There’s really no better time of the year to have a beer than summer. For many reasons, though, brewmasters rarely go all out to make an amazing summer beer like they do for winter beers.
There are good ones out there and I tasted a few. Here’s my verdict on a summer six-pack:
The Portland, Ore., brewery’s summer ale is a drinkable, slightly hoppy American blonde ale. The citra hops are showcased early but fade fast and the finish is a bit unremarkable.
Perfect setting: After mowing the lawn, grab one of these beauties and enjoy its best attribute: refreshment.
The Portland, Ore., brewery calls this a “Bright Ale” and for good reason. Infused with lemongrass and yuzu, an East Asian citrus fruit, Summer Squeeze has a very light body, is refreshing and finishes clean. Just don’t expect to remember you drank it.
Perfect setting: The golf course. It’s refreshing but it won’t overshadow that eagle you shot on 14.
Sierra Nevada Summerfest
Like most of the beers from this Chico, Calif., brewery, Summerfest is a perfectly balanced beer. This pilsner-style lager is smooth and refreshing but also complex and hoppy.
Perfect setting: After a hard days’ work (or play), crack open one of these on the porch and watch the sun go down. You deserve it.
The seasonal selection from this Seattle brewery has a flowery aroma and flavor and goes down easy with just a slight bitterness.
Perfect setting: At a wedding. Not too heavy or bitter, this is a beer you can drink and drink and drink, so camp out by the keg and toast away.
Unlike most summer seasonals, this beer from the Bend, Ore., brewery is more of a pale ale than a lager. With a solid malt backbone and distinctive hoppy flavor, Twilight is bigger than most summer beers.
Perfect setting: At the seafood cookout. Twilight’s depth won’t back down in the face of that tasty piece of smoked salmon.
This beer from the Snoqualmie brewery calls itself a “Pre-Prohibition Pilsner,” but from its creamy head to its dark rich color, it’s a pilsner in name only. Like Twilight, it’s more of a pale ale than pilsner.
Perfect setting: With a picnic on the beach. Snoqualmie’s Summer Beer goes best with food, so pair it with some prosciutto, olives and a nice cheese.