The start of summer is also the beginning of vacation season. June, July, and August are prime months for travel. National Parks and tourist traps all over the US (and well beyond) will be crowded shoulder-to-shoulder by selfie-taking, cargo-short wearing, flip-flop-in-a-restaurant-wearing tourists.
For bartenders, summer is exactly the same as the rest of the year. Except hotter. They’ll be the ones mixing your cocktails and pouring your beers while you’re on your dream vacation in San Diego, NYC, or Omaha (don’t hate, perogies are bomb AF). In fact, summer might just be the toughest season for your local bartenders. After a long night, your favorite mixologists are tired, sweaty, physically drained and (if they aren’t heading right home to fall headfirst into bed) ready for a nightcap.
That’s why we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us their go-to after-work beers to savor all summer long. Check out all of their answers below.
Montauk Summer Ale
Nikki McCutcheon, beverage director at Moxy Time Square in New York City
After a long day, Montauk Summer Ale or Montauk Watermelon beer are my favorite – depending on my mood. Both are equally refreshing and delicious when unwinding after a long day, enjoyed best on the beach or a rooftop!
Circle Blur Hefeweizen
Shane DeForest , bar manager at the SPOT in San Marcos, Texas
This is where it gets tough. I’m a beer guy. *The* beer guy. Most “beer guys” struggle with the go-to beer option. It’s a day-by-day feeling, and today’s feeling is Circle Blur. We just got this hefeweizen, from Austin, on tap and it’s hard to pick anything else over it.
It’s not just a good day drinking in the sun beer, but a great compliment to any meal at dinner.
Lauren Swan-Potras, head bartender at Roof at Park South in New York City
I love drinking light, Mexican beers during the summer. Maybe it is because summer to me is the easy-going feeling of sitting at the beach, a Michelada is my go-to. Tecate is a great michelada mixer because of its super light drinkability. Any hot sauce pairs great with it.
Golden Road Tart Mango Cart
Laura Mitchell, bar lead at Beer Park in Las Vegas
Summer is a time for light, fruit beer. That’s why I prefer a Golden Road Tart Mango Cart after work. It’s delicious and not too filling. A tajín salted rim adds some savory to the sweet, for a nice little twist.
Coors Banquet Beer
Matt McPeak, head bartender at Vandyke Bed & Beverage in Nashville
After work, I drink anything cheap and cold. Usually a Coors Banquet, affectionately referred to around here as a “cold gold.” If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Am I right?
Pinthouse Electric Jellyfish
Jason Banks, bar manager at Krause’s Cafe + Biergarten in New Braunfels, Texas
Most of the time it’s an Ice cold Lonestar longneck, but I have found the Shangri-La of beers, It’s called Electric Jellyfish from Pinthouse Pizza in Austin, Texas. It’s a super hazy New England Style IPA that pours opaque yellow-gold with a fluffy white head, smells like tropical fruits and citrus, pretty much the same on the palate except throw in a little more mango and pineapple with a malty back end. Great refreshing beer to beat the Texas Heat!
Destihl Synchopathic Sour
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Cameron Shaw, head bartender at The Lookup in New York City
Synchopathic Sour from Destihl Brewery is my go-to after work beer any time it’s even the slightest bit warm out. I love the big citrus notes from the dry hopping and the tart finish from the sour. (Hint: it’s also delicious if you sweeten it up with a splash of Aperol. Just take a swig out of the can to make room for the Aperol and save yourself the glass to wash.)
Founders Breakfast Stout
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• Founders Breakfast Stout 🥣 • ……………………………………. Cervejaria: Founders Brewing Company País: Michigan, USA 🇺🇸. Estilo: Stout ABV (Teor alcoólico): 8,3% IBU (Amargor): 60 Ratebeer: 100/92 ……………………………………. @foundersbrewing @foundersbrewinges #founders #foundersbrewing #foundersbreakfaststout #breakfaststout #stout #americanbeer
Chris Heinrich, Lead Bartender at Tre Rivali in Milwaukee
Summer beers after work: I know this might sound mildly off-season, but I often love beginning the end to my summer night with a Founders Breakfast Stout. Often in the mix: New Glarus’s Strawberry Rhubarb, Anderson Valley’s Briney Melon Gose, Founder’s Rubaeus, and of course, being in Milwaukee, an ice-cold Miller High Life.
Samuel Adams Summer Ale
James Lee, director of food and beverage at The Graham Washington DC
My go-to after work summer beer? It has to be Samuel Adams Summer Ale. Another fruity blend beer that’s refreshing on a scorching humid day here in DC.
Josh Cameron, head bartender at Boulton & Watt in New York City
If I have to be up with the sun the next day, whether it’s for a shift or for a run, I need to go easy the night before. So when I finish a shift, but still want a conversation or some zone-out at my local spot, I sip on Guinness. It’s low enough proof, with enough flavor to slow me down, and keep me in that moment.
Brett Jones, owner of Barracuda in New Orleans
After work drinks in the summer requires a cold beer. Specifically, cold Modelo. I don’t know why, but I love Modelo. It’s the Mexican lager we sell at the restaurant, and it’s just right.
Einstock White Ale
Samy Berdai, head mixologists at Boulud Sud in New York City
I like Einstock White Ale from Iceland. It’s refreshing, light, slightly bitter and citrusy, and the coriander is something I love too.