With Fall Beer Freedom Day (#FBFD) rapidly approaching we thought now would be a good time to reminisce about our favorite beers of the summer before we kick the Kölsch to the curb, down the last Oberon and say sayonara to the Shandy.
Shiner Ruby Redbird: Tart yet refreshing, thirst-quenching and flavorful, I’ll take this whenever I can find it. Best, for some reason, in the beginning of the summer. May and June is just right, August just doesn’t fit, but that’s fine – I had plenty early on.
Sixpoint Resin: Of all the Sixpoint I tried this summer (and boy, I tried a lot) Resin blows them all away. True to its name, its sticky, bitter and strong. Great in their cool tallboy-esque cans, too.
Ninja vs. Unicorn and Kidnapped by Vikings: Not only are they the best-named beers of the year from two of my favorite new breweries of the year, they’re both my favorite summery-ish offerings from Pipeworks and Solemn Oath, respectively. (Were it winter we’d opt for Pipeworks End of Days Chile Stout but we aren’t there yet.)
Leinie’s Shandy (can only): I know we saw a zillion new shandys come out this season. I know it’s no longer the cool Shandy to like. I know the words “Pledge” and “tastes like” have been thrown around regarding it. I don’t give a shit. Get one of these screaming cold on a hot afternoon straight from a can (again, not the bottle – it’s different) and you can’t do better.
Goose Island Green Line: As a daily drinker, this is hard to beat. Its balance is unmatched, not too hoppy, not too overstated, just right.
Lagunitas Dogtown Pale Ale: In a summer where I reintroduced myself to Tony McGee’s offerings, this one was my new favorite. 2nd place: Czech Pils.
Founders All Day IPA: If you can get my non-hophead-wife to drink an IPA you could say you’re doing something wrong, or doing something right. Founders did it right. All Day indeed, this one was a total winner. (Now, onto Founders Porter season!)
Frank Thomas’ Big Hurt Beer: This was, without a doubt, the best malt liquor beverage endorsed by a former White Sox player I drank this summer.
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale: Yeah, I get that it’s produced year-round, but it’s just so damned tasty. Clean, crisp, hoppy and just a little fruity. An all-time favorite of mine.
Half Acre Gossamer: Lawn. Mower. Beer. I could easily finish off a four-pack of these tall boys in one sitting. So smooth. So refreshing.
Finch’s Golden Wing: New recipe and this beer still perplexes me a bit. Yeah, it’s a blonde ale in color, but it’s also got this twinge of bitter hops that I can’t quite figure out. Regardless, I like this beer a lot better now that they’ve switched out the recipe.
City Provision’s/Finch’s Roasted Summer Kölsch: I wish we had added this to our Kölsch challenge, because this probably could have cleared the field. Love this beer.
Begyle Blonde Ale: You probably haven’t had this yet, but if you can get your hands on some it’s worth it. A blonde ale that drinks like a lager? Sign me up.
Vander Mill Ginger Peach Cider: I had to add a cider, sorry guys. This cider is just so bright and refreshing, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add this to my list.
You guys didn’t leave me with much, but I see a few gaps that can be filled.
Metropolitan Krankshaft & Flywheel: Both were staples in my fridge the entire summer. Light, fruity & crisp – the Kölsch and Lager are perfect compliments to a warm summers day. And both can be replaced by two equally awesome fall beers from Metro – which we’ll get to next week.
Bell’s Oberon: Seriously, no one else mentioned this? Every year I buy a case and every year I plow through that case by July. Summer in a bottle.
Schlafly Yakima Wheat Ale: This beer belongs to the same family (American Pale Wheat Ale) as Oberon but has a more significant hop presence. Dry, spicy and some hoppin’ carbonation make for a ridiculously refreshing and more-complex-than-the-rest summer beer.
Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold: Crisp, light and clean with a touch of floral hops and nibbles of biscuits and honey.
(Editors Note:) So, there you have it, our favorite beers of the summer. Agree? Disagree? Did we miss any? Feel free to sound off in the comments…