Fall is right around the corner. Before we all know it, we’ll be awash in pumpkin ales and Oktoberfest lagers. The holiday season with heavy-duty ABV spiced ales will be right around the corner from that. Then, it’ll finally be 2021 and we’ll start all over again. So, to hold on to the last, fleeting days of summer 2020, we’re calling out some great summer beers that we are actually drinking.
The below eight beers are from Uproxx Life’s drinks writers. These are the beers that stand out to us right now. Hopefully, our insight will help you expand your beer palate and world. Some of these beers will be pretty easy to find nationwide while others will be a bit more regional. Either way, each one is a good example of that bridge between late summer sippers and fortifying fall flavors. – Zach Johnston
Augustiner Lagerbier Hell — Zach Johnston
Style: Helles Lager
Brewery: Augustiner-Bräu München, Germany
I’m not going to lie, I drink this beer year-round. Still, there’s something about sitting in the beer garden this time of year as the weather breaks, gets a little windier, rainier, and you feel it in your bones that summer is essentially over while sipping a crisp Augustiner from a holzfass (wooden keg). This Munich beer is exactly what you need it to be. It’s refreshing AF on a hot summer day. It’s fortifying as the leaves start to turn. What more can you ask for?
This is a mellow lager with an edge that dances between melon sweetness and earthy grassiness. The malts are present with a biscuit feel that’s accentuated by a mild hop bitterness that leads back into the grass. The sip ends crisp and bright with a light touch that never weighs you down.
I can’t think of a better beer to end summer on than this one. Then, I can’t think of a better beer to celebrate the start of fall with than this one.
Brooklyn Lager — Zach Johnston
Style: American Amber Lager
Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
This is the premier beer from the now-iconic Brooklyn Brewery. And … it still slaps. Staying true to the idea of an American craft lager, the hops are front and center with the more classic lager malty notes pulled back. This is a real refresher, especially off the tap.
You’re greeted by those hops and it brings about a real sigh of relief for your senses. The malts have a deep caramel edge that counterpoints the resin and florals of the hops damn near perfectly. The sip lingers with those bright hops and caramel-y malts just long enough to draw you in for another gulp from the glass.
This is on tap a fair amount around Berlin and I’ve found I’ve been ordering it a lot recently. It’s just hitting the right spot right now.
Mikkeller Raspberry Blush — Dane Rivera
Style: Berliner Weisse
Brewery: Mikkeller Brewing San Diego, CA
Over the summer, Mikkeller’s Raspberry Blush has been my go-to beer on those punishingly hot summer afternoons when I’m looking for a refreshing sour beer that’s low enough in ABV to lend itself to a multi-can session. From Mikkeller San Diego, Raspberry Blush is a Berliner-Style Weisse brewed with raspberries and coffee, giving it a rich pink hue that is as visually refreshing as it tastes.
While it looks intense, Mikkeller’s Raspberry Blush is actually pretty balanced, with some slight initial raspberry tartness that is tamed down and rounded out by notes of earthy roasted cacao. The flavors hit in waves but never overstay their welcome. It’s refreshing and light with a glittering appearance that is as fun to pour and fun to drink.
Kill a four-pack with a friend or knock it out on your own over the hottest days as we slowly escape summer.
Cascade Brewing Mango Road 2019 — Dane Rivera
Style: Sour Blonde Ale
Brewery: Cascade Brewing, Portland, OR
If you’re looking for a refreshing sour ale that screams “summer” but you also want something with a bit of a punch, don’t sleep on Cascade Brewing’s Mango Road 2019. This sour blonde ale is aged in oak wine barrels for 18 months before being steeped with mangos, jasmine flowers, and pink peppercorn, resulting in a medium-bodied brew with a complex combination of flavors.
Be warned — I don’t care how many sour ales you’ve had, the first taste of Mango Road might make you recoil as your palate activates from the intense tart acidity. But after the flavors settle, this brew really comes alive with refreshing notes of mango, fragrant jasmine, and just a hint of spice to round it out.
Popping open a bottle of Mango Road is sure to be a new summer pastime. And while you could definitely kill a bottle yourself, I find this one is best shared with one or two other people as a nice early appetizer for a night of drinking.
Three Nations Brewing Mango Smash IPA — Gabrielle Pharms
Style: Indian Pale Ale
Brewery: Three Nations Brewing Company, Carrollton, TX
Three Nations Brewing Company founder and brewmaster, Gavin Secchi, was trained in Germany. Prior to Three Nations, he worked at a number of popular breweries including Goose Island in Chicago, Karbach in Houston, Rahr & Sons in Fort Worth, and Franconia in McKinney before launching Three Nations in 2015. First brewed in spring 2017 as a seasonal IPA, Mango Smash has now become the company’s bestselling beer.
The light honey hue is a result of the 2-row base malt. Crafted with pineapple concentrate and juicy mango, it’s the six different hops that give this beer its alluring aroma. Mango Smash has a dry, light, and crisp mouthfeel, with a slightly bitter finish consisting of subtle sweet stone fruit.
If you’re thinking this beer will be overtly bitter like most IPAs, that’s not the case. It’s the perfect brew for those seeking something fruity and refreshing to combat the final sweltering heat of summer.
Strange Land Fleur D’Oranger — Gabrielle Pharms
Style: Belgian Tripel
Brewery: Strange Land Brewery, Georgetown, TX
Strange Land Brewery’s Fleur D’Oranger is rooted in Georgetown, Texas, just outside of Austin. Yet, it’s inspired by Belgian brewing tradition. The hand-crafted beer is a limited release and makes use of local ingredients, such as honey, which adds to its unique flavor profile.
This distinctive beer pulls you in with its citrus and floral scent. Brewed with orange blossom honey, zesty orange peel, and coriander, the effervescent fruit flavor is balanced with a bite of bitterness. A delicious hint of tangy lemon and hops gives this beer a well-rounded finish.
From the first whiff to the last sip, the Fleur D’Oranger has all the fixings to be an essential beer of the year well beyond its summer appeal.
Karbach Viva Chela! — Chris Osburn
Style: Mexican-Style Lager
Brewery : Karbach Brewing Company, Houston, TX
When it comes to a summer refresher, it’s really hard to beat a simple, crisp, Mexican-style lager. There’s no over-the-top hop presence or random adjuncts overpowering the classic, thirst-quenching flavors. But, if You really want to quench your thirst on a hot, steamy summer day, it’s hard to beat the classic chela. I go for Karbach Viva Chela with its Mexican-style lager combined with salt and lime.
This beer tastes like summer in a can. Crack one open and you’re immediately met with subtle citrus and salt aromas. The first sip is equal parts briny, full of an explosion of citrus, and undeniably crisp. It only gets better from there.
This is the kind of beer you reach for all summer long. But, it’s so good you’ll probably want to continue drinking it well into the fall.
New Belgium Voodoo Ranger 1985 — Chris Osburn
Style: Hazy IPA
Brewery: New Belgium, Fort Collins, CO
I was born in the early 80’s and I love everything about the decade from Teen Wolf, to snap bracelets, to Garbage Pail Kids. That’s why I was so excited when New Belgium dropped a hazy IPA in homage of the decade perfectly suited for sipping in a Members Only Jacket.
While it’s likely this beer wouldn’t have had the same appeal in the 80’s, it’s fresh, juicy, and full of tropical fruit flavors like mango, guava, and grapefruit. Just like the 80’s started off sweet and ended subtly bitter as the 90’s arrived, so too does this beer.
While it seems like a gimmick, this beer is far from a publicity stunt. Fans of hazy IPAs will love this beer just like “I love the 80’s.”