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Craft Beer Experts Shout Out Dark Beers They Actually Drink In The Summer

You can enjoy drinking stouts, porters, strong ales, Scotch ales, and weizenbocks any time of year. Yes, even in the summer months. Nobody should tell you when to drink your favorite beer. And you shouldn’t have to explain why you still like sipping a roasty, malty, chocolate, or coffee-filled stout in July or August. Plus, it’s not like anyone stops drinking Guinness just because it’s hot outside. A refreshing beer is a refreshing beer any time of year.

But when it comes to darker summer beers, there’s more than simply stouts. To find these dark, malty, bold beers worthy of summer drinking, we went to the brewers for help. We asked some brewing and craft beer experts to tell us the dark beers they actually drink during the summer. Keep reading to see all of their picks.

North Coast Old Rasputin

North Coast Old Rasputin
North Coast

Jeremy Marshall, brewmaster at Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma, California

ABV: 9%

Average Price: $9.99 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

North Coast Old Rasputin is a massive nine percent ABV stout rife with flavor, but keep in mind Bay Area summers can be like everyone else’s winters. It’s perfectly balanced between roasty coffees and dark chocolate but manages to also be a silky velvety texture, perfect for those foggy San Francisco evenings. There is now a barrel-aged incarnation but I’m partial to the original, and it has decent distribution. You can find this one.

Crooked Lane Schwarzbier

Crooked Lane Schwarzbier
Crooked Lane

Rob Lightner, co-founder of East Brother Beer Company in Richmond, California

ABV: 4.5%

Average Price: $12.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

Without a doubt a Schwarzbier. People often expect dark beers to be heavy or high ABV, but black lagers are neither. They’re typically around five percent ABV, so they’re very drinkable but still pack in all the wonderful flavors of chocolate, coffee, and a pleasing roastiness. Our friends at Crooked Lane in Auburn, California, just brewed an amazing one. This black lager is bold, roasty, and perfect for summer evenings.

Guinness Stout

Guinness Stout
Guinness

Karlton Graham, head brewer at Kansas City Bier Company in Kansas City

ABV: 4.2%

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Guinness Stout, of course. I’m sure there are a few breweries near mine that make a dry stout, but when I’m out and about I never see them. I think it’s hard to get a stout handle during the summer, but you can always find Guinness and it is a legit summer beer in my book. Low in residual sugar and lower in alcohol, I’ve found myself ordering Guinness just as often in the summer as any other time. Thankfully, you didn’t ask which stout is underrated so I can use Guinness.

Beaver Brewery Clubman Stout

Beaver Brewery Clubman Stout
Beaver Brewery

Kyle Pearson, founder of Alice Springs Brewing Co. in Northern Territory, Australia

ABV: 4.4%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

The Clubman Stout is an Oatmeal Stout made specifically for the hot climate in Northern Territory, Australia. It has a lower ABV and drier finish, so your thirst is easily quenched in the summer heat. The flavor is rich, allowing you to savor every sip. Not to mention the drink has a caramel head that adds some sweetness to the flavor, too.

10 Barrel Glen Coco

10 Barrel Glen Coco
10 Barrel

Parker Penley, lead innovation brewer of Widmer Brothers Brewery in Portland, Oregon

ABV: 6.5%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

If you haven’t made it there already, I highly suggest you check out the beers Whitney Burnside is making at 10 Barrel Brew Pub in Portland, Oregon. She has a great stout called Glen Coco which is brewed with flaked coconut. The hint of coconut goes great if you are summer vibin’. Chocolate and coconut, what’s not to love?

Giant Jones Dark Weizenbock

Giant Jones Dark Weizenbock
Giant Jones

Garth E. Beyer, certified Cicerone® and owner and founder of Garth’s Brew Bar in Madison, Wisconsin

ABV: 8.5%

Average Price: $7 for a 16.9-ounce bottle

Why This Beer?

My palate is seasonally flipped in that you’ll find me drinking more dark beers in summer than in the winter months. I usually grab a weizenbock and the one I’m loving right now is from Giant Jones Brewing Company. Its malt flavor is rich, dark-sweet-bready but gives you a nice splash of summer on the nose with notes of banana.

Deschutes Obsidian

Deschutes Obsidian
Deschutes

Gary Glass, head brewer at Left Hand Brewing in Longmont, Colorado

ABV: 6.4%

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Every season is a good season to drink stouts. One stout other than Left Hand’s that has been a go-to for me for years is Obsidian Stout from Deschutes. With Obsidian you get rich, complex, and well-balanced flavors that make this beer quite drinkable for a stout.

Begyle Flannel Pajamas

Begyle Flannel Pajamas
Begyle

Ben Saller, founder and brewer at Burnt City Brewing in Chicago

ABV: 5.2%

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

I would actually drink all kinds of stouts any time of year. Begyle’s Flannel Pajamas is one that I had for the first time in a while recently, and I would definitely drink that again. This oatmeal stout is loaded with flavors like dark chocolate, roasted coffee, and vanilla. It’s so flavorful, I drink it all year long. It’s also great as an accompaniment to a roaring campfire.

Oliver Bmore Breakfast Stout

Oliver Bmore Breakfast Stout
Oliver Brewing

Josh Radigan, director of food and beverage at Viceroy in Washington DC

ABV: 6%

Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Oliver Bmore Breakfast Stout. It has that coffee essence without being bitter. A great example of the oatmeal stout style, this beer that can be enjoyed all day (not just during breakfast) and during any season is known for its nice mix of oatmeal sweetness and rich, bold, roasted coffee.

Writer’s Pick: Stone Xocoveza Stout

Stone Xocoveza Stout
Stone

ABV: 8.1%

Average Price: $8.79 for a 22-ounce bottle

Why This Beer?

It’s tough to beat the appeal of a Stone Xocoveza on a cool summer evening. This mocha stout was created to taste like a traditional Mexican hot chocolate. The brewers at Stone did this by brewing it with coffee beans, pasilla peppers, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and chocolate. It’s spicy, sweet, and refreshing.

Writer’s Pick: Firestone Walker Nitro Merlin Milk Stout

Firestone Walker Nitro Merlin Milk Stout
Firestone Walker

ABV: 5.5%

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Firestone Walker is well-versed in the IPA world, but its special offerings definitely aren’t to be missed. This includes Firestone Walker Nitro Merlin Milk Stout. The use of a nitrogen widget gives this velvety smooth, sweet, chocolate, and coffee-centric beer a creamy, memorable mouthfeel that will leave you wanting more.

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