It’s time for Endless Summer. Get the most out of the season while it’s still here.
The picnic’s packed and the sunscreen’s been liberally applied. What’s missing from your beach kit?
A crisp, cool six-pack chilling under a blanket of ice. Where to start, though? It depends on your beachfront activity of choice. If you’re into competitive sand-castle construction, you might want to experiment with a tangy hibiscus-laced Gose. Prefer a seaside clambake? Then it’s time to break out a blonde ale licked with Atlantic sea salt.
No matter your beach-bound agenda, these highly-drinkable summer beers will serve you well. All of them hover right around 5 percent ABV or less, which means you can enjoy a few of them in a row as the sun beats down. Your cooler was born for this.
1. Sour Bikini, Evil Twin Brewing
Hails From: Brooklyn by way of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Summer Activity Pairing: Undisturbed sedentary sunbathing
Evil Twin is a roving brewer that prepares its funky suds in 10 of the best breweries around the world. Brewed at Westbrook Brewing Co. in South Carolina, Sour Bikini is a tribute to summer’s most seductive style of swimwear. Light-bodied and intriguingly tart with a juicy, fruit-forward aroma, this wild ale is “anything but a sissy beer,” as Evil Twin asserts. Its crisp, sour quality makes it a natural thirst-quencher for long, hot afternoons.
2. Hibiscus Gose, Boulevard Brewing Company
Hails From: Kansas City
Summer Activity Pairing: Epic sand-castle construction
All hail the return of Gose. This German style of beer has roots in the 16th century, but has only recently caught on stateside—and it’s long overdue. A sour, slightly saline wheat ale, Gose is fermented with yeast and lactic bacteria and then spiced with coriander and salt (or brewed with salt water). Boulevard’s Gose takes a rosy turn with the addition of dried hibiscus flowers that add subtle tang and bright color. Pleasantly pucker-worthy, it’s a great intro to the world of sour beers and ideal for lazy sipping in the sand.
3. Down to Earth Session IPA, 21st Amendment Brewery
Hails From: San Francisco
Summer Activity Pairing: Post-surf cooldown
Infinitely crushable after shredding a few waves, Down to Earth is the “natural evolution” of Bitter American, 21st Amendment’s original session ale. Its inviting tropical aroma leads into flavors of orange and melon with a pleasantly bitter finish and light carbonation. Beach bums who lean towards the IPA’s intense hoppiness will appreciate this brew’s bitter, low-ABV drinkability and cooler-friendly cans.
4. Scrimshaw Pilsner, North Coast Brewing
Hails From: Fort Bragg, California
Summer Activity Pairing: Beachside barbecuing
Pilsners aren’t usually known for their beach bodies, but this refreshing riff on the classic German style is a bit of a stud. Named for the delicate whale-bone engravings crafted by 19th-century seafarers, Scrimshaw is brewed with traditional Munich malt and Hallertauer and Tettnang hops. That nod to tradition results in a brew with a bright, clean body and subtle hop character that is endlessly sippable alongside char-speckled barbecue.
5. White Thai Witbier, Westbrook Brewing Co.
Hails From: Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Summer Activity Pairing: High stakes beach volleyball
Ready to hit the sand and spike some volleys like Maverick and Goose? Fortify yourself with this spicy twist on a Belgian Witbier. Inspired by the flavors of Southeast Asian cuisine, White Thai forgoes the traditional coriander and orange peel in favor of fresh lemongrass, ginger root and Sorachi Ace hops. What pours from the can is an earthy golden brew bearing layers of lemon candy, tart citrus and spicy ginger—a combo that will rev you up right quick.
6. Sea Salt Ale, Fire Island Beer Co.
Hails From: Ocean Beach, New York
Summer Activity Pairing: Impromptu clambake
You know that magic dust that makes everything taste more vibrant? Turns out, salt is equally transformative in beer. This blonde ale proves that truth, thanks to the addition of real Atlantic sea salt, which gives the brew a subtle savory quality that leaves you craving more. Lightly effervescent with grassy citrus notes, Sea Salt Ale is a killer sidekick for all types of seafood like lobster, crabs and mussels.