Summer is coming up and for those 21+, it means that limited edition beers have been released. What better way to spend summer than sipping away on a refreshing summer beer?
I tried 10 summer/seasonal beers along with my friends Carolina, Jenna, and Peter. We commented on the different beers and rated the beer on a scale of 1-5 for overall appeal. We then figured out what summer activities to pair the beers with. From our least to most favorites, here are the 10 summer beers we rated:
10. Samuel Adams Summer Ale (10th place) Score: 11/20
Carolina: I feel like I could bite it, like I could sink my teeth into it. 3/5
Jenna: Takes like Shock Top. It’s not pleasant. 2.5/5
Peter: Kind of sits in your mouth in an unsettling way, but it’s not unrefreshing. 3/5
Tiffany: Weird initial taste. 2.5/5
9. Anchor Summer Wheat (tied for 6th place) Score 13.5/20
C: I would drink this on a day by the grill, but not a meaty grill day. Not like steaks on the grill. Like roasted veggies. Maybe some chicken. 3/5
J: I feel like this would pair well with peaches and cheese on the grill. Wheaty, grainy, refreshing. It reminds me of bread. If you were to drink bread, this is what it would taste like. 3.5/5
P: There’s a satisfying bite in there. Yeasty. 4/5
T: So light, I can’t taste anything. 3/5
Summer Activity: For casual get-togethers where you want to enjoy some nice appetizers. Great for pairing with cheese.
8. Ballast Point Pineapple Sculpin (tied for 6th place) Score 13.5/20
C: Exactly what I expected. Smells more pineapple-y than what it tastes like. More pineapple sweet, not sugar sweet. 2.5/5
J: I would struggle to drink a pint of it. More tart sweet, not malt sweet. But I’m also biased because I don’t like super hoppy beers. 3/5
P: Not that pineapple-y to me. Tastes more like their Sculpin. Too resiny. 4/5
T: Smells so fruity and pineapple-y. Sweet. 4/5
7. Angry Orchard Summer Honey (tied for 6th place) Score 13.5/20
C: Tastes like what apple soda would taste like. But all of a sudden, you’re wasted. 3.5/5
J: Apple juice without the bite. Not sour, really accessible and easy to drink. Good for people who don’t like the taste of alcohol. 3/5
P: [No comment] 3.5/5
T: Really sweet. 3.5/5
Summer Activity: Cliché picnic drink for people that don’t drink wine.
6. Firestone Walker Pivo (tied for 6th place) Score 13.5/20
C: I would drink this after a swim. 3.5/5
J: I’d drink this in the afternoon or in the evening while watching the sunset. Would be good with grilled Mexican food. Gateway beer into craft beers. 4/5
P: Citrusy. Lemon notes. Lager-y. Pleasantly familiar for a beer pong crowd. 3/5
T: Too bitter for me. 3/5
Summer Activity: This beer is great for taking on hikes because it’s so portable (convenient beer in a can!). It can also be your afternoon beer after a day out in the sun swimming or running.
5. Lagunitas Lucky 13 (5th place) Score: 14.5/20
C: Something’s gotta be happening for me to drink this. I have to be up to something. 3/5
J: This beer is in your face. It would be a great reward after a day out in the sun. 4/5
P: Kind of heavy. More of a special thing on its own. Sip it. Take your time. 4.5/5
T: Pretty strong. 3/5
Summer Activity: Good for doing sporty activities like touch football. Or for watching a baseball game aggressively (think throwing peanuts at the screen).
4. New Belgium Heavy Melon (4th place) Score: 15.5/20
C: Tastes exactly like what it says. Tastes like a melon, lime, and beer. But not really watermelon. It would be good with a salad with berries in them. And walnuts and cheese. 4/5
J: Very sweet. Not bitter at all. I’d drink this with watermelon or pair it with a salad. (It could also be a satisfying tequila chaser). 4/5
P: Very light. I’d pair this with a salad with strawberries or fruit kabobs. 4/5
T: Tastes like watermelon and lime. Refreshing. Not the sweetest. 3.5/5
Summer Activity: This is the pool party beer when your feet are dangling over a pool. Consume with a fruit salad or salad with fruit.
3. Stone Go To IPA (3rd place) Score: 16.89/20
C: Your typical IPA. Pretty good. 4/5
J: Smells so piney and floral. Like a baby Pliny the Younger* (Russian River Brewing Company beer). Like if Pliny was a toddler. 4/5
P: Pretty good. I like that. It’s got a good smell and good taste. 4.89/5
T: Smells so good. Not that bitter, but hoppy. 4/5
Summer Activity: Great for a BBQ by the pool or the beach. Have it with burger and fries. This beer has enough flavor to hold its own, but is still sessionable with an ABV of 4.5%.
2. Anderson Valley Summer Solstice (2nd place) Score: 17.25/20
C: Very creamy and smooth. 4/5
J: I would pair it with dessert like Boston cream pie. It’s like your summer stout. 4.75/5
P: Like a dessert. Reminiscent of orange creamsicle. 4.5/5
T: Smooth and malty. Sweet toasted flavor. 4/5
Summer Activity: Bring this beer when you go camping. It would be great to sip while you roast s’mores over the campfire. It pairs well with dessert or if you just like sweet beer that isn’t hoppy.
1. Sierra Nevada Summerfest (1st place) Score: 17.5/20
C: Refreshing. Very summery. 5/5
J: Sweet and malty. I would wake up and have this with pancakes. 4.5/5
P: Light. Very, very drinkable. Crisp. 4/5
T: Light and refreshing. 4/5
Summer Activity: This is your morning beer: a great excuse to drink at 11 am.
Hope this article was a great guide to some of the beers you should check out this summer. Remember to drink responsibly. Bottoms up!