The 20 Best Beers for the Summer Season

There’s a reason that we’re beginning to see summer beers hit grocery stores earlier and earlier every year, and it’s because people can’t get enough of summer! Whether you’re at a barbecue slinging meat from the grill or you’re sitting on a pier with your trusty fishing pole, summer provides many reasons to put down a few brews.  There’s a wide variety of summer beers out there, so let’s cut to the chase, shall we? Here are the 20 best beers for the summer season that will help you to beat the heat.

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis 1

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a hefeweizen on a long, hot summer day. So when the brewery best known for its pale ale entered into the Bavarian-style ring, we made a b-line for the brewery to try it out.  It settles with more froth than crisp summer brews usually do, and the hazy yellow-orange color is darker than most summer beers as well. But the subtle hints of banana and strong clove notes are incredibly refreshing on the hottest of days. Add a slice of lemon to the bottom of the glass for best results.

Lagunitas Little Sumpin Sumpin Ale

Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale

Lagunitas’ summer seasonal has actually been offered year-round since 2010 after fans went nuts for the unique brew after its debut in 2008 and demanded more of it.  Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale mixes three different types of wheat while being all hopped up in the style of an American IPA, and is infused with fruity and spicy flavors.  You won’t quite be able to put your finger on what fruit you’re tasting, but you’ll definitely enjoy it anyway.

Sam Adams Summer Ale

Sam Adams Summer Ale

Gold in color and gold in taste, the seasonal offering from Sam Adams is the perfect beer for the summer season.  You know you’ve got a good beer in your hands when you read that it contains something called Grains of Paradise.  Along with its lemony flavor and spice notes, Sam Adams Summer Ale will make you feel like you’re in a paradise of your own.

Anchor California Lager

Anchor California Lager

Anchor Brewing is best known for its Steam Beer, which can be found nationwide year-round.  But their entry into the summer brew business is actually a recreation of California’s first lager, which came from a brewery that burned down in the 1890s.  Their California Lager is made with California-grown barley and America’s oldest available variety of hops.  It goes down easy and is now even easier to drink, as Anchor began bottling it last year.

Firestone Walker Pivo Pils

Firestone Walker Pivo Pils

Firestone’s pilsner is second to none, and it’s because of the hops–which they import from Germany specifically for this brew.  It’s crisp and flavorful–unlike most pilsners–with perfumey and fruity notes. A high carbonation level supports the flavors nicely. It’s also just 5.30% ABV, so you can drink it all afternoon while working in the yard.

The Alchemist Heady Topper

The Alchemist Heady Topper

Although Heady Topper is available year-round, the Double IPA’s crisp nature and fruity flavor lends itself nicely to the summer months.  It isn’t something you’d expect from a Vermont brewery (since, you know, Vermont’s summers are usually short), but if you can find it in your area, it’s a must-have!

Left Hand Good Juju

Left Hand Good Juju

Are you looking to try a beer unlike anything you’ve ever had before?  If so, then try Left Hand’s Good Juju.  The brewery uses organic Peruvian ginger juice to create a light, spicy kick.  It’s more ginger than you might be used to, but the golden ale is refreshing on a summer day, especially if paired with some barbecue.

Leinenkugels Summer Shandy

Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

Whenever someone mentions mixing beer with any other type of drink, I usually cringe.  But with Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, that’s just simply not the case.  The brewer expertly mixes traditional wheat beer with refreshing lemonade to craft the ultimate summer drink.  Stay away from it’s younger cousins, the Lemon Berry Shandy and the Orange Shandy, as they are both a tad too sweet to be able to enjoy more than one.

Bells Oberon

Bell’s Oberon

Bell Brewery’s Oberon is easily the fan favorite in their selection of seasonal brews.  It has a light body and a crisp feel, making it very drinkable. It’s brewed with wheat, cloves and herbal hops that infuse together to create an ultimate wheat beer with a unique aroma that’s slightly fruity.

Kona Wailua Wheat

Kona Wailua Wheat

No one knows how to beat the heat better than Hawaiian brewer Kona.  Their Wailua Wheat Ale is incredibly flavorful, thanks to the tropical passion fruit that is brewed into each batch.  The fruity flavor isn’t overpowering, but you can tell it’s there. It just tastes crisp and clean, and is the perfect addition to any poolside get together you’ll have this summer.

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Harpoon Summer Beer

Harpoon is another New England brewery that really knows what it is doing, as proven by their summer offering, Harpoon Summer Beer.  It has characteristics similar to a light lager, but it doesn’t have the awful aftertaste often associated with light beers.  It’s highly carbonated and has a clean finish.  The citrus flavor is subtle and not overpowering, making it a highly enjoyable option.

UFO Big Squeeze Shandy

UFO Big Squeeze Shandy

This is Harpoon’s equivalent to Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, but instead of mixing wheat beer with lemonade, this UFO is mixed with grapefruit juice.  It’s sweet with a slightly tart aftertaste and a clean citrus aroma that is sure to get you to ask for a second bottle.  Many will attempt to serve it with an actual slice of grapefruit, but try it without the fruit slice first, as it might be overkill to add more citrus flavor to the mix.

Victory Summer Love

Victory Summer Love

Nothing says summer quite like America’s favorite pastime, and Victory Brewing Company’s label for Summer Love had a baseball and a batter on it to sell you on its seasonality, at one point.  This brew is slightly sweet with tangerine and grapefruit notes, and has an earthiness quality to it.  This is Victory Brewing’s biggest victory yet!

southern tier brewing company

Southern Tier Hop Sun

With sun directly in the name, you really have no reason to not try this offering from Southern Tier Brewing Company.  Hop Sun is brewed with three different types of malts, wheat, and fresh hop flowers.  It’s the perfect amount of carbonation to create a smooth mouthfeel. If you love hoppy wheat beer, this is the summer brew for you.

Dogfish Head Festina Peche

Dogfish Head Festina Peche

Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche is one of the most unique summer beers on this list of the 20 best beers for summer drinking.  It is brewed with peaches–that’s right, peaches–but it isn’t sweet.  Instead of tasting sugar, it comes out of the bottle dry and still fruity.  It comes in at only 4.5% ABV, so you’ll definitely have a second. And a third. And a fourth.

Blue Point Blueberry Ale

Blue Point Blueberry Ale

Who knew that pairing blueberries and beer would work so well? Blue Point Brewery did, that’s who! Blueberries are at their juiciest in the summer months, which is why Blue Point’s Blueberry Ale is loaded with flavor–it’s basically like having a blueberry patch dropkick you in the mouth.

21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat

21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat

It may sound like a strange brew at first, but Hell or High Watermelon Wheat works incredibly well.  This brewery out of San Francisco thought it was a great idea to brew beer with fresh watermelon, and they were absolutely right!  Before you cringe at the thought of a watermelon Now And Later flavored beer, let me tell you that it isn’t as overpowering as that.  Instead, the watermelon is subtle.

Goose Island Summer School

Goose Island Summer School

Goose Island’s summer hefeweizen is second to none, but unfortunately they don’t bottle it yet. But if you ever find yourself in Chicago, make your way into the brewery–you can only find this one on tap.  It has a pale color with a clove aroma and medium body, that is followed up by an explosion of banana and citrus flavor.

Anderson Valley Summer Solstice

Anderson Valley Summer Solstice

You need a darker cream ale in your summer repertoire if you’re going to survive the heat.  Anderson Valley’s Summer Solstice is that cream ale.  It has caramel flavors with spices in it that make it taste similar to a cream soda.  It’s darker than the majority of drinks you’ll be enjoying this summer, but it’s a necessity for those that favor malts over hops.

Widmer Brothers Citra Blonde Summer Brew

Widmer Brothers Citra Blonde Summer Brew

Citra hops create a delightfully citrus flavor that no one can resist.  The thirst-quenching flavors are the perfect pairing for the soft malt notes contained within Widmer’s Citra Blonde Summer Brew.  It has a fantastic clarity with great carbonation that lends itself nicely to being enjoyed with any sort of grilled fish.

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