Top Ten Beers Of Summer

August 16 2010 - 9:13 AM

Hello, beer and food lovers.  Well, we've entered the dog days of summer, which means Chicago has ripened, replete with street fests, concerts, barbecues, and block parties.  All this, of course, means that it's peak beer drinking season.  Here's a quick hit for you, with the top 10 beers to drink this summer, availability may be limited.  These beers are perfect for hot days, outdoor drinking, and consumption with barbecue, seafood, kebabs, or whatever summer fare you may be gnawing on.  Mind you, these are not necessarily the ten best beers out there, they're just the top 10 for summer enjoyment.  Here we go:

10.  Point Special Lager.  Point is about as easy at it gets for easy summer drinking. 
It's subtle woody, smoky hints constantly remind you that you're drinking a
beer, and not some 45 calorie water with a thimbleful of alcohol tossed with a few
grains.  This is what all the big industrial brews that the
slender volleyball-playing silhouettes wield in those t.v. ads wish they
were. 

9.    Brooklyn Lager.   This is now a microbrew classic.  Not only does it drink very easy – not bitter, not watery, not too thick – it has a strong barley flavor that hits the sweet spot.  Several friends of mine at a recent street fest were thankful this was on hand. 

8.   Lone Star.   This Texas lager is on the cheaper end of the scale and not that easy to find.  It drinks effortlessly but has a bit more flavor that the BMC (Bud/Miller/Coors) beers.  This never bogs you down.

7.   Three Floyd's Jinxproof.   This is a straight-up lager from an unconventional brewer that's a bit more
robust than the industry big three's brews.  It's tough to find at
bars, but a cold 22 of this one will compliment any midday outdoor
events calling for a beer.  Having these on tap at Kuma's Corner's outdoor block party was gold. 

6.  Founders Cerise.   This amazing Michigan brewer might be the nation's best because of their daring pursuit of unique beers.  There's nothing else like this beer.  It's the love child of cherry soda and a Belgian sour.  Pure heaven in the summer.

5.  Victory Prima Pils.   This might be the best American pilsner.  Great hoppiness, light body, crisp, this opaque yellow lager is a winner all year round, and will go with any outdoor cooking you stack up against it.

4.  Stone IPA.  I gave this one a full review several months back, but it deserves another mention here.  Due to its amazingly light body, economical use of malt, crisp and balanced hop profile, and Stone's patented freshness, this definitive IPA is as easy drinking and versatile as any such beer on the market.

3.  Harpoon IPA.  This Boston brew – perhaps the best beer out of
that city – is perfect for summer.  It's got the classic IPA hop bite,
and is never more than enough.  Despite its stark difference from Bud and
Miller, it shares those beers'  relatively light body, making it easy to
drink and return to again and again and again.

2.  Sierra Nevada Summerfest.  You know the brewer due to their ubiquitous
Pale Ale.  This outstanding offering is a smooth lager with just enough bright
citrusy hops.  Every sip is irresistible but no sip is too weighty.

1. Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale.  Okay, I have to keep from gushing
about this brewery, and this beer is one of many in their deep
arsenal.  It's deserving of its own review.  I can quickly tell you that
if flavor's your thing, this one's yours; or, as Sly Stone would say, do what you wanna do with it.  A bit heavier than lagers, it has a lovely hops and wheat balance and a modest golden body.  Try
it at your next picnic.  If you like Three Floyd's Gumballhead, only a restraining order will keep you from this.  

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