If you find yourself relaxing on a deck overlooking the ocean (or a large lake) on a hot, sunny day, you’re probably going to be thirsty for something light and refreshing. There are few drinks that hit the spot more than a beer in summer. But, you can’t pick just any beer. Some beers are specific to seasons and the accompanying weather conditions. On a hot day, a porter won’t really hit the spot. A stout would be much too heavy.
You’ll probably be a lot happier with a pale ale or an IPA. But, the most refreshing, best-suited beer for a hot, sun-drenched day is the wheat beer. This top-fermented, wheat-based (go figure) beer comes in two main varieties: Weissbier and Witbier. The reason this style is so perfect for warm weather imbibing is the because it’s both refreshing and full-bodied. Check out some of our favorites below.
It doesn’t really feel like spring until Bell’s has released Oberon Ale, its 5.8 percent American wheat ale. Made with Bell’s house ale yeast, this seasonal beer is extremely balanced with dry, hop bitterness, combining with wheat malt. It’s a “can’t miss” spring and summer beer.
Lagunitas A Little Simpin’ Sumpin’ Ale
Lagunitas has introduced the world to a whole slew of interesting and delicious beers, including: IPA, 12th of Never Ale, Lagunitas Sucks, and Hop Stoopid. But, one of its best spring/summer beer is it’s A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale. This 7.5 percent wheat ale packs a punch that leaves wheat beer fans, pale ale fans, and IPA fans happy.
Portland, Maine’s Allagash might have created the most perfect wheat ale when they first introduced Allagash White in 1995. This 5.2 percent brew is made with malted wheat, oats, and un-malted raw wheat. This gives the beer the hazy appearance wheat beer drinkers expect. With flavors from coriander and orange peel, this is a beer that even Belgium beer fans will love.
Boston’s Mass Bay Brewing Co. (also owners of Harpoon) has made a real niche for itself in the word of wheat beers. Its UFO or “Unfiltered Offering” comes in a variety of flavors including: Hefeweizen, Raspberry, Apricadabra, Pineapple, and various seasonal offerings. But, it shines with its UFO White. This 4.8 percent beer gets its flavor from orange peel and coriander and is best served with an orange slice and accompanied by a sunny day.
Brewery Ommegang Witte
One of the coolest breweries in the US, Brewery Ommegang looks more like it belongs in Belgium than the wilds of New York near Cooperstown. The brewery has won many awards for its Belgian-style beers and one of the best is its Witte. This hazy, wheat beer is made in the traditional Belgian style. Opening a bottle will make you feel like you’ve been transported to Europe, even if you’re drinking it in a 200-square-foot apartment in New York City.
Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat
The best-selling craft beer in the Midwest, Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat is light and refreshing with a subtle hint of citrus. After one sip of this 4.4 percent, cloudy wheat beer you’ll know why it’s so popular. Grab a six-pack and find a nice sunny spot to just drink a few beers and watch the world go by.
Dogfish Head Namaste White
Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione is a true innovator when it comes to craft beer. But, sometimes it makes more sense to make a classic, traditional beer instead of one made with ingredients from King Midas’ tomb. This 4.8 percent white ale is made in the traditional Belgian-style. But, just because it’s traditional that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in flavor — which it draws from dried orange slices, lemongrass, peppercorns, and coriander.
Cigar City Florida Cracker
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This 5.5 percent white ale is made with orange peel, un-malted wheat, and coriander. It’s fermented using Belgian yeast to give it an authentic hefeweizen flavor. This award-winning beer is chocked full of flavor, including orange zest, various spice, and lime peels. It’s perfect for a humid, Florida day or wherever you happen to crack one open.