Easy-Going Craft Beers to Finish Up the Summer

Or, if you’re in Texas like me, revise the title to “Beers to Get You Through the Remainder of Hell.” By this point in the season, most everywhere in North America is reaching peak summer temperatures, school is about to begin, and we’re heading into the holiday-less desert of August. While most any beer will do at this point, I’ve narrowed down a handful of craft brews perfect for a toasty summer using the following criteria:

  1. Affordability – While they’ll probably cost more than a Lone Star, none of these brews will break the bank.
  2. Pool Ready – Whether your community pool doesn’t allow glass, or you need to coozie up to keep your habit hidden from the neighbors’ kids, all of the following beers come canned.
  3. Easy (enough) to Find – You won’t need to go to an obscure mini-mart to find ’em.
  4. Cooling Factor – These beers are light, crisp, and won’t weigh you down. They’re “porch pounders,” if you will.

 

Blanche de Bruxelles

Brasserie Lefebvre
Quenast, Belgium

blanche20de20brux
Image via Urban Honking

I don’t know if it ever actually gets hot in Belgium, but these guys have their summer beer situation on lockdown. Many Belgian-style beers are light, but not wimpy, and that certainly describes the Blanche de Bruxelles. The lively carbonation and lemon zest finish make this ideal for the summer, without any of the overwhelming body that some unfiltered beers offer. Be prepared for some light, balanced spice on the palate as well. There is nothing full-bodied or heavy about this beer, and with a 4.5% ABV, it pairs with those long days by the river quite nicely.

 

Redbud

Independence Brewing Company
Austin, Texas

redbudoudside
Image via Independence Brewing

Texans know heat and Central Texans know watering holes. Thus, it makes complete sense that Independence Brewing Co. out of Austin, TX has produced the Redbud: a tart, extremely well-balanced Berliner Weisse you can even give to your friends who don’t like sours. That doesn’t mean it’s weak or dumbed down: the Redbud packs a punch, but offers easy malt flavors to even out the initial acid. Under the brutal Texas sun, this is exactly the kind of beer I want to be drinking, and the stylish can is exactly what I’d like to be seen with.

 

Otra Vez

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Chico, California

sierranevade-otravez-girlswholikebeer
Image via Girls Who Like Beer

En Tejas, Shiner is ubiquitous. While I love their Prickly Pear seasonal, it’s still a little too heavy for a 100-degree day. Alternative? Sierra Nevada’s Otra Vez, a gose-style ale with prickly pear, grapefruit, and lime flavors. Like a cucumber, prickly pear cactus feels hydrating and refreshing, and the light grapefruit and lime citrus keeps the bready malt buoyant. I feel like this is the beer-quivalent of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: complex with a fresh, light “zing.” Like the Redbud, less adventurous drinkers need-not be wary of the “gose-style” label: it’s smooth, finishes easy, and has the body to back up the zest.

Watermelon Dorado

Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits
San Diego, California

ballast-point-watermelon-dorado-cans
Image via Beer Street Journal

Previously unavailable in cans, Ballast Point has smartly released the canned Watermelon Dorado, safe for pool and beach consumption. A summer beer that is 10% ABV but doesn’t feel that way, Ballast Point’s Watermelon Dorado is a post-5:00 get-hella-drunk summertime beer. Despite mixed reviews, I am a huge fan of the Watermelon Dorado. It doesn’t feel heavy or syrupy as many watermelon beers do, and isn’t the watered-down variety of flavoring either. BP hit the nail on the head with this one, somehow perfecting a douple IPA for the dry (so, so dry) warmth of a San Diego summer. While certainly bitter, it’s balanced out perfectly by the floral and melon aromas and flavors. IPA-heads tend to think this is a fault, but I think it’s an intelligent and refreshing take on the typical uber-bitter, uber-heavy imperial IPA.

 

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