This is one of the most enjoyable columns I get to write each year. My summer drinking syllabus. Though in the past, we also have featured fall and winter beer lists, there is something special about summer drinking.
This is a time for frosty koelschs, lagers and wheat beers to drink during those blistering July days. This is also a great time for some big ales to give you comfort on cool August evenings.
As I do every year with this list I am going to suggest some new releases, seasonals and some old friends to quench our thirsts. My biggest suggestion is if you can’t find one of these particular brands in your neck of the woods try a different brewer’s interpretation of the style.
So without further ado, in no particular order here are the 9.5 Beers You MUST Drink This Summer.
Nightshift Brewing Bee Tea Wheat Ale: This nano-brewery from Boston impresses me with every batch. I was torn between their Somer Weisse and the Bee Tea for this list. Bee Tea Wheat Ale is brewed with sweet orange peel and orange blossom honey. Aged on organic, loose, gunpowder tea leaves. The beer weights in at a veiled 8% ABV. Make no mistake this is a big beer. The beer boasts huge citrus esters and a wonderful dry finish.
Kona Longboard Island Lager: This is a session beer to beat all session beers. This beer is a crowd pleaser, a well-made lager with plenty of character and flavor. The favorable ratings of this beer on the beer geek sites are a testament to this malty treat. Kona Longboard Island Lager is also unassuming enough for your macro beer fan to enjoy. Kona Longboard Island Lager also gets bonus points for its packaging, we love cans here at TMR.
Rogue Ales Bacon Maple Ale: This collaboration with VoooDoo Donuts is brewed with maple syrup and bacon. This beer is a perfect breakfast beer on your next camping trip. Do not tell me I am the only one that has morning cocktails on vacation. This quirky novelty has tons of smoky aromas and wood esters. There is also a ton of maple in the aroma and the flavor. Rogue Ales Bacon Maple Ale is also a great cooking beer! Maple braised breakfast sausages anyone?
Narragansett Lager: They say you can’t go home again but you can go back to grandpa’s basement fridge. This is a great old school lawn mower beer. Narragansett Lager is an incredibly drinkable lager with a blue collar barroom vibe. The beer has a great crisp aroma with touches of sweet corn and a faint hop touch in the finish. Narragansett Lager also comes in a variety of packages including “pounders,” Boston vernacular for a 16 ounce can; as in “These ‘Gansett pounders are wicked awesome!
New Belgium Ranger IPA: The first hop bomb on our list. For me summer is all about hops. Ranger is an American style IPA that is a full-frontal assault of hops. This beer boasts a generous 70 IBUs and a beautiful malty backbone to balance it perfectly. If you are looking for a beer to stand up to your summer BBQ favorites this is the beer. Ranger also pairs up nicely with your favorite Mexican dishes.
Harpoon Rich & Dan’s Rye IPA: This is a convert from Harpoon’s 100 barrel series. It was received so well in a limited run Harpoon decided to make this beer available year round. This beer is a great session brew perfect for the dog days of summer. Its crisp mouth feel is incredibly refreshing with earthy aromas and a bit of spiciness in the finish.
Green Flash Brewing Saison Diego: This Belgian farmhouse ale has been renamed a San Diego beach house ale by the brewer. I love Saisons in the summer because they blend the perfect balance of sweet aromas and funky finishes. This is a very well put together interpretation of the style with gorgeous ginger and orange aromas and a refreshing carbonation. They should put a picture of this beer next to the definition of “refreshing” in the dictionary.
Dogfish Head Brewing Midas Touch: I love to include a fireside sipper to this list each year. Midas Touch is the perfect beer for those cool nights around the fire pit. This is a big beer at 9% ABV with big flavors and a complex profile. This is a very vinous beer with grape, honey and dark fruit aromas. I would suggest this beer not only for beer fans but also for that wine drinker that claim they do not like beers. This is a beyond unique brew from one of the world’s most unique brewers. Midas touch will also pair up nicely with grilled chicken or a plate of fresh summer melon.
Boston Brewing Company Third Voyage: This big beer from Sam Adams is phenomenal. This IIPA is packed with cascade hops bringing the beer up to 80 IBUs. The cascade hops give this beer their signature piney/citrus aroma. The ABV of this beer is also an impressive at 8%. Third Voyage has a nice malty presence that balances the 80 IBUs well, but let’s not fool ourselves this is a hop forward beer. A true hop bomb through and through.
Angry Orchard Apple Ginger Hard Cider: Yes I know, this is not a beer but it is found in the beer aisle so this cider is our .5 this year. What I like most about Angry Orchard products is the clean and organic aromas and taste of the apples. This ginger version of Angry Orchard’s cider adds another dimension. The ginger adds a nice sweetness to the aroma of this cider. Angry Orchard Apple Ginger has a nice dry finish that gives this cider a session-like drinkability.
There are my 9.5 for the summer. If you can’t find these beers or if you are looking for past summer beer lists you can find them here. Have a happy and healthy summer and let us know what you think of these beers in the comments below.