As summer nears, I notice a lot of “Best Summer Beers” or “DFW Summer Seasonals” articles out there. Unfortunately I have noticed several draft only beers that carry a walloping 8% or 9% ABV on those lists. I don’t know about you, but when it’s 100F out there and I’m heading to my pool, I simply want to grab something I can easily stock in my fridge.
Growlers are great, but I don’t want to drive to the nearest growler station, fill it up with 64 Oz. of 9% beer and then have to consume it quickly before it goes flat and/or warm while I’m sitting pool side.
So my criteria for a good local summer beer are:
- Under 6% ABV. Heat only intensifies the effects of alcohol and I want to enjoy beer. Not pass out.
- Readily available. It has to be bottled and/or canned and readily available at a decent beer store
With those two criteria in mind, here’s 10 beers you are most likely to find in my fridge this summer. Stock up for July 4th !
- Sundial Session IPA: First time I had this I called it a “Mosaic light” and was promptly corrected by the brewing staff. So I won’t call it that anymore, but it’s really just as awesome. A lighter amber color but with the same grapefruit and citrusy hop notes we have come to love from their Mosaic IPA, this 4.5% ABV beer should be a regular staple in your fridge all summer long. Brats anyone ?
- Razzy: What I love about this beer is that it is not a cloyingly sweet or uber tart raspberry beer. Too many fruit beers fall in either one of those two extremes, but Razzy is so well balanced and lets you remember it is based on their world class Wit. Should go well with an fruitbowl or perhaps some vanilla ice cream with Strawberry topping
- Wit: I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m a fan of this beer. And given the witbier history and my heritage, no surprise it’s a summer favorite of mine. Just drink it whenever. No food pairing necessary
- Easy Peasy IPA: At 5%, this is somewhere in the middle of the pack of our summer beers. Labeled a session IPA, it boasts some nice citrusy notes and the lemon peel is clearly noticeable. Should go well with some grilled fish.
- Neato Bandito: Even though this clocks in at exactly 6%, which I set as my upper limit, it’s still a very drinkable lager. A crisp lager with some body and sweetness to it clearly fits the Mexican Lager style it is representing. Goes well with that pulled pork taco you just had in your hand.
- Kristallweizen: Traditionally the Kristallweizen style are filtered Hefeweizen beers. Hence they still display the banana and clove characteristics from their unfiltered brethren. As a Belgian I’m more prone to drink the Belgian wheat beers, but I tend to keep it around for my friends who prefer the German wheats. And it does pair oh so nicely with a grilled shrimp skewer or those aforementioned brats.
- Zomer: Given that “zomer” is Flemish/Dutch for summer, the name says it all. At 4.8% it still boasts enough noble hop bitterness to be quite refreshing. Personally, I would love to see this beer year round as it just constantly reminds me of a well made lager the way Belgian lagers taste. I’ll put it right next to Community’s Wit and drink it whenever I’m thirsty
- Hopochondria: 3.5%, enough IBU’s to keep any hop lover happy. Nuff’ said. Should go well with any greek style salad. The only drawback ? I have to drive past my regular watering hole to pick up another six pack. I keep nagging the manager so hopefully that’ll change soon.
- Gateway Blonde: A beer that is too often just left by the way side. It’s about as sessionable and drinkable as one can get. Call me crazy, but I like it. The Noble hops are just barely there and it has a little bit of a tang that undoubtedly comes from the use of some acidulated malt. If you haven’t had one, you’re doing yourself and those hanging around your pool a disservice. Kinda goes well with anything grilled.
- Sidewinder Pale Ale: A pretty traditional pale ale that clocks in at exactly our upper limit of 6.0%. The citrus notes of the Citra hops are pretty up front and I find it overall a quite refreshing beer. Not the most popular one in their lineup and unfortunately too often overlooked.
There are some other beers that definitely come highly recommended for the summer. One that comes to mind immediately is The Collective Project’s Petite Golden Sour. But given that it’s not canned or bottled and a little more difficult to find, this one just didn’t make the list. The same goes for Peticolas Kolsch, which is an awesome summer beer, but unless you’re willing to make a trip to your local growler place, you’re out of luck. If we go outside of the local DFW breweries, many, many more choices abound. The most noteworthy are the Real Ale Hans Pils and Gose beers. Grab a six-pack when you see them. You won’t be disappointed.