Oof. It’s hot out there. Heatwaves are gripping the northern hemisphere from London to Los Angeles. Air conditioners are cranked to 11. Swimming holes are packed to the brim.
There are plenty of ways to beat the summer heat — pools, oceans, and buckets of water poured straight over your head all come to mind. But perhaps our favorite is with a nice and very, very cold beer. With the forecast calling for even more hot days ahead, we thought we’d list some of our favorite refreshing beers to stock in your cooler. These are the beers that are going to cool you down and quench your thirst. Sour, tart, malty, fruity, and hoppy refreshers are all here to help cut through the suns searing rays.
Grab a cooler, a few bags of ice, and a sixer of these beers, then cool down while getting a little tipsy.
COOLCUMBER — WICKED WEED
The gin and tonic might be the most refreshing summer cocktail out there. So our first pick for the most refreshing summer beer hits that sweet GnT spot. Coolcumber from Wicked Weed is a golden ale infused with cucumber, fresh basil, and juniper berries (very gin and tonic vibes right there). It’s a botanical burst of thirst quenching delight in a can.
This beer feels like taking a slow soak in a backyard kiddie pool full. The cutting cucumber really ties everything together but leaves room for the slight bitter ale and maltiness to come through.
OTRA VEZ — SIERRA NEVADA
Sierra Nevada has been making great summer beers for decades now. Otra Vez is one of their best. It’s hella refreshing, with a heavy hit of sour delights.
Gose is a lacto-fermented beer that’s often cut with coriander and sea salt, giving it an almost creamy tartness that’s accented with a bloom of herbs. Otra Vez takes that and amps up the tartness with a nice dose of lime and then cuts that with agave. The latter adds a mild sweetness that just works here. Basically, Otra Vez is light, white ale with plenty of tartness balanced with sweet to make it a fantastic thirst quencher.
VOODOO RANGER LIQUID PARADISE — NEW BELGIUM
New Belgium’s Voodoo Ranger line always delivers a great beer. Their latest, Liquid Paradise, is no exception. The beer has a lightness to it that really shines when you’re drinking on a hot summer day.
This beer leans into the aromas of a tropical fruit orchard with guava, grapefruit, and stone fruits leading the charge. That’s backed up by a slight bitterness from the hops that never overpowers the fruit or masks the malty sweetness on the backend. You’ll feel a nice tropical breeze when you drink this one. But, beware: This beer is eight percent ABVs, meaning it’ll get you lit fast. So maybe make sure to down a pint of ice water between cans.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN KÖLSCH — UPSLOPE BREWING COMPANY
There are few beers more refreshing than a kölsch. The German-style light lager from the city of Köln in western Germany is light, effervescent, and malty. Or, more simply, it’s very quaffable.
Upslope’s Rocky Mountain Kölsch takes the light attitude of the original style and amps it up with a little more hops for the American palate. But Upslope is smart enough not to overdo it with the hoppy bitterness. It’s there as an accent, not the main attraction. The beer really wins points for being light and slightly malty sweet. It’s super easy to drink when it’s ice cold.
AFTER-SESH LAGER — CIGAR CITY BREWING
A great lager is an excellent way to beat the heat. Down in Florida, Cigar City takes their aptitude for brewing great lagers (their Tampa Lager is a gem) and adds a nice edge to it.
After-Sesh skater beer is a well-crafted lager spiked with hints of orange and lime zest and cut with salt. The salt really takes the harsher edges off the citrus, making the malty sweetness and fruit shine wonderfully together. This beer is just straight delicious and will quench your thirst better than any soda.
DRIE FONTEINEN OUDE GUEUZE — BROWERIJ 3 FONTEINEN
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Summer and sour Belgian beers go hand-in-hand like backyards and barbecues. 3 Fonteinen brews and ages some of the best lambics out there. Then they blend and age them again, to make pretty much the best gueuze money can buy.
Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze is a funky, sour ale that leans into earthy notes — reminding you of a farm that just brought in its hay at the end of a long, hot summer day, by way of an apple orchard. This is a premiere sour beer that all others should be measured by. The sourness never overpowers the refreshing aromas of funk, apples, or grass. It’s the perfect thirst quencher on a hot day.
PILSNER URQUELL — PLZEŇSKÝ PRAZDROJ
Pilsner Urquell might just be the best lager on the planet (though Munich’s Augustiner definitely gives it a run for its money). The Bohemian beer is the high-water mark of what a great lager can be: Mildly hoppy, slightly malty, and always f*cking delicious.
Pilsner Urquell has a lightness to it that makes the beer shine. There’s a distinct hoppy bitterness that gives way to a sublime malty sweetness — both so well-balanced. Nothing about this beer is off, especially if you can get it fresh. We know that’s hard in the USA. We recommend finding the cans to avoid any light shock the bottles might take on traveling across the pond. Either way, a sip of an ice-cold Pilsner Urquell will melt away all your overheated summer blues.
SCHNEIDER WEISSE TAP 6 AVENTINUS — WEISSES BRÄUHAUS G. SCHNEIDER & SOHN
Hefeweizen and summer are meant for each other. A great German white ale feels like it’s meant to be drunk al fresco under the shade of a big tree on a hot summer day.
Schneider Weisse is one of the best wheat beers to come out of Germany. Their Tap 6 Aventinus is a powerhouse dark wheat that packs a flavor-filled punch. This is technically a “Doppel-Bock” or double bock. Translation, it’s strong — eight percent ABV, strong. The beauty here is that you wouldn’t know it. The alcohol never overwhelms the sweet malt and echoes of hop bitterness lurking in the ruby-hued elixir.
ICH BIN BERLINER WEISSE — MIKKELLER
Berliner Weisse is a hot style right now. The comeback of the Berlin beer is the perfect accompaniment to summer drinking. The beer is a lacto-fermented sour beer that leans towards a rich tartness with a high-fat yogurt feel to it.
Mikkeller’s Ich Bin Berliner Weisse is a fantastic execution of the style. Their standard, unadulterated version is a great place to start your Berliner Weisse journey. From there, Mikkeller has a long list of fruit-infused IBBW to choose from (we love the peach version). Each fruit infusion offers a sweet and refreshing counterbalance to the rich tartness of the ale. Seriously, though, these beers are very drinkable and have a low ABV — meaning you can drink these thirst quenchers all day long.
MILLER HIGH LIFE — MILLER BREWING CO.
An American Adjunct Lager is always going to be the perfect summer drink. Look, we can pontificate about trendy craft beer all we want. But there’s no denying the draw of a great light lager and Miller High Life is one of the best.
The Champagne of Beers has a lot going for it. There’s real flavor here with a nice maltiness right up front. There’s also a sweetness that shines through from the corn used in the beer. Is it complicated and thought-provoking? Ah… no. But, honestly, when it’s this hot out, who gives a sh*t? This beer hits the spot and refreshes, quenches, and satisfies. It’s also affordable. That’s a win.