Every summer, a debate rages about which pop hit will go down in history as the “song of summer,” joining the ranks of drop-top classics like Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and, uh, Katy Perry’s “California Gurls.” But what about the beer that dominates the warm-weather zeitgeist, demanding cooler space until autumn brings back the pumpkin ales and märzens?

Unlike music lovers, beer nerds can’t rely on the charts to crown a victor—if numbers ruled this race, we’d be stuck with Bud Light and Corona every single year. Instead, you’ve got to seek out bottle shops, bars, and breweries where knowledgeable drinkers can lead you towards the most exciting new sunny-day sippers.

With low-ABV session IPAs trending and refreshing styles like gose on the rise, there are more contenders than ever this year. To help you sort through the noise, we tapped our crew of beer experts for some drankin’ advice:

Here are their picks for the go-to beer of summer.


Avery Liliko’i Kepolo

summerbeers_averyStyle: Witbier
From: Boulder, CO
ABV: 5.6%
Website: averybrewing.com

Kurland says:  While we are still living in the moment of the gose, it would be a mistake to overlook this new year-round brew from Avery as a contender for beer of the summer. Previously available only as a specialty on draft every once and a while, Liliko’I Kepolo is now available to the masses in a 12oz can. Combining a witbier and passionfruit, this beer is not sour (they are clear to say “tropical & tart” on the can), but there is still a good amount of acid that is refreshing on the palate. The fruit is slightly sweet and pairs incredibly well with the flavors of orange peel and coriander. The body is light, with a light-medium carbonation that makes this beer extremely sessionable. (Photo: brickovencb.com)

Creature Comfort Athena

summerbeers_athenaStyle: Berliner weisse
From: Athens, GA
ABV: 4.5%
Website: creaturecomfortsbeer.com

Ray says: While Tropicália IPA is the star of this Athens, GA brewery’s lineup, Athena has quietly asserted itself as an Oscar-winning supporting actor. A pillowy-soft mouthfeel joins forces with a subtly tart, lactic acid bite in this 4.5%-ABV Berliner. It hasn’t been easy to find in cans lately, but you can probably trade for it if you’re willing to give up something great from your cellar—and you should. (Photo: Oh Beautiful Beer)


Oskar Blues Pinner

summerbeers_pinnerStyle: Session IPA
From: Longmont, CO
ABV: 4.9%
Website: brew.oskarblues.com

Brooks: Because rosé isn’t a beer, I have to say I crushed a ton of Oskar Blue’s Pinner Throwback IPA. It packs a lot of juicy tropical fruit and citrus hop flavor and, at 4.9%-ABV, I could drink these from sun up to sun down—and I’ve tried to often enough. This beer is light enough to sip on a beach and dank enough to handle all of my grilling and BBQ needs. (Photo: Oskar Blues)

Brooklyn Brewery 1/2 Ale

summerbeers_halfaleStyle: Session saison
From: Brooklyn, NY
ABV: 3.4%
Website: brooklynbrewery.com

Bernstein says: Socked with lemony Sorachi Ace and orange-y Amarillo hops, this hazy little unfiltered saison—just 3.4% ABV—has been stuck in steady drinking rotation all summer long. My only complaint to Brooklyn Brewery: I want to see this refresher in cans. (Photo via Brooklyn Brewery)


Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin

summerbeers_sculpinStyle: IPA
From: San Diego, CA
ABV: 7%
Website: ballastpoint.com

Sharpton says: Not everything has to meet “session” standards in order for me to indulge in a craft brew during the summer months. The Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin was getting poured regularly ​in my glass ​because the big bit of grapefruit flavor screamed refreshment. It’s so good, in fact, that this stellar IPA is now available in cans and bottles year-round. (Photo: Craft Shack)

Grimm Artisanal Ales Psychokinesis

SuperStyle: American sour
From: Brooklyn, NY
ABV: 5.0%
Website: grimmales.com

Krommydas: I’ve gained no paranormal powers from drinking Grimm’s stupendous sequel to Telekinesis, but Psychokinesis has kept my thirst quenched since its recent debut. This golden dry-hopped sour is complex, partly as a result of a mixed fermentation (including Lactobacillus) and conditioning with oak spirals. It’s also refreshing: a light body, lively carbonation to accentuate the temperate tartness, and lovely aromas of tropical fruits like mango and pineapple from Mosaic, El Dorado, and Jarrylo hops. I highly recommend Psychokinesis to anyone searching for a magical beer this summer, and I would never lie. Who am I, Uri Geller? (Photo: Grimm Artisanal Ales)


Oxbow Crossfade

summerbeers_oxbowStyle: Saison
From: Newcastle, ME
ABV: 5.0%
Website: oxbowbeer.com

Lovullo says: When the muggy summer heat creeps in and you want both complexity and something sessionable, my pick is Oxbow Cross Fade.  This beautifully blended saison mixes lemony aromas from floral hops with a bright tart funkiness from various strains of Brettanomyces. It stays true to the historical saison tradition of low alcohol and amazingly drinkability. (Photo: Untappd)

Folksbier Sunshine Daydream

summerbeers_folksbierStyle: Pilsner
From: Brooklyn, NY
ABV: 5.5%
Website: folksbier.com

Carbone says: This is the kind of beer that shouldn’t happen—it takes too long in tank and backs up this microbrewery’s production, but it’s so very worth it. This is what a classic pilsner should taste like. Folksbier looks back to German-style beers made in NYC in the 19th century. The Morning Dew or Helles Simple would do fine on one of these sweaty days as well . (Photo: Flickr/Folksbier)


Logsdon Farmhouse Ales Szech ‘n Brett

summer_logsdonStyle: Saison
From: Hood River, OR
ABV: 6.5%
Website: farmhousebeer.com

Schonberger says: While I’ve certainly got my go-to sweaty-bar beers (Other Half/Bunker Boogie Board Stuntz) and porch sippers (Westbrook Gose) lined up this season, summer also calls for large-format bottles that will help you convert all the rosé drinkers at the function. The farmhouse specialists out of Hood River, OR have provided the perfect ammunition with Szech ‘n Brett: an earthy but purposefully easygoing “fisherman” saison that speaks to those of us who prefer secluded lakes in the woods to bro-infested beaches. An added hit of peppery spice gives it great pairing potential for any summer meal, as well. (Photo: Logsdon Farmhouse Ales)

Commerzienrat Riegele Privat

grossman_summerbeerStyle: Dortmunder
From: Augsburg, Germany
ABV: 5.2%
Website: riegele.de

Grossman says: My beer of the summer is not new, but rather a beer that is just now being released more widely in the U.S. market: Commerzienrat Riegele Privat from Brauhaus Riegele from Augsburg, Germany. We [at Sierra Nevada] had the good fortune to collaborate with Riegele on an Oktoberfest beer, and the brewers introduced us to this wonderful export-style lager. It has quickly become a favorite for me. It’s light and golden with an incredibly complex malt flavor—slightly sweet, with a rich, bready, and grainy profile—that’s unheard of in such an easy-drinking style. The quality and precision of their brewing is impressive, and it was an honor to get to work with them. If you can find anything in the Riegele line, it’s definitely worth a try, but for me, the Commerzienrat Privat is one of the best of the bunch. (Photo: bierclub.de)


Threes Brewing Words Have No Meaning

summerbeers_threesStyle: Saison
From: Brooklyn, NY
ABV: 6.8%
Website: threesbrewing.com

Goldfarb says: When it comes to summertime, my wife cares less what we’re drinking and, more so, where we are drinking. I’d be happy spending beautiful, summer days inside a dark bar with a bunch of deviants, but she wants to be outside. Thankfully, last fall’s arrival of Threes Brewing satisfies us both. The Gowanus brewpub is walking distance from our Park Slope pad, and its gorgeous backyard garden is a perfect place to waste away the day drinking pitchers—yes, craft beer in pitchers!—of this herbal and citrusy bier de miel (essentially, a saison brewed with honey). (Photo: Threes Brewing)