Come summer time, it’s hard to find an excuse to not crack open a beer.
Once the humidity and heat lay over Gainesville like a blanket, the best refuge is to enjoy a light, refreshing brew on the porch and talk about rites of summer like an upcoming baseball game or a trip down the river.
Not quite ready to trade in your stout for a lighter beer? Light beer may be associated with zero flavors for some big-name companies, but not in the world of craft beer.
Fresh, flavorful and a fun reminder of carefree summer drinking, summer-release beers are a perfect companion to light studying during reading days or post-exam celebrating at the pool. Brisk lagers and summer ales tailored to help you beat the heat should already be lining the shelves of your go-to beer store, but, if not, keep an eye out for the summer takeover in the coming weeks.
Here are my picks for some of the best summer releases to throw in your cooler or fridge.
Bell’s Oberon Ale, 5.8 percent alcohol per volume
Summer drinking is all about session beers, and this is one of the best. This pale wheat ale is balanced between malted wheat flavor and a zip of tartness from Saaz hops. The result is a well-rounded golden brew perfect for knocking a few bottles back while manning the grill or kicking off a camping trip.
Swamp Head Brewery Springboard, 5.7 percent alcohol per volume
This wily blonde ale prefers to make its first impression with a malty sweetness any beer lover can appreciate. It pours a pale golden color with a frothy head and a bite of carbonation with each sip. Make it even more summery by adding in a few slices of fruit or a sprinkle of spices. It’s a solid choice for anyone who loves a good, local-session beer.
Sierra Nevada Summerfest, 5 percent alcohol per volume
A pilsner-style lager that tastes extra smooth thanks to a longer lagering period, this medium-bodied brew blends floral hops, citric hops and a touch of malts. It’s fruity but not sickingly so. Pop off the cap, and you’ll be greeted with a grassy aroma and a delicate finish on your first sip. What more could you want from a summer-inspired beer?
Breckenridge Summerbright, 4.5 percent alcohol per volume
An easy-drinking golden ale brewed with white wheat and orange and lemon peels to create a taste as bright as the smiling sun on its colorful label. Clean and refreshing, it’s a safe addition to the shopping cart if you’re looking for casual sipping while working outdoors.
Stone Levitation Ale, 4.4 percent alcohol per volume
This rich-colored brew is light, crisp and bursting with hoppy grapefruit flavors paired with toasted barley. It was a gold-medal winner at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival in the red-amber category, proving that its hops can stand up against the heavyweights.
Do you have a favorite summer seasonal? Let me know in the comment section or tweet me @Beer4_Breakfast.
Posts in Beer for Breakfast appear on Fridays.
This pale wheat ale is balanced between malted wheat flavor and a zip of tartness from Saaz hops.