It’s hard to define what makes the perfect summer beer. Suds are subjective. You’re unique and so is your palate. Still, there are a few core elements we look for in an iconic May-September brew. First and foremost? Low ABV. Summer drinking often starts as day-drinking and stretches well into the night, you simply can’t be pounding high ABV beers in that scenario. Next, it needs to have a refreshing nature. That could mean anything from a classic adjunct lager like Miller Lite to a fancy-schmancy Berliner Weisse from your local craft brewery. Lastly, the beer has to be a crowdpleaser — pairing well with campfires, grilled food, and good times.
That’s a lot of pressure to put on one dang beer. So it’s important to remember that summer is meant for playing. Experiment! Test and re-test! Get weird with your picks until you find “the one” for you! With any luck you’ll have your perfect summer-session brew by August 1, then have a month to savor it. To help in your search, we’ve compiled our picks for the 19 essential beers of summer. We’ve broken our list up into three categories: 1) beers worth traveling for this summer, 2) craft brew you can score nationwide, and 3) international brews with an American presence.
Let’s dive in and get tipsy!