Life

The Most Thirst-Quenching Summer Beers, According To Bartenders

We don’t have to tell you that summer heat and sunny days require refreshment. If you’re like us, you spend these hazy mid-July afternoons gulping down ice water, lemonade, and more flavored seltzer water than seems socially acceptable. But when the sun sets and the heat lingers, we look for something to take the edge off. Something boozy yet still totally crushable and thirst-quenching.

Specifically, we crack open a beer (or three). But not all beers are suited for summer drinking. Chaz Gallo, director of food and beverage at The Bristol Hotel in Bristol, Virginia has specific ideas of what exactly makes a great hot weather crusher.

“A pilsner, lager or shandy,” he says. “Something light, crisp, and drinkable that goes down smooth.”

Reed Odeneal, co-founder and brewer at Perfect Plain Brewing Co. in Pensacola, Florida adds sour beers to the list.

“If you haven’t been stocking your cooler with gose, go ahead and start,” he says. “You’ll be challenged to find a more appropriate style of beer to combat the heat and humidity. They’re traditionally brewed with wheat, coriander, salt, and come with a hint of tartness and a relatively low alcohol content to make a super refreshing flavor that you can crush all day long.”

What you enjoy drinking during the summer depends on your taste. That’s why we want you to have a lot of different options. To find them, we turned to the professionals behind the bar, asking a handful of well-known bartenders to tell us their picks for the absolute best summer thirst quenchers. Check their answers out below.

Corona Extra

Corona

David Ortiz, beverage director at Rocco’s Tacos And Tequila Bar in Orlando

ABV: 4.6%
Average Price: $18 for a 12-pack

Why This Beer?

Nothing quenches my thirst on a hot summer day in South Florida more than an ice-cold Corona Extra. Sip it on the beach, on a boat, or at home – this is the type of beer that goes with any occasion. It’s always crisp and refreshing.

Bell’s Oberon

Bell

Scott Wenger, bartender at The Continental in Tampa

ABV: 5.8%
Average Price: $19.99 for a 12-pack

Why This Beer?

Bell’s Oberon from Kalamazoo Michigan. It’s hot where I live during the summer months, and Bell’s Oberon has all the flavor you would expect in a craft beer without being too heavy. It’s perfect for a hot day.

Plus, It’s just fun to say “Kalamazoo.”

Revolution Fist City

Revolution

Brandi Wheat, bartending consultant at The G Spot Cigar and Bar Lounge in Memphis

ABV: 5.5%
Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

The best summery thirst-quenching beer to drink on a sunny day or any day is Revolution Brewing Fist City. The pale ale has taken the number one spot for me against all others. Fist City has this light golden color that’s perfectly balanced on the malts and hops. Flavors of grapefruit, melon, and other tropical notes are so refreshing on a sunny day in Chicago by the lake.

Pacifico Lager

Pacifico

Michael Parish, head bartender at Jia in Miami

ABV: 4.4%
Average Price: $18 for a 12-pack

Why This Beer?

Personally, I always prefer an ice-cold Mexican pilsner-style beer on a hot summer day. A Modelo Especial or Pacifico in an ice-cold can wrapped in a koozie really is the most thirst-quenching beer to sip on come summertime. The flavors are crisp, clean, and refreshing.

For this, I’ll pick the Pacifico because it just might be the most refreshing beer you can crack open this summer.

21st Amendment Come Hell or High Watermelon

21st Amendment

Lynnette Marrero, co-founder of Speed Rack and bar director of Llama Inn in Brooklyn, New York

ABV: 4.9%
Average Price: $12

Why This Beer?

I love 21st Amendment Come Hell or High Watermelon (they also have some new flavors like mango). They feature lady liberty, and the fruit is subtle and in balance. It’s a crisp beer with a hint of fruit.

Westbrook Key Lime Pie Gose

Westbrook

Monica Collins, bartender at Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

ABV: 4%
Average Price: $12.99 for a 4-pack

Why This Beer?

Sours in the summertime are so fun and delicious. They vary in flavors, fruits, and ABV. My favorites are Gose’s from Westbrook. Specifically, Key Lime Pie is a great summer beer for any summer occasion. Whether it’s sipping on the beach or relaxing on a boat ride. They are perfect for the hot summer days.

Victoria Lager

Victoria

Rose Krone, bartender at Hippo in Los Angeles

ABV: 4.4%
Average Price: $18 for a 12-pack

Why This Beer?

I feel like Mexico knows how to do summer the best out of all of us, so when I want a refreshing beer, I usually go with whatever is from there as an option. I don’t think you have to be fancy when choosing a beer to beat the heat. Personally, I’m happy with Victoria or Sol. Although, the other night on a menu I saw a Gose from Guadalajara, which now might be the beer of my summer. Paraíso from Cerveza Loba was refreshing, but still not too sour like some beers of that style can get, and at 4.5% I’m game for a full day by the water with a case of these.

Miller High Life

Miller

Daniel Yang, lead bartender at Rosina inside The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas

ABV: 4.6%
Average Price: $10.99 for a 12-pack

Why This Beer?

Honestly, I really enjoy a frosty Miller High Life on a nice, sunny day. It has lighter flavors and a solid balance of noble hops and malt. If you want to spruce things up, throw in a bit of Aperol and lemon juice and make yourself a Spaghett to really give yourself a nice flavor expansion.

Leffe Blonde

Leffe

Adam Mason, cocktail specialist at LouVino in Louisville

ABV: 6.6%
Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Honestly, beers are all thirst quenchers, but the best is likely a lager or Hefeweizen due to how light and easy to drink they are! They are low in malt but have great flavor as well. I personally always gravitate to Leffe Blonde as it is crisp and cool on the palate.

Golden Road Mango Cart

Golden Road

Chandra Richter, beverage development and chief mixologist at Drinkworks

ABV: 4%
Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

On a sunny summer day, I love to sip on a Golden Road Mango Cart. With bursts of fruity flavors that are fresh and refreshing, it’s definitely one of my go-tos this time of year. The bright mango taste matches perfectly with the crisp wheat beer.

Modelo Especial

Modelo

Michael Lay, assistant director of bars for MINA Group in San Francisco, California

ABV: 4.4%
Average Price: $18 for a 12-pack

Why This Beer?

German-style pilsner would be my choice. This beer is made for hot weather. From Modelo to Trumer, the malty sweetness cuts through the heat. If I had to pick one, it would be Modelo Especial. This crisp, crushable pilsner was made for summer days.

Carlsberg Pilsner

Carlsberg

Jeremy Williams, mixologist at MDRD at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids, Michigan

ABV: 5%
Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

I’m a big fan of Carlsberg, a Copenhagen Pilsner that is crisp, clean, flavorful, and crushable. It’s perfect on a warm summer day. Simple, refreshing, and delicious. That’s all you need to say.

Anderson Valley Briney Melon Gose

Anderson Valley

Hayden Miller, head bartender of Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami

ABV: 4.2%
Average Price: $11 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Any Gose is a go-to for those hot summer days — not as tart as a sour but with a hint of brine to keep you rotating between thirst and quench. Anderson Valley added a Melon Gose that hits all of these notes. I can’t think of a more refreshing, thirst-quenching summer beer.

Hi Wire Pink Drink

Hi Wire

Tara Gillum, bartender at Steiner’s Speakeasy in Chillicothe, Ohio

ABV: 4.2%
Average Price: $12 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

I love a good sour beer in the summer. There is something about the tart crispness that just pops on a warm summer day. One of my go-to beers this summer has been Hi Wire Drink. It contains one of my favorite flavor combinations, raspberry, and lemon. The low ABV makes it perfect for prolonged enjoyment.

Orion Lager

Orion

Ryan Anderson, complex director of beverage at Ace Hotel in New Orleans

ABV: 5%
Average Price: $12.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

For me, I always prefer beer in the summertime that is light and refreshing. When it’s hot outside I reach for something that is not going to fatigue my palate with big flavors or too many hops. If you can find it, Orion Lager from Osaka Japan is my go-to. This beer is brewed in Japan’s southernmost tropical island and is a perfect blend of rice, malt, and hops. Drinking one leaves you refreshed rather than reaching for the water.


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