The 6 Best Beers of Summer

Summer is a time when you kick back, cook out, mow the lawn and stick your toes in various bodies of water. All these activities are best done with a cold brew in your hands, of course, and we’re not talking imperial stouts and barley wines. Instead, load your fridge with this six-pack of quaffable craft beers, and you’ll be in vacation mode all season long…

Boulevard Brewing Co. ZON Wheat. It does a beer good. And KC’s finest brewer knows a thing or two about this key ingredient. That’s why you need to sip their Belgian-style witbier, which has a strong malt backbone and hints of orange peel and spicy coriander. Try it with seafood. Or any way you want it, hoss.

Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy Summertime means shandy time. A shandy (also known as a radler) is brewed with lemons or natural lemon flavor. Leine’s version kinda drinks like a soda, but the malt from the wheat keeps one foot over in beer land. And at an easy 4.2 percent, you won’t have to worry about burning the hot dogs on the grill.

New Belgium Brewing Shift A common reward around many brewhouses (and many jobs, really) is the end of shift beer. Relatively new to New Belgium’s portfolio, Shift is where pale ale meets lager. That means you’ll get some citrus from the hops and a bit of a biscuity bite from the pale malts. Serve with bratwurst and spicy mustard.

Ska Brewing Mexican Logger This American craft brewer’s take on the classic Mexican lager boasts a Saaz hops that imparts a spicy herbal-ness to the beer. It’s the perfect cerveza to crack after cutting the lawn on a scorchin’ hot day, best when canned, cold and ready for consumption—and it doesn’t need no stinkin’ lime…

Mother Earth Brewing Endless River The German-born kölsch style is very simply a clean, crisp-tasting, sessionable brew. I like to refer to Endless River as “deck beer,” because I find I most enjoy it sitting on a deck staring out at the ocean. But no matter where you are, this 5 percent-er goes down great with a shrimp po’ boy.

Southern Tier Brewing Company Hop Sun This light-bodied wheat ale gets a twist with the addition of hop, which imparts earthy citrus notes. Best to pour this into a glass, as the thick head really allows the aroma to breathe. It’s a thirst-quenchin’, easy-drinkin’ brew that goes great with a caprese salad. A very manly caprese salad, of course.