Top 10 Summer Beers: The Reckoning

It’s hot. The a/c is broken and all the exhaust fan seems to do is leave you feeling exhausted. Your friend with the pool is out of town and doesn’t want you breaking in to throw a wild pool party again after he had to hire a contractor to remove the keg that was embedded in his kitchen wall last time. Or does that just happen to me? So how do you cool off? I’m glad I asked. Here are the top 10 best beers to cool off with this summer, in no particular order.

10. Grey Sail Flying Jenny — I know that Captain’s Daughter is a huge hit right now, and it’s a damn fine beer, but for a hot day, the Flying Jenny is the perfect balance of light, crisp and just hoppy enough to make things interesting without overpowering my palate.

9. Berkshire Brewing Company Busker Czech Style Pilsner — This gorgeous little pilsner is so delectable in the warm weather, and I’m always sorry to see it go when its seasonal status runs out. Grab it while you can.


8. Founders All Day IPA — This famous session IPA has set the gold standard for session beers. That’s not to say there aren’t other great session beers, but this lovely beats the heat with a light, perfect hop kiss.

7. Harpoon Take Five — This crisp little session IPA hits all the right notes. Sweet malt carries the tingly hops and leaves a pleasant resin on the tongue. I think I will take five now, but pacing is important. I have six more to go.

6. Ithaca Daydreamer Kolsch — Remember when Kolsch were low ABV and IPAs were the high-octane brews? I guess that’s over. This beer is light, sweet and just a bit tangy with a good maltiness. Good for that summer evening when the sun goes down and that heavy, muggy air begins to cool.

5. Otter Creek Over Easy — A maltier, smoother pale ale with a subtle hop flavor that lingers on the palate. This lovely golden brew leaves a pleasant tingle, and the low ABV (4.6%) means you can enjoy this brew early and often throughout the hot days and muggy nights.

4. Heavy Seas Loose Cannon – Now that it’s available in cans, this uppity little Imperial IPA can quench your thirst anywhere. The highly citrusy brew could fool one into thinking there’s grapefruit involved, but we beer nerds know there’s no fruit loaded into this barrel.

3. Proclamation Derivative — An excellent hop nose on this sweet brew. A wonderfully complex hop bouquet mixes floral notes with just a hint of citrus. While it’s billed as a pale ale, this brew could easily pass as an IPA. The 6% ABV means you should sip and savor this flavor, but a true beer nerd wouldn’t need to be told that. I like the Mosaic version just a bit more than the Galaxy, but please try both and decide for yourself.

2. Stone’s Arrogant Bastard – This hoppy little favorite has been a standard go-to of mine for many a year. While it is a strong little brew, it’s a perfect way to cap off a long day of yard work or a day out at the beach, whatever your particular work ethic is.

1. Mayflower Summer Rye — I’ve rarely met a rye I didn’t like, and while I would normally prefer a more full-bodied brew in general, this lightly crisp little brew really hits the spot when the temperatures climb. The light rye crispness comes in on the end, making this light brew perfect for the sweaty days.

And not a single shandy on the list.