Few things say summer like enjoying a nice cold beer paired with a delicious meal underneath the evening sun. Actually, that is an excellent idea regardless of the season. There are, though, certain beers that are particularly perfect for fending off sweltering heat, while also excelling at washing down classic summer treats. Plus, you’ve always looked good holding a pint in a lawn chair. Here are five of our favorites for this bright, happy, season.
Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Deschutes Brewing Co, Bend, OR
While traveling England in the late 80′s, Deschutes founder Gary Fish purchased a mother strain of English Ale yeast. This proprietary sugar muncher is now used on mostly all of Deschutes’ beers, giving them a unique, but shared and recognizable flavor that keeps customers coming back, regardless the beer. Mirror Pond Pale Ale has been around since nearly the beginning and is the company’s flagship beer. The light amber color, sweet malt flavor and enticing hop aroma and taste combine to form one of the most deliciously drinkable beers on the planet, especially during summer. While out on the patio of your favorite watering hole, order up some wings and a pitcher of Mirror Pond. The pale ale always pairs well with chicken, and Mirror Pond has just enough bitter kick to combat the wings’ spiciness.
Krankshaft Kolsch, Metropolitan Brewing Co, Chicago, IL
The Koslch is a unique German beer, traditional brewed in Cologne. It has properties of a lager, like many German beers, but it is actually an Ale, meaning it is top-fermented at higher temps, relative to a lager. The secret is the Koelsch yeast, which acts to give the beer a very clean finish expected in a lager. Perhaps the yeast had a confused upbringing; we won’t judge. This yeast is also the secret to the crisp, citrus flavors found in the beer. Metropolitan brews theirs with a hint of wheat and hops it with the German noble hop, Tettang. The product is a light, staw-colored beer that finishes extremely smooth, capped with a beautiful hop aroma. Invite your buddies over and grill up some halibut and veggies. The light profile and citrus flavors of the beer match up perfectly with white fish and a tummy saving side like grilled asparagus.
Dead Guy Ale, Rogue Brewing Co, Newport, OR
Dead Guy Ale can be a confusing title for beer enthusiasts, because Rogue lists the style as Maibock, which is traditionally a lager, not an ale. The company, though, first created this brew in the early 90′s with its proprietary PacMan Ale yeast, and thus the ale in the title. So, let’s just say it is a Maibock-inspired beer and focus on drinking it. Ale or lager, all that matters to you is how tasty it is. Dead Guy has a very pretty pour, filling the glass with a deep honey color, topped with a strong, white head. It finishes with a bit more hop flavor than a traditional bock, but rules were meant to be broken. Our favorite quality of the brew is its super-sweet malty profile. This beer has plenty of flavor to stand up against spicy foods, but we recommend pairing it with a sweet summer dish like BBQ pulled-pork sandwich or some BBQ chicken nachos. Just add sunny, blue skies for a perfect day.
Summerfest Lager, Sierra Nevada Brewing, Co, Chico, CA
Sierra Nevada has been doing this for a long time, at least compared to American craft brewers. This year they celebrate their 30th birthday. Mostly known for their IPA, this brewing giant also kicks out a number of wonderful, yet overshadowed beers. The Summerfest Lager is one seasonal that should not be overlooked. Summerfest is a pilsner-style lager which Sierra Nevada allows to lager for an extra-long period, giving it a very smooth and crisp taste. Don’t, however, write this beer off with light, bland pilsners you may have had in the past. Sierra Nevada doesn’t do wimpy, so even its pilsner has a very noticeable hop aroma and bitterness, contained in light orange body, balanced with a nice malt taste. Easy-drinking and thirst-quenching, pick up a 6-pack of Summerfest to chase down your burgers at your next rooftop BBQ party.
Two Hearted Ale, Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo, MI
For craft beer enthusiasts, it just wouldn’t be summer without a deliciously hoppy IPA. The Two Hearted Ale from Bell’s is just that. At 7% ABV, it is a big beer, but remains very inviting. A golden orange pour with an off-white head, this beer lures you in with its powerful smell. It is impossible to ignore the hops storming your nose, and you must taste where they are coming from. The first drink is surprisingly easy, not painfully bitter as you may have expected. A hint of grapefruit jumps out and you, intrigued, are forced to continue drinking. Halfway through the six-pack, you a certain it is summertime and thankful to all brewers providing delicious craft beer. The Two Hearted Ale has plenty of bite to stand up against the spiciest of summer fare and we suggest you put it to the test. Head to your favorite sushi joint and order some spicy tuna (or whatever spicy option you prefer). A little East meets Midwest. Nice.