10 Best Summer Beers for Sunny Evenings
It’s that time of year again. After a long winter of stouts and winter ales, bars and craft beer stores are once again starting to stock all the best summer beer selections. They are full of citrus, fruit, herbs and other fun flavors. These beers are usually very drinkable and appeal to a wide range of beer drinkers. They’re perfect for entertaining guests on the patio or enjoying paired with a delicious a meal.
We’ve gathered 10 of the best summer beer options for you to try this summer. Many of these are classic choices for the best summer beers — they’re loved every year by beer drinkers all over the country. They tend to feature fruit and citrus flavors. However, we’ve also featured seasonal beers that will appeal to beer drinkers who prefer something more subtle, sour or bitter. We’ve organized these 10 best summer beers by price, so you can find something for every budget.
10. Victory Brewing Company Sour Monkey
The Philadelphia-made Victory Sour Monkey sour beer is an American wild ale, with a funky sour taste that will appeal to the adventurous beer drinker. It’s a novel twist on the brewery’s popular summer beer, Golden Monkey. This one brings something new to the table, with sour, hoppy, and tart flavors. If you’re a fan of sour candy or other tart foods, you’ll love this beer paired with seafood. It’s 9.5% ABV.
9. Anderson Valley Summer Solstice
This is a cream ale from the Californian brewery Anderson Valley. Anderson Valley Summer Solstice is slightly sweet and malty, with hints of spice and caramel, and it’s a great example of a well-crafted cream ale with a smooth mouth feel. It’s not very bitter, so it’s easy to drink. It’s reminiscent of a cream soda, but nowhere near as cloyingly sweet. It would go perfectly with a cool dessert. This beer is 5% ABV.
8. Southern Tier Hop Sun
Souther Tier Hop Sun is a summer wheat beer, so it’s light on the palate and easy to drink. This one is hoppier than most wheat beers; it has some of the bitterness of an IPA. It strikes a balance between being a typical summer ale and having a stronger, interesting flavor. It has a wheaty, fruity and floral aroma to it. This is another great pick for those who aren’t fans of the typical summer wheat beer. It would pair well with rich desserts or seafood. This beer is 5.1% ABV.
7. Goose Island Summer Ale
Goose Island Summer Ale, brewed in Chicago, is an American pale ale (APA), so it balances hoppiness with subtle citrus and pine aromas. It’s bitter and yet has an almost fruity aftertaste to it. This beer has a dry finish and is not sweet. It seems it was tailor-made for pale ale and IPA lovers to enjoy on sweltering hot days. It’s drinkable and just the right amount of bitter. Try pairing it with spicy warm-weather fares, like kebabs, Thai food or BBQ. It’s 5% ABV.
6. Samuel Adams Summer Ale
Samuel Adams Summer Ale is an everyman’s beer, in the sense that it combines several typical summer flavors without leaning too heavily in any one direction. That makes it widely appealing and easy to drink. It’s slightly fruity, spicy, with lemon zest flavors. As a wheat beer, it’s light in flavor and has a refreshing taste. This is perfect for a hot day when you need one beer that most people will find drinkable. It would go great with brunch. It’s 5.3% ABV.
5. Goose Island Summertime Kolsch
This Goose Island beer is a Kolsch, which is a style of German blonde ale. It’s golden in color, slightly fruity, and has a grassy or hay-like aroma. It’s also bready and has hints of lemon. Goose Island Summertime Kolsch has the flavor profile of a summer beer, but it’s not explicitly fruity, which makes it a perfect option for those who aren’t into the typical summer shandy or fruit beer. It’d be wonderful as a complement to sweet-and-spicy summer foods like honey BBQ or mango curry. This beer is 5.1% ABV.
4. Hell or High Watermelon
Hell or High Watermelon is a fruit beer from California that’s available year-round but is just perfect for summer days. It’s a straw-colored wheat beer that comes in an unpretentious can and is 4.9% ABV. For those who love both watermelon and beer, this beer can’t get much better. It balances the two flavors perfectly, so it’s not overwhelmingly fruity — it still tastes like a beer, not a juice — but the watermelon is still the most forward flavor. This is an extremely easy drinker.
3. Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy
Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy is perhaps the most popular and highly-rated summer shandy available in most beer stores. It’s common enough to be easy to find, and it’s extremely drinkable and easy on the palate. It’s a shandy with lemon, so it definitely leans heavily on the fruity side. It’s a balanced beer that pairs well with summertime BBQ or a day at the beach. Drink this shandy with anything that you’d pair with a delicious summer lemonade. This shandy is 4.2% ABV.
2. Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale
The Farmhouse Summer Ale is an easy drinker. It’s a typical blonde ale, golden in color with earthy, spicy flavors and a creamy mouth feel. It’s also slightly floral, herbal and fruity. This beer is great for those who don’t want the average fruity summer shandy but also don’t want an unusual tasting beer either. It’s simple — it has all the flavors you’d expect in a summer ale, and nothing particularly innovative — but it’s well-made, delicious, and affordable. This would go great with sausages or sweet-and-spicy fare. It’s a 4.6% ABV beer and is $5.99 for a six-pack.
1. Abita Strawgator
The Abita Strawgator fruit beer out of Louisiana is designed for hot summer days when you need something fruity but balanced, light but not boring. If there is anything more quintessentially summer than fresh strawberries, we’re not sure what it is. This beer captures that flavor by adding strawberry juice to a golden lager base. It’s no weak beer at 8% ABV but is fruity enough to appeal to everyone at the summer BBQ. It’s a perfect dessert beer for drinking with ice-cold sorbet.
When you think of the best summer beer, you might think of fruity-heavy wheat beers only. Those can be truly delicious, but there’s a whole world of seasonal beers out there that are perfect for summer. These 10 best summer beers accommodate all tastes. If you’ve tried any of these 10 best summer beers, definitely let us know your thoughts! If you have your own pick for the best summer beer, we want to hear those too.