As a beer loving community the Sommbeer crew has decided to do a series of collaborative post’s that we will be calling “Sommbeer’s Favorites”. The purpose of these posts are just to give a brief look at some of each contributors favorite brews are of a particular style. This post is dedicated to Sommbeer’s favorite Summer Beers
About 5 years back, I got the great fortune of heading to Munich to Oktoberfest (don’t worry, I’ll get to the “summer” part soon…). While it was certainly fun, the highlight of the trip was undoubtedly driving BMW on the autobahn to the Hallertau hops fields. My visit to the almost 1,000 year old Weihenstephaner brewery there was certainly unforgettable, and I was tempted to list their classic Hefeweizen as my favorite summer beer. However, there was one beer I had that hot autumn afternoon that was perfect for summer. At a small biergarten in between hops fields, my host ordered me a Radler – give or take the German equivalent of a shandy, a mix of lager and lemon soda. Perfect for bikers (hence the name) and children (yup, that’s what he said…), or for a summer afternoon after mowing the lawn. Refreshing, slightly sweet and low in alcohol. While I enjoy making my own now, I’ve tried finding one commercially available. But, it’s mostly shandies, and they’re all too sweet and artificial tasting. Then I found an Austrian brewery called Stiegl, that makes not only a delicious radler, but also a wonderful grapefruit one, my perfect beers for summer.
Andrew: @I spend most of the summer sipping mojitos. Fresh mint from the garden can’t be beat. In the past I’ve found most Craft Beer to be too overpowering on hot days. Things are changing though, and I’m excited to try some of the Munich Helles being produced. Some may compare it to lawnmower beer, but it requires an incredible amount of skill to produce. No citrus hops or dark roasts to hide behind here. Just 100% malt in a clean lager.
One of my favorite summer beers would have to be Westbrook’s Gose.
This beer is perfect for the beach. Super salty, extreme crisp fresh citrus notes, with a ridiculously refreshing lite body.
If you like tart, if you like crisp, if you like citrus and salt … Get this beer.
The first sip is a bit aggressive, but after you realize what you’ve got yourself into, and familiarize yourself with the beer, it really becomes quite satisfying.
The body matches the body of the ocean, lite and salty … What more could you ask for in a summer brew?
I married a woman who happens to be a strong advocate of “buy local”. She tries to go to the farmers market whenever it is open and Instead of Walmart toys, she often takes our kids to a local toy store in town. I’ve learned that while you often get a better product, you always get a better experience. For example, the owner of the local toy store is committed to stocking unique toys and talks to my kids every time they enter her store.
Now that I’ve been brainwashed, I too think local.
Summer is when we go on vacation so I focus my “drink local” passion whenever I’m out of town on a summer trip. It makes no sense to sit on a beach in South Carolina and drink a Bell’s Oberon. In fact, it was a couple of years ago when I discovered Palmetto Brewing’s Espresso Porter. Wow! was that good on the beach. Our annual trip “up north” to Cheboygan, started my love affair with Cheboygan Brewing. We have a standard routine; My wife and I buy a couple pints of the their Lighthouse Amber the kids get root beers. Then we all sit in rocking chairs on the top porch. With enough coaxing I can get the kids to wave to the passing cars until they honk and wave back, It’s all a great experience and we wouldn’t have had them without going local when reaching for our summer beer.
Don: @In general my summer beer choices don’t stray too far from my year-round menu because I can drink Quadruples, DIPA’s, and stouts any time of they year. However, this year I have found myself hitting the lighter Belgians and the Hefeweizens. This week I had Oddside Ales Ain’t No Sunshine When Saison, which was fantastic. I also had the amazing Sirachi Ace Saison, and a Leffe Blonde Ale, which is a really good Blonde that is reasonably priced and readily available. Another great summer beer is Mad King Weiss from Victory Brewing Co. If you have not had any beers from Victory I highly recommend you give them a shot. They make Prima Pils, which is my favorite Pilsner by a long shot.
Summer is also the time that two of my favorite Michigan beers are released: Sapient Trip Ale from Dark Horse, and Black Tulip from New Holland. I would put these two Belgian Tripels up against any on the planet.
Finally, if you need a hop fix in the summer but still want a wheat beer go for the Schneider Weisse Tap 5 Schneider & Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse – which is a collaboration between Brooklyn Brewing Company and Weisses Bräuhaus G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH.
If all else fails, there is nothing like an ice cold Old Style in a can on a hot summer day, especially after mowing the lawn, which must be why hipsters call beers in this category “lawn mower” beers.
My favorite summer beer is Oberon. Yes. You heard me. And spare me your holier-than-thou beer-nerd “that’s not even close to the best beer Bell’s makes” comments. Yes. I know. You do not out-craft-beer me here. But if you can’t sit back and enjoy the simple joy of a pint of Oberon then I can’t help you. Oberon is a summer event in Michigan, the greatest place in the world. And I love every second of it. I love the release of it. I love sitting outside after the cold abusive of a Michigan winter and drinking one. And mostly it is just a fantastic beer.
So yes. My favorite summer beer is Oberon. And I also think Smells Like Teen Spirit is a top five Nirvana song. And I will not apologize. Not to you. Not to that guy over there. Not to any of you made-up people I invented for the purposes of this post.
If you had asked me as recently as two months ago what my favorite summer beer was I would have answered either Summer Brew by Cj’s Brewery or the perennial favorite Oberon. Both beers are phenomenal and refreshing and really are essential for me to enjoy summer. However this year a new champion of summer has rolled in and become the object of my warm weather affection. Pinner Throwback IPA has taken the mantle as my go to and favorite summer beer. The big hop flavor with a pineapple finish balances out the brew brilliantly and makes Pinner a brilliant refresher that has complimented my barbecue nicely, or re-energize me after toiling on my lawn for a few hours. Since Pinner is a session IPA the low ABV keeps the beer feeling light and being packaged in cans has already proven useful for the one summer concert I’ve tailgated before this summer. Although I’ve just discovered Pinner Throwback IPA this spring it’s already carved out its niche as my new king of summer and has worked it’s way into constantly being stocked in my own personal beer fridge
Matt: @As with the last few posts regarding “contributor’s favorites,” I had to mull this over a while. I must confess, I could not narrow it down to one. I tried. I failed. I narrowed it down to two. In truth, I’m drinking a beer right now, as I write this, that is not one of the two I picked, and I like it, and it’s summer. So, enjoy my lies.
1) Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: You remember Pale Ale’s right? Sometime in the late 90s early 2000s, they were all the rage and we, beer geeks, boasted of their bold, hops flavor. Now, Pale Ales have gone the way of flip phones and Myspace. The craft-beer community has transitioned to more and more hops like drug addicts in search of a more powerful bitter high. In ten years, we might find ourselves grazing in fields of hops and forgetting all about the fermenting process — and I’ll be the one leading the charge. I love hops. Regardless, I enjoy Sierra Nevada’s classic Pale Ale. It is as smooth as the glass that bottles it and its light bitter hops and slightly sweet notes work harmoniously.
On a warm, sultry summer day, I’ll be near my grill, seasoning red meat, and saying “ahhhh” with every sip of my Sierra Pale Ale.
2) Colette Farmhouse Ale – Great Divide Brewing: I remember the first time I had this beer because, well, it was last week. This beer inspires you to get out of your chair and look out your back window for a Belgian farmer harvesting crops in your yard. The freshness of this beer is brilliantly maintained. It combines yeast and spice with notes of fruit — apricot and banana, I am pretty sure. The classic Belgian, bready-wheat taste is ever present, too. Add a little malt, and this is a winner for me.
In truth, I enjoy a variety of beers in the summer, including a multitude of summer seasonal varieties. But if I just want a good beer to enjoy while listening to the leaves rustle in the warm summer breeze, I’ll go with something a little lighter, a little sweeter, and something that quenches my thirst. (Much to the dismay of the “Most Interesting Man in the World,” who wants me to remain thirsty. That’s stupid.)
Wayne: @My favourite summer beer is Brewdog’s Dead Pony Club
It is quite simply the perfect summer beer. Why? Its only 3.8% but is jam packed with flavour. Inspired by west coast IPAs the guys at Brewdog have harnessed those vibrant citrus flavours and aroma. Squeezing so much flavour into a beer of this abv is quite the achievement, no wonder Martin Dickie is so proud of it.
Plus on those hot summer days, its not too heavy that you’ll be feeling the effects very quickly. In can’s this thing sings. Full of Flavour, and makes you want more.
With Brewdog’s planned expansion to Columbus, OH, more and more American Craft Beer drinking fans will be able to enjoy this beer.
Interested in finding out what kind of summer beer you are?
We are always looking for new contributors. Send me a note to start your journey on the Sommbeer team. email: firstname.lastname@example.org