Following a spring spent in the great indoors, you’re likely eager to be outside for warm sunshine and cold beer. Be it at the beach, backyard, or BBQ, summer’s ideal cooler brews combine moderate alcohol with mounds of flavor, thirst-quenchers that can beat the heat—and make you come back for a koozie refill. This season, assemble some old friends and new-to-you beers offering a fresh approach.
“We’re making a beer that’s better for the consumer and better for the planet,” New Belgium research and development brewer Ross Koenigs says of the Purist, a low-calorie, high-flavor organic lager.
Here are five of our favorite options for making your beers this summer memorable.
Grupo Modelo, Mexico
Skip Corona’s lead and hold the lime. First brewed in 1865, the amber-hued Vienna-style lager—originally brought to Mexico by Austrian brewers—has ample flavor, its subtle toasty sweetness complemented by crispness that comes from corn. Victoria is great with grilled anything.
Light Hearted Ale
Bell’s Brewery, Comstock, MI
Earlier this year, the Michigan brewery released this 110-calorie spinoff of Two Hearted Ale, its flagship IPA. Like its stronger sibling, Light Hearted is packed with Centennial hops that supply a citrusy pop, while rich malts keep it from drinking like bitter bubbly water.
Buenaveza Salt & Lime Lager
Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, CA, and Richmond, VA
The SoCal brewery’s Baja-inspired beer, its newest national release, tastes like lounging on a beach. Lime gives the Mexican-style lager a bright tartness that’s smoothed out with salt, creating an ideal companion for chips and guac or baking beneath sunshine. Or both.
The Purist Clean Lager
New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins, CO
So many low-carb lagers lack calories and flavor. The 95-calorie Purist bucks the trend by combining Oregon-grown organic barley and hops with Rocky Mountains river water, creating a crisp three-carb crusher with character. The no-guilt lager is a killer workout reward.
Wild Little Thing
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA, and Mills River, NC
Looking for an eye-opener or ideal brunch beverage? Get tickled pink by Sierra Nevada’s Wild Little Thing, a sour ale smoothed out with oat and wheat, then infused with strawberry, guava, and hibiscus for a Technicolor pop of fruity tartness.
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