Summer brings us some great seasonal releases. Gone are the 200-calorie beers of winter, loaded with spices and enough alcohol to drop a moose. Do not get me wrong I am a fan of the offerings of Skadi – Norse Goddess of Winter. The simple truth is thick and sticky beers just do not make the cut on hot and humid days.
This year I am putting a little twist on the summer drinking syllabus. All of this year’s suggestions are packaged in cans. Years ago, it would have been a reach for me to come up with 10 unique offering in cans. Today I sit here over whelmed with the amount of great beers I have to leave off this short list.
Some of these beers you are probably very familiar with, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Sam Adams Lager for example. Think back when is the last time you had an ice cold Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Sam Adams Lager on a 90-degree day? This is all about rediscovering some classics and finding new favorites in cans. So without further delay in no particular order here are our 9.5 Cans of Beer You MUST Drink this Summer.
Six Points Craft Ales – Bengali Tiger: This 16-ounce can of hop juice is a pleasure to drink. Its 62 IBUs (International Bittering Units) give the impression you are drinking a bigger beer, maybe an IIPA (Imperial India Pale Ale). A closer look at the can tell you Bengali Tiger weighs in at a modest 6.4% ABV (Alcohol By Volume). The beer pours a deep copper with a big off white head. The aroma is citrus forward with notes of grapefruit and pine resin. The initial taste is very balanced at first; there is a nice malt profile to the beer. However, as expected the hops really kick in the finish.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. – Pale Ale: You can go home again. Admit it this is the beer that started you off on your journey into the world of microbrews. Now that you have trained and sharpened your palate this is the perfect time to rediscover this classic now available in cans.
Oskar Blues Brewing Company – Gubna: This beer makes me think that someone lost his or her mind at Oskar Blues. Their insane vision is our fortune. The vision was to create a can of beer with 100+ IBUs and crank the ABV up to 10% . While this is without a doubt a hop forward beer, it does have an interesting malt profile. German Dark Munich Malt and Rye Malt provide a backbone big enough to balance out this beer.
SanTan Brewing Company – HefeWeizen Wheat: You have probably figured out, I am a huge hophead. That does not mean I am not a sucker for a great wheat beer. I stumbled upon SanTan Brewing’s offerings on vacation last year in Arizona and have been a fan ever since. Their HefeWeizen Wheat is a Bavarian style wheat beer opposed to the mass-produced Belgian wheat clones that are flooding the market. Instead of the forced citrus flavors, you have grown accustomed to expect to find a pleasant banana and clove esters produced from the classic German yeast.
Genesee Brewing Company – Cream Ale: Some old school brewing techniques go into this old school beer. Genesee uses an old German brewing practice called ” krausening” on every batch of Cream Ale. This is done by adding freshly fermenting liquid extracted from the mashing process (wort) to beer that is ready to bottle during the aging process. This gives Genesee Cream Ale a unique character and a wonderful drinkability.
Ska Brewing Co. – ESB Special Ale: For those of you unfamiliar with the style ESBs are fantastic English style session beers. This beer is light and refreshing with a touch of sweet malts. ESB Special Ale is the answer for you hophobic folks looking for a great beer in a can. Ska Brewing stays so true to the traditional style of this beer you can almost hear a soccer hooligan viciously beating someone if you close your eyes while taking a sip. This beer weighs in at 5.70% ABV giving it a great drinkability but still enough punch to let you know you are drinking a real beer.
Boston Beer Co. – Sam Adams Lager: Finally in cans! Boston Lager clocks in at 30 IBUs, not quite the 70+ IBUs we find in an extreme hop-bomb. However, it is two or three times hoppier than most beers classified as lagers. What makes this craft beer so good is the balance. The aroma of Sam Adams Boston Lager is hop forward with great orange/citrus tones and pine esters. The mouthfeel is full with a nice malt washing over the palette during the initial sip.
Narragansett Beer Co. – Summer Ale: Simply stated, this Blonde Ale blows me away. These 16-ounce monsters are a mere 4.2% ABV, still this beer is packed with flavor. There is a bready malt profile to this beer that is incredible. Mixed with fruit aromas and a subtle dusting of hops the malt is perfectly complemented. This beer is the perfect companion for all of your favorite summer foods, grilled seafood or steamed clams come to mind.
Anderson Valley Brewing Company. – Boont Amber Ale: I have never had an offering from Anderson Valley Brewing Company that I did not fall in love with. I especially am fond of their Boont Amber Ale. This is a session beer that is what I like to call a crowd pleaser. It is unassuming enough to satisfy your macro-beer drinking friends and flavorful enough to blow away any craft beer snob. This beer has a slight caramel sweetness that allows it to pair perfectly with all types of summer BBQ. There is slight hop spiciness in the finish that would make this a nice companion for your peppercorn encrusted grill filet or a classic burger.
Our .5 this year is an old and welcome friend. This is not a beer however; you can find this product in the beer aisle of your supermarket or grocery store thus the .5 designation. It is also available in cans so it makes the list.
Jim Beam Brands Co. – Jim Beam & Cola: This is not a malternative or malt beverage like some of the beer aisle offerings you have seen from other distillers. Jim Beam & Cola is exactly as advertised, the legendary bourbon mixed with a quality cola. The beauty of this concoction is the cans make it easy to bring your bourbon and cola into “beer only” venues.