Three Great Beers For Summer Sipping

Photo: nwbeerguide/Flickr/Creative Commons License

As of June 21st, your seasonal slumber was officially over. The sunshine and heat are here to stay for several more months, which means you need a beer that's going to keep you going. And not just some watered-down lawnmower beer -- something crisp and refreshing, with a light body and medium alcohol percentage so that you don't pass out in the sand by 3 p.m. There are plenty of fantastic summer beer drinking options, but here are three that you should keep an eye out for, the next time you're picking up a twelve-pack on the way to a BBQ.

Hangar 24's Belgian Summer Ale

As part of Hangar 24's rotating seasonals, the Belgian Summer Ale is actually an offshoot of the Redlands-based brewery's third anniversary ale. It's a citrusy, funky brew that clocks in at 5.8% alcohol, a bit higher than typical session beers but nothing that'll make you foggy right away. The best part of Hangar 24's Belgian Summer Ale is its easy-drinking complexity. Despite maintaining a light pour and keeping your tongue sharp, the embedded pineapple and bubblegum hints are undeniably intriguing. This is a slightly spicy Belgian addition to your fridge, with the sort of tart finish that's perfect for passing around at a backyard BBQ.

21st Amendment's Hell or High Watermelon

Far from being a "stunt beer," San Francisco's 21st Amendment has actually managed to brew a relaxed beer that just happens to give off the flavor of watermelon. There are other tastes as well, including wheat and base citrus. And don't worry, there's nothing pink about this beer; the 4.9% ABV drinker pours a golden straw color, with cloudy touches throughout and virtually no head. Sure, Hell or High Watermelon is perhaps a bit sweeter than you might be used to (especially during a run of hot days come mid-August), but the simple fruit flavors and balanced wheat backbone make this summer seasonal an easy drinking lesson in refinement. Watching the kids make sandcastles and the beach and want to sneak a sip? At less than 5% alcohol, you can enjoy its summery flavors without worry.

Firestone Walker's Pivo Pils

When you've had your fill of citrus and wheat, opt for the 7% ABV Pivo Pils from Firestone Walker. As a new addition to the summertime beer drinking market, this German-style Pilsner pours a clean yellow and packs a hoppy punch. Not too strong, mind you, but the true noble German hop flavor will definitely let you know they're there. As the most crisp option listed here, Pivo Pils is spicy without being overwhelming, hoppy without being intimidating, and refreshing without drying you out. Toasted malts help to round out this easy -rinking Pilsner, which makes a six pack easy to handle among friends. And with just a touch of lemongrass, you can step out of the sun with a pint in hand and still feel like you're sipping sunshine.

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About the Author

Farley Elliott is a freelance food writer and comedian. He currently writes for KCET.org, SeriousEats.com, LAist.com, and L.A. Weekly. You can catch Farley doing comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Hollywood.
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