It’s hard not to love day drinking. The sun’s shining and there’s massive amounts of animal sizzling on the grill, sending smoke signals to your neighbors, saying, “Come on by.” The cornhole boards are out and you’re dominating, bag in one hand and cold beer in the other while Zac Brown’s “Homegrown” blasts from the speaker in the background. There’s just nothing better.
As the weather warms, throwing a few back in the yard with some friends becomes the norm, but one that requires beer fit for the long haul. Leave the triple-hopped, barrel-aged double IPAs at home. You need suds that are super crushable yet don’t sacrifice any flavor.
We’ve taken the liberty of taste-testing a few brews in this exact setting, and here are the ones you should have chilling in the cooler when your friends come calling…
Island Coastal Lager (4.5 % ABV): Whether your backyard is on the water or not, Island Coastal Lager will immediately transport you there. ICL is a light and crisp lager with an almost bread-like quality. More than just a delicious beer, it is a lifestyle encouraging everyone to take it easy and enjoy the good times.
2 Roads Lil Heaven Session IPA (4.8%): This well-balanced session beer will turn your backyard drinking forays into something heavenly. The hop blend creates a citrusy, particularly grapefruit flavor, making for a tasty brew that is quite refreshing on warm summer days.
Upslope Rocky Mountain Kolsch (5.1%): With après everything as their motto, Upslope knows how to live life to the fullest and enjoy every minute of it. Holding true to its German roots, this kolsch is as easy drinking as they come. However, the slightly hoppy lemony flavor combined with a touch of Colorado honey adds a unique touch.
Good People Brewing Company Muchacho Mexican Lager (4.8%): A Muchacho like this one is sure to be la vida de la fiesta. It’s an easy-drinking Mexican lager, super light and sessionable with a bit of a grainy taste and slight hints of lemon that is perfect for those hazy, lazy days. Put some Muchachos on ice while you slice up some lime wedges, then enjoy.
Cape May Corrosion (6.5%): Described as the beer geek’s perfect brew, Corrosion is a must for any warm day. Not too tart and not too hoppy, this kettle-soured IPA offers up the perfect balance between the sour and IPA worlds. The hops give it a nice bit of bite and some citrus flavor with a lingering tang from the sour that will have you craving more.
Bell’s Oberon Ale (5.8%): I first tried this beer because its name was similar to that of a character on Game of Thrones. That may have got me in the door, but its deliciousness has kept me there. A wheat ale with a spicy hop character that balances well with citrus juices, Oberon slays thirst whether you’re in the Seven Kingdoms or your own backyard.
Lakefront Eazy Teazy (3.4%): At only 99 calories and 3.4% ABV, Eazy Teazy seems a bit questionable but surprisingly delivers the goods. The lemondrop hops balance out really well with the double dose of tea Lakefront uses to brew the beer, making it a light, refreshing option for day-long backyard boozing.
Red Rock Brewing Frohlich (5.5%): This brew is as traditional as a German pilsner can get, which is good because the Germans know a thing or two about drinking copious amounts of beer. It’s an easy drinking pils with a light, bread-like quality that finishes clean and dry.
Holy City Brewing Pedishaw (4.1%): The first Berliner Weisse and kettle-soured beer offered by Holy City hits the spot when the temps start to rise. For those who don’t like sours, this one is entry level since it is not as tart as most. With hints of tangy lemon and an almost creamy quality, Pedishaw is quite drinkable and delicious.
pFriem Family Brewers Bright Pale Ale (5%): This super crushable beer is like sunshine in a bottle. Bursting with juicy hop goodness, it boasts a blend of fruit flavors like pineapple, lemon, melon and grapefruit. There’s even a surprising hint of white grapes. This mélange proves both invigorating and enjoyable.
Avondale Brewing Company Spring Street Saison (7.2%): Not overly wild as far as saisons go, ABC’s flagship brew is a medium-bodied, easy-drinking beer. Spicy, peppery flavors don’t overpower the sweetness but actually balance it out quite well. The ABV may be a bit high, but the flavors make it worth a try on a hot day.
Roadhouse Brewing Company Family Vacation (4.9%): This blonde ale features the perfect harmony of lemon, orange zest and biscuits. Light, bright and flavorful, it will have you wanting to turn your family vacation into a staycation, right in your own backyard.
Foolproof Brewing Company Backyahd IPA (6%): Grilling in your New England Backyahd, or any backyard? This is your beer. A well-balanced IPA that is slightly piney with notes of citrus and a lingering sweetness throughout, it begs to be held in one hand while you’ve got a spatula in the other.
Breakside Brewery Rainbows and Unicorns IPA (5.1%): Made with flaked rice and three newer hop varietals, Rainbows and Unicorns is a lighter, juicier, eminently quaffable IPA. With a head that is a touch creamy (thanks to the rice flakes) and a pale malt quality that opens up into a burst of tropical fruit flavor, this beer lives up to its name.
Lagunitas Sumpin’ Easy Ale (5.7%): You’re in in for the long haul, so you’ll definitely need Sumpin’ Easy to guarantee you won’t end up face down on your patio. One-of-a-kind Ekuanot hops fill this brew with a slightly wheaty taste and tons of stone fruit flavors. Not unlike all these beers, it’s as backyard-friendly as they come.
Lead photo: Getty Images/Westend61