Summertime and the living is easy. It’s beer’s season to shine bright as the sun—and that means that the widest range of styles fits whatever’s on your lunch or dinner plates, so long as they’re spritely enough to lead into another one. And then, probably one more still.
flickr: Chris Kim
Fugli 5.8%. Japanese Yuzu fruit is all the rage in citrus-infused IPAs. Add in a little Jamaican ugli fruit, dial down the alcohol a bit, and you’ve got an eminently refreshing, satisfying summer IPA that still appeases the hop lovers. Serve alongside chicken skewers marinated in this beer and OJ.
Hop’Rageous 6.5%. Whether it’s a cider for IPA fans or something beery for cider drinkers, this dry cider gains some sharp complexity from the addition of Citra hops and citrus peel, lending an exotic grapefruit and bergamot finish. Enjoy with a cheese plate or a cheeseburger.
Noble Prize Imperial Pilsner 7.5%. No delicate Czech pilsner here, this imperial or double-strength pilsner wears its alcohol content on its sleeve, and the all-pilsner-malt bill provides a formidable base for bready notes with cracked pepper and a bagfull of lawn clippings courtesy of extra Saaz hops. Serve alongside grilled steak and spinach salad with goat cheese.
3-Way IPA 7%. When three Pacific Northwest breweries (Fort George, Great Notion, Reuben’s) get together to collaborate on a New England–style IPA, the result is expectedly bodacious in its stone fruit and passion fruit essence, which permeates this hazy hop bomb.
Session IPA 4.5%. While many session IPAs cram all the hop bitterness and flavor into a quasi half-strength beer, this one tiptoes into the bitterness pool with subtle touches of grapefruit peel tempered by a floral and herbal swipe across the tongue that makes for a suitable companion to many salads or starters.
Violet 7.4%. Fresh out of Florida comes this barrel-aged blueberry sour ale. Nicknamed Sourglass for its mixed fermentation beers, the repeated additions of the fruit to this funky cocktail ensures it stays blueberry-forward as well as blueberry-backward, making it an intriguing complement to cheesecake or a chocolate tort.
Hemp Gose 5.1%. In true gose fashion, the lactic acid provides the dominant character with the gose style’s salt content contributing a tinge of sharp, metallic salinity. It’s believed Kentucky is America’s second-largest producer of hemp and, while it’s devoid of psychotropic properties, a faint woodiness rounds out this beer. Would it go with a Hot Brown sandwich? Perhaps.
American Wheat 5%. Rather than proffer banana and clove phenolics like its Bavarian brother, this wheat ale is slightly lemony and heavily smacking of wheat toast. It’s built for maximum smooth sipping in the sun.