flavor with a crisp citrus. It simply screams “sunshine.”
Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale – The first American craft beer to be canned, consider this trailblazer the Godfather of the recent trend in canning. Brewed with hefty amounts of European malts and four kinds of American hops, Oskar Blue’s packs a tremendous amount of flavor inside of its 12 oz. can.
*Amended with 2015 selects.