Life

Chase Down These August Craft Beer Releases Before Summer Wanes

As far as the brewing world is concerned, summer is over. August isn’t when more hot-weather thirst quenchers are dropped. It’s the month when two big fall releases start to hit shelves: pumpkin ales and Oktoberfest brews.

We’re going to wait until September to call out our favorite pumpkin ale releases but we are going to highlight some Oktoberfest beers today. We’re also calling out a few end-of-summer sippers that fell through the cracks over the past couple of months. It’s a good mix, taken all around.

Hopefully, the eight beers we’re giving love to this month will pique your interest and inspire you to explore exciting breweries in your neck of the woods. These picks represent regional craft beer releases from breweries that we vouch for (with tasting notes from the brewers themselves if we didn’t get to taste the beer yet), along with some seasonally released bottles that we’ve been looking forward to trying again.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST DROP: pFriem IPA

pFriem Family Brewers

ABV: 6.8%

Average Price: $13 (six-pack)

The Beer:

Oregon’s pFriem IPA isn’t a new release. It’s a classic at this point. What is new is that it’s finally been released in cans. And it kind of works in the new format as a late-summer sipper, with a deep West Coast hop presence that still adheres to a sense of balance.

Tasting Notes:

The American IPA draws you in with a nose full of dank yet grassy hops next to peaches and pear fruit notes. The body of the brew is all about that malt to hop balance with a touch of caramel supporting a crisp West Coast hoppiness that ends a little closer to dry grass than green grass with plenty of pine resin.

Bottom Line:

This is one of the more well-rounded West Coast IPAs on the shelf. It’s also getting easier to find this one all over the country.

SOUTHWEST DROP: Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest Amber Märzen

Sierra Nevada Brewing

ABV: 5.5%

Average Price: $9 (six-pack)

The Beer:

Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest beer is one of the best examples of the style you’re going to find outside of Munich. The brew is a throwback Märzen lager that highlights the sweet malts first and foremost with a hop layer in the background to provide a flavor counterpoint.

Tasting Notes:

You’re greeted with those sweet and grainy malts on the nose and in the taste. Think of a warm southern biscuit with a honey drizzle next to an almost salted caramel Graham cracker crispness. The hops register as floral and light next to that malty base.

Bottom Line:

Overall, this stays light and very crushable while providing a very malty brew with an American hoppy edge.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN DROP: Upslope German Style Pilsner

Upslope

ABV: 4.9%

Average Price: $9 (six-pack)

The Beer:

Upslope, out in Colorado, has German pilsners on lock. This summer release takes classic German malts and hops and marries them to that Rocky Mountain water to make a pilsner that’s all about malty bases and hoppy finishes.

Tasting Notes:

The brew is bright with green grass next to a squirt of floral citrus oils and a touch of that caramel malt base. The taste holds onto those floral citrus notes as the grass turns to a dry and crisp straw with a mild resin undertone. The malts arrive on the mid-palate to balance out everything with a sweet and almost creamy edge.

Bottom Line:

This is a great session beer to have on hand as the summer heads towards fall. It’s super easy to drink while still offering enough sharp flavors to be memorable.

SOUTHERN DROP: Jester King All-Texas Spon

Jester King

ABV: 5.8%

Average Price: $28 (750ml bottle)

The Beer:

Jester King’s Spon series remains the highlight of the brewery’s seasonal releases. This year’s version is all about Texas ingredients in each sip with Texas-grown malts and hops mixed with wild yeast from the Texas air and water from the brewery’s own well.

Tasting Notes (from the brewer):

Our brewing team gets notes of grapefruit, tire shop, diesel, stonefruit, vinyl album cover, and being inside the Alamo.

Bottom Line:

Having tasted a ton of Spons over the years, I’m fairly confident that there’s no way this isn’t amazing. But there are also only 1,100 bottles and they’re only available at the brewery.

MIDWEST DROP: Toppling Goliath Wasserfall Pils

Toppling Goliath

ABV: 5.5%

Average Price: Draft only

The Beer:

Toppling Goliath is killing the craft game from their small home brewery in Iowa. Their Wasserfall Pils is a German Pilsner created specifically for right now. The brew leans into German ingredients and marries those traditions with American craft brewing while staying true to the classic German pils vibe.

Tasting Notes:

This beer is refreshing. The nose and taste lean into the fresh, crisp, and floral hops with a perfect balancing note of caramel malts with a buttery and almost oatmeal cookie edge. The overall taste and finish are light and bright with a sharp pine resin hop next to those bready and sweetened malts.

Bottom Line:

You can only really find this on tap and it’s fleeting at that. Lucky, I had some recently and it was spot on. So if you’re in the Toppling Goliath region, keep an eye out for this one.

NORTHEAST DROP: Samuel Adams Just The Haze Non-Alcoholic IPA

Samuel Adams

ABV: <0.5%

Average Price: $11 (six-pack)

The Beer:

Samuel Adam’s new non-alcoholic offering is a summer treat in a can. The beer is brewed with Citra, Mosaic, Sabro, and Cascade hops over a malty base of barley and wheat malts. The brew keeps the calories low while keeping the hop character high.

Tasting Notes:

This is very much in the New England style with plenty of fruit from top to bottom. There are clear notes of bright citrus next to tropical fruits, especially mango. The malts make an appearance and add in a slight spice with a mild honeyed edge. The fruits all come back into play and really amp up the flavor profile to the point where it’s almost impossible to tell that this is a non-alcoholic beer.

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic beer with a serious NEIPA flavor profile, this might be the beer for you. There is no loss of flavorful depth with this NA beer. It’s refreshing, light, and bold.

WILD CARD DROP: Holy Mountain Harmony of the Sun Summer Saison

Holy Mountains

ABV: 5.8%

Average Price: $16 (four 16-oz. cans)

The Beer:

This summer saison from one of Seattle’s most beloved neighborhood breweries remains a summer classic we’ll be sad to see go when the leaves start to turn. The brew is a farmhouse ale that adheres to Belgium’s deep traditions.

Tasting Notes:

The nose opens with clove, orange oils, wet roses, and caramel malts. The taste delivers on those notes while amping up the spiciness and grassy nature of the sip with an ever-so-slight hay funk. The sip ends bright and light with a good sense of a field of grass on a sunny day that’s counterpointed by all that orange oil and clove-forward spice mix.

Bottom Line:

This is super easy to crush on a hot summer day, especially paired with some fresh oysters on the half shell.

INTERNATIONAL PICK OF THE MONTH: Mahr’s Ungespundet Kellerbier

Mahrs Brau

ABV: 5.2%

Average Price: $13 (four-pack)

The Beer:

Although this isn’t an Oktoberfest beer (those all have to be brewed in Munich), this Franconian beer is one of Germany’s best by far and perfect for late summer sipping. The brew is “Ungespundet” which simply means unfiltered. The malts are local and the hops are harvested just down the road from the brewery.

Tasting Notes:

You’re drawn into this one by a nose full of sweet bready malts with a yeasty, dry edge and a note of bright floral hops. The taste delivers on those promises while adding a slight tartness to the yeast while still holding onto a perfect balance of malty and hoppy through every sip.

Bottom Line:

Having spent several sessions at Mahr’s beer garden in Bamberg under a shady chestnut tree, I can say with confidence that this is the perfect summer quaffer. You can get this in the U.S. now (though you’ll have to hunt for it). This is the sort of German brew that just makes sense and will give a better understanding of how devilishly simple these beers can be while still being complex and delicious.


As a Drizly affiliate, Uproxx may receive commission pursuant to some entries on this list.

×