Top 10 Beers for Summer

The summer season is quickly dwindling away. I don’t even think I realized how fast we’re approaching fall until I returned back from my week off, in sunny summer bliss. Even though colored leaves and crisp air are sneaking up on us, there’s still time to get out and enjoy some summertime brews.

While I was off last week, enjoying as much poolside time as possible, I did a little searching for some warm-weather ales – ones I haven’t tried yet but should, before the first frost hits. I came upon a distinct list from about.com’s Bryce Eddings. Some I have most definitely imbibed in, others I will most certainly have to try.

Try these 10 brews before summer is through:

Warsteiner Premium Verum1. Warsteiner Premium Verum
For many, Pilsner is the only acceptable summer brew. Warsteiner is an excellent example of a German Pils. It’s loaded with Saaz hops and has a wonderful lager snap to it that makes it a great beer for hot summer days.

2. Samuel Smith’s Pure Brewed Lager
If Pilsners are generally too thin for you and you want something for your mouth to do while you’re drinking a beer, this is the brew for you. It is sweeter than Pils with a light hops presence. It has a mouthfeel a bit like an Oatmeal Stout and a lingering sweetness. It is the perfect lager to sip out on the deck at the end of a long hot day.

3. Flying Dog Classic Pale Ale (Doggie Style)
This pale ale is a favorite for many fans of the style. It is dry hopped with Cascade hops giving this English style an American twist.

4. Goose Island India Pale Ale
This is a great beer. Fans of the IPA will enjoy the loads of fresh hops apparent in the nose and flavor of this beer. For a beer lover, this is bottled sunshine.

5. Paulaner Hefe-Weizen
This classic Bavarian style wheat beer is a perennial summer favorite. Drop a slice of lemon into your glass for a perfect accompaniment to a picnic or barbecue.

6. Berliner Kindl Weisse
This beer is a testament to the ingenuity of German brewers. It’s amazing that such flavors can be coaxed out of water, barley, hops and yeast. The secret is souring. The grains are allowed to sour producing a lip smacking tang unique to this wonderfully refreshing and highly effervescent beer. Many fans of the style like to add raspberry or woodruff syrup to take off the sour edge.

7. Samuel Adams Summer Ale
Samuel Adams Summer Ale is another wheat beer. Wheat beers are popular for summer brews because it is in many ways a blank pallet. Wheat contributes very little flavor and a soft mouthfeel making it a great medium for the fruit and spice flavors popular with summertime beers.

In this case, SA uses lemon zest and something called “grains of paradise” described as a peppery African spice. Despite all of this the beer retains a nice malty character and is perfectly enjoyable.

8. Pyramid Apricot Weizen Ale
In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that this is one of my wife’s favorite beers. That being said, I can also say that I am under no coercion to include it in this list.

This Apricot Weizen is another wheat beer. The subtle flavor of apricots blends nicely with this ale. It also has a remarkable mouthfeel from the fruit. This is a good brew to pair with a spicy barbecue or, if you make your own BBQ sauce, trying throwing in a bit of this beer for an interesting twist.

9. Boulevard Brewing Co. Zon
This is a Kansas City interpretation of the classic Belgian witbier style. It is a flavorful beer with coriander and orange peel contributing some interesting elements. It contains unmalted wheat giving it a cloudy white appearance and smooth mouthfeel.

10. Buffalo Bill’s Orange Blossom Cream Ale
When I first tried this beer I was assaulted with sense memory deja vu. I knew that I’d tasted it before but I just couldn’t place it. It took me two beers and two days to place it. This beer tastes just like the soda-pop Orange Crush. It is dominated with a soft orange flavor. Try it with light summer salads or a cold picnic.

Have a favorite brew that’s not listed here? Share it with us – we’ll all be glad you did (and even happier to try your suggestion)!

[techtags:TOP 10 BEERS, SUMMER BEER, SUMMER BREWS, PILSNER, WHEAT BEER, SUMMER BEERS]

2 Comments

  • Scott August 11, 2008 @ 9:46pm

    Agree with the list, and especially what you mention regarding the Sam Adams and wheat beers being so popular for summer. I recently tried the Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat, and thought it was great for Summer too! Wheat beers just mix nicely with Summer!

  • Hannah August 12, 2008 @ 6:59am

    Scott – I couldn’t agree more about wheat beer and summer. I, personally, tend to imbibe on the stout and porter end of brews, so in summer, you’ll usually find me enjoying a darker wheat beer – like the Franziskaner Hefe-weizen Dunkel. Great brew with an amazing nose!

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