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Craft Experts Name The Best ‘No Frills’ Summer Beers

While it’s not technically summer yet (the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere isn’t until June 21st), many people believe that the unofficial start of summer is Memorial Day. And since that patriotic holiday is this coming weekend, we figured the time was right to start highlighting warm-weather beers. Not just any summery beers, though. We’re talking no-frills, easy-drinking summer beers perfect for the hot, humid days ahead.

While “no-frills” isn’t technically a beer style, you likely get the picture. These are easy-to-drink, crushable, reasonably inexpensive beers that are well-suited for late spring, summer, and even early fall imbibing. They’re the kind of beers you want to sip after an afternoon spent mowing the lawn or simply lounging by a pool — lagers, pilsners, blonde ales, and every crushable, easy-to-down beer in between.

To find the best choices, we turned to a panel of brewing pros for a little help. We asked a handful of noteworthy craft beer experts, brewers, and beer professionals to tell us the one no-frills beer they reach for every summer. Keep reading to see all of their picks.

Yuengling Traditional Lager

Yuengling Traditional Lager
Yuengling

David Ringler, director of happiness at Cedar Springs Brewing Company in Cedar Springs, Michigan

ABV: 4.5%
Average Price: $6.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Yuengling Lager is my lawnmower beer. It can only be enjoyed out of a can to avoid the light-struck bottle. It’s an American light lager but has a nice little caramelly sweetness to it that makes it strangely satisfying on a hot day. It’s definitely tough to beat in terms of flavor and price.

Victory Summer Love

Victory Summer Love
Victory

Kevin Beachem, head brewer at Taproot Brewing Company in Newport, Rhode Island

ABV: 5.2%
Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

My favorite easy-drinking summer ale would have to be Victory Summer Love. It’s just a really easy drinking beer and has the feel of a Kolsch or a pilsner but with enough hop backbone to keep it interesting and fresh. Loved this beer since I first had it almost a decade ago and look forward to its release every year. The first sip makes me feel like summer is officially here.

Pilsner Urquell

Pilsner Urquell
Pilsner Urquell

Eric Martens, founder and owner of Border Brewing Company in Kansas City, Missouri

ABV: 4.4%
Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Every summer I find myself getting Pilsner Urquell. It’s a classic Czech pilsner and has a crisp bit that I really enjoy, especially while barbecuing outside. It’s the beer that created the easy-drinking, crispy style we all know and love. When looking for a no-frills, thirst-quencher, why not drink the first?

Dos Equis Lager Especial

Dos Equis Lager Especial
Dos Equis

Hector Cavazos, owner and head brewer at Rebel Toad Brewery in Corpus Christi, Texas

ABV: 4.2%
Average Price: $7.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Dos Equis Lager Especial is always great on the beach or literally anywhere on a hot day. It’s really light and an all-day drinker that’s crisp, refreshing, goes down easy and has a nice, subtle, floral hops presence that ties everything together nicely. If you’re looking for a Mexican lager this summer, why not make it a Dos Equis.

Ass Clown Under a Sombrero

Ass Clown Under a Sombrero
Ass Clown

Thomas Reese, brewer at Ghost Harbor Brewing Co. in Elizabeth City, North Carolina

ABV: 5%
Average Price: $12.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

Under A Sombrero by Ass Clown Brewing in Cornelius, North Carolina. What flavors make it great? It’s a light, crisp lager with lime zest. Really refreshing and perfect for days at the beach or on the boat. Simple, tart, thirst-quenching, it’s the kind of beer you want to drink all day long.

Maplewood Pulaski Pils

Maplewood Pulaski Pils
Maplewood

Quinn Fuechsl, commercial innovation manager at Goose Island Beer Co. in Chicago

ABV: 5.1%
Average Price: $10.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

Maplewood Pulaski Pils is my go-to summer no-frills sipper. It has hop character to differentiate itself from other craft lagers while still maintaining its crushability. It’s the perfect beer for a hot day of lawn mowing or simply lounging by a pool or a large body of water.

Von Trapp Natur Helles

Von Trapp Natur Helles
Von Trapp

Mike Kelly, senior brewer at Harpoon Brewery in Boston

ABV: 4.9%
Average Price: $2.99 for a 12-ounce can

Why This Beer?

Von Trapp Natur Helles is the one beer I always grab on a hot summer day. This no-frilled beer is a complete labor of love. Natur Helles has a longer fermentation time and extended conditioning making it the ideal summer crusher. A light body packed with toasted malt goodness and noble hop spice, it’s easy to drink whether you’re cutting the grass or hanging on the beach.

Sierra Nevada Summer Fest

Sierra Nevada Summer Fest
Sierra Nevada

Douglas Hasker, head brewer at Puesto Cerveceria in San Diego

ABV: 5%
Average Price: $11 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Summerfest from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Historically released in time to begin your Memorial Day festivities, this namesake of the season Czech-style Pilsner was just one more reason to get excited for summer. Light-bodied with a golden hue and zesty carbonation, Summerfest has a deep bready malt character with a soft noble hop bitterness that still maintains a poolside crushability.

Off Site Super Good Lager

Off Site Super Good Lager
Off Site

Marshall Hendrickson co-founder and head of operations at Veza Sur Brewing Co. in Miami

ABV: 5.5%
Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

Off Site Super Good Lager. I can’t hype up this beer enough – it’s such a crushable beer, but also very well crafted and balanced. It’ll be my go-to beer this summer. Their nano-brewery is a great vibe as well, with a delicious menu. Rock up to the bar and ask for some Super Good Lager.

Pabst Blue Ribbon

Pabst Blue Ribbon
Pabst Blue Ribbon

Chris Wittemann, area sales at Sprecher Brewing in Glendale, Wisconsin

ABV: 4.7%
Average Price: $5.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Pabst Blue Ribbon. Easy drinking light lager, no fancy additives, just good old classic, crisp beer. Does it get more classic and no-frills than PBR? It’s the kind of beer that you fill a cooler with, top it with ice, and then spend the day playing yard games or simply sitting in a lawn chair in the middle of a field.

Who needs anything else when you have a frosty Pabst?

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