When your next summer BBQ or dinner party rolls around, don’t be that guy that brings domestic light beer. You’re not in college anymore! Get something unique and fun. These beers might be a little harder to find (or impossible depending on where you live), but they’re totally worth it. Summer Beer Review has listed the top 10 summer beers (well, top 16 actually), and I’ve sampled as many as I could get my hands on. Keep reading for some day drinking suggestions.
BELL’S OBERON ALE
Bell’s is one of my favorite breweries, and even though this brew didn’t make the top ten, I think it’s worthy. Brewed in Michigan, Oberon is very smooth and delicious. Less carbonation takes a slight toll on refreshment, but I don’t mind. I think the orange essence makes up for that. Of the few brews I’ve tried here, this is near the top of my list.
DOGFISH HEAD FESTINA PECHE
Located in Delaware, Dogfish Head is a popular craft brewery. They’re better known for their 60 and 90 minute IPAs, but this brew is quite an experience. I don’t love it quite as much as the reviewers, but I appreciate its uniqueness. The unique aspect is the tart/sour quality, which I enjoyed very much, but it made the beer less drinkable. In the summer time, if you drink too slowly your beer gets warm! So for that reason, I’m out.
OMMEGANG FLEUR DE HOUBLON
This is my first exposure to Ommegang, an upstate New York brewery, and I’m sorry I waited this long. At 6.8%, it has one of the higher ABVs of this bunch, but it doesn’t taste like it. I can see why it made the list! Fleur De Houblon is very crisp and refreshing, but also complex. A prefect summer brew!
RJ ROCKERS SON OF A PEACH
South Carolina isn’t widely known for their breweries, but RJ Rockers is doing their best to change that. This is a great summer brew that thankfully smells peachier than it tastes. The peach aroma transitions nicely into a simply good smooth beer with little aftertaste. Very drinkable. The sample I poured disappeared quickly. Consider me impressed.
LAGUNITAS A LITTLE SUMPIN’ SUMPIN’ ALE
Another California beer, this Lagunitas variety is very fragrant and hoppy. The hops aren’t overpowering or very bitter. All in all it’s an enjoyable beer. I like it, but if I’m looking for summer hops, there are some IPAs I would buy before this ale (Bell’s, Sweetwater, 21st Amendment, to name a few).
21ST AMENDMENT HELL OR HIGH WATERMELON
Here’s another beer that didn’t make their cut, but I’ll endorse it all the same. The 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco is one of my absolute favorites. I love their Brew Free or Die IPA and Sneak Attack Saison! This isn’t their strongest offering, only because of the slight hint of “jolly rancher”, which isn’t for everyone. But, it’s a delicious choice for a hot sunny day nonetheless.
ANDERSON VALLEY SUMMER SOLSTICE
Another beer that didn’t make the top ten, also another beer brewed in CA. But, I still want to mention it. Summer Beer Review hit the nail on the head with their review. Summer Solstice is smooth and a little sweet, but it’s too heavy for day drinking. A tasty beer for an evening of reminiscing though!
GROCERY STORE BEER
If you have trouble finding the aforementioned brews and your local craft beer store is too far out of your way, grab a 6-pack of one of these at your nearest grocery store. Sam Adams Summer Ale, New Belgium Skinny Dip and Leinenkugel Summer Shandy are all great options that are easy to find (Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat is also a delicious summer brew, but less prevalent).
I agree with their review of the Sam Adams. The “modest carbonation” was a pleasant surprise, but I could do with a little less malt. Skinny Dip wasn’t included in the review, but I tried it and liked it a little more than the Sam Adams. Skinny Dip is crisp and medium bodied with a nice slight bitterness. Skinny Dip and Summer Shandy each have a ABV of only 4.2%. Not a deal breaker, but worth mentioning. Between these three, I prefer the refreshing citrus flavor of the Summer Shandy. Mmmmm!
I think my favorite is the Fleur De Houblon (Oberon and Son of a Peach tied for second), but have fun with it and try as many as you can! Get the full scoop on all these delicious concoctions from the Summer Beer Review website. Cheers!!