An ice-cold beer, still dripping with beads of water from the cooler, is one of the hallmarks of summer. Most of us are used to dipping into that bucket of cheap domestics that you’ll find at any beach party, cookout, or campsite, and there’s no shame in that. But just because it’s summertime doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor in your brew choices.
These days, summer drinking has evolved to new heights. More and more great craft beers are being sold in cans, making them easier than ever to transport up to a rooftop or onto a boat. And people are also realizing that there’s more diversity to seasonal drinking than near-frozen lagers and lemon-crowned wheat beers. Something light-bodied and refreshing may be right for a day in the sun, but when you’re grilling meats at dusk, you might be better off with a porter. And a tart, bubbly saison can add instant swagger to any picnic.
To discover some new ways to tackle summer beer choices, we hit up our panel of experts—including brewers, bar owners, and journalists—to find out what they’ll be drinking this season. We’ve got our work cut out for us.
- Mike Lovullo, specialty brands manager for Union Beer Distributors
- Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy’s No. 43; host of Beer Sessions Radio; founder of the Good Beer Seal
- Julian Kurland, Beer Director, The Cannibal Beer & Butcher
- Samuel Merritt, founder of Civilization of Beer
- Jeff Gorlechen, co-founder at Sixpoint
- Justin Philips, owner of Beer Table
- Dave Brodrick, founder of Blind Tiger Ale House
- Reid Ramsay, founder of Beer Street Journal
- Ale Sharpton, beer journalist and author of Cruisin’ for a Brewsin’
- Anthony Finley, beer server at Proletariat
- John Holl, beer journalist and author of The American Craft Beer Cookbook
- Chris Schonberger, editor-in-chief of First We Feast
Any favorites you’d add to the list? Let us know in the comments.