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Summer is here, and as the weather heats up, beer drinkers are changing up their styles. While the winter months call for rich, complex, dark beers such as stouts and porters, in the summer, most of us just want something light, refreshing and on the crisper side of the spectrum. This can include different styles of lager, pale ale and even fruit- and spice-infused beer.
“Just like any other beverage, the right selection [of summer beer] is very situational,” says Craig Schoettler, the executive director of beverage for MGM Resorts International. “If I’m sitting at a pool in the hot Vegas weather in July, I want something sessionable, low-alcohol and easy-drinking,” adding that a stout or IPA may cause palate fatigue. He also suggests checking out lower-ABV options and beers that are less bitter, including fruit beers.
This season, there are plenty of new releases from breweries both large and small to satisfy every drinker’s palate, from simple yet bright American lagers to a low-calorie option that’s perfectly refreshing after a long hike or a swim. These are seven beers you should sip this summer.
1. Blue Point Imperial Sunshine Blonde Ale ($13/6-pack)
The latest from Blue Point Brewing, this blond ale is brewed with orange peel and orange puree, lending it prominent citrus notes. It might fall on the stronger side of the spectrum with an ABV of 9.6% but still drinks like a more sessionable beer and doesn’t overpower with its sunny flavor. And although Imperial Sunshine was released in time for summer, it will join the Blue Point lineup as a year-round offering.
2. Elysian Rolling Stone Lager ($12/6-pack)
Seattle’s Elysian Brewing Company partnered up with iconic music magazine Rolling Stone to celebrate the power of music in our everyday lives, according to Elysian co-founder Joe Bisacca. Brewed with cascade, crystal and mandarina bavaria hops, this lager is a bold beer with a slight hoppy and bitter bite that unfolds over crisp citrus and honey flavors.
3. Jack’s Abby Shipping Out of Boston ($10/6-pack)
This beer from Massachusetts brewery Jack’s Abby came out in January, but don’t let the winter release date fool you. With its sweet, malty flavor base with bread and caramel notes, this is a good beer to drink all summer long. Shipping Out of Boston is an amber lager the brewery says was inspired by the manufacturing history of New England.
4. Lone Star Brewing Rio Jade Lager ($8/6-pack)
Mexican lager is the go-to warm-weather beer choice for many. Lone Star has now entered the field with its new Rio Jade release, the first seasonal beer from the company. The brewery is calling this Mexican-style lager “the new taste of Texas.” Expect a sweet flaked-maize flavor with spicy, floral and citrus notes.
5. New Holland Lake & Trail Lager ($10/6-pack)
Lake & Trail is returning to the New Holland family of beers this spring. It’s a lower-ABV copper lager at 4.7%, with just a hint of sweet maltiness, explicitly created with the outdoors in mind. In fact, New Holland sponsoringed Trail to Table fundraising dinners featuring Lake & Trail to benefit Michigan state parks. Although those may be on hold for now, this summer is a great time to revisit this lager.
6. Rogue Ales & Spirits Dreamland American Lager ($10/6-pack)
Rogue is best known for its classic Dead Guy Ale, a German maibock-style beer. But this summer, check out the new Dreamland American lager, an easy-drinking beer that’s both vibrant and refreshing. The concept and the art on the can comes courtesy of a collaboration with Dreamland Skateparks, who worked with Rogue to renovate a skate park in the brewery’s hometown of Newport, Ore. A portion of the beer’s proceeds will benefit other skate park projects around the world.
7. Sufferfest Shred Kolsch ($13/6-pack)
Sufferfest, which focuses on low-calorie beers, was acquired by Sierra Nevada last year. This light and bright new release, clocking in at just 95 calories per can, is a Kolsch-style beer brewed with cayenne and honey—flavors that take a supporting rather than a starring role here.