The bad news: Red Dog no longer exists. The good news: You can now drink beers you didn't find in the trunk of your older brother's Dodge Neon. The better news: We asked five local beer experts to pick their favorite beers for the Summer, and none of them have anything to do with Red Dog OR your brother's 1996 Dodge Neon.
Jason Bernstein, Beer Expert & Co-Owner of The Golden State and Bludso's Bar & Que Drake's Alpha Session (English Bitter, 3.8% ABV) Jason says, "[One] recommendation that I have for Summer isn't so much an actual beer but a beer style to keep a lookout for. The sessionable IPA is the greatest invention; I'm sure it's been around for years, but it's relatively new to me. I love Drake's Alpha Session, but I'm sure there are a million more out there. Basically, you get all the hop-swagger of an IPA, but, thanks to the low alcohol content, you can actually have a second one.
Saison Dupont (Saison/Farmhouse Ale, 6.5% ABV) Jason says, "My favorite style of light beer is very nearly always a Saison. In a nutshell, a Saison is a funky pale ale. By "funky", I mean that instead of the hoppy notes pervasive in most pale ales, one gets notes of straw and hay. Most of them undergo a secondary bottle fermentation that yields a champagne-like piquancy -- microcarbonation. If pinned down, I'd say that the classic Belgian version, Saison Dupont, is my favorite, but that's very much like claiming Heinz ketchup is your favorite -- it's the product that virtually defines the style. But I have found myself drinking Great Divide's Colette as well: its carbonation is quieter, and it's decidedly less funky than the Dupont version -- but there is a light, tart grassiness that lends itself to an easy backyard brew.
Meg Gill, President of Golden Road Brewing Heal the Bay IPA (American IPA, 6.8% ABV) Meg says, "I love our brand new Heal the Bay IPA -- it's a Summertime, citra-bombed out, light-in-color, sharp IPA. Is there anything better than a fresh West Coast IPA bursting with fruit after a big ocean swim, hike, or surf session? Even better, [you'll be] sipping for a cause that affects every creature on Earth (proceeds from Heal the Bay IPA go right back to the Santa Monica-based non-profit) -- protecting our waterways so that we can sip on Summertime IPAs in future years. Right now, the beer is on draft around town, but cans will be available starting mid-June!
Rolle Bolle by New Belgium (Belgian Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV) Meg says, "My other Summer pick would be Rolle Bolle by New Belgium. At a conference in San Francisco, I spotted a gentleman holding a yellow beer from afar and asked him if they were pouring Shift (another favorite of mine from New Belgium) -- I needed a beer to palate-cleanse and break from the IPAs. It wasn't Shift -- it was their Rolle Bolle, a brilliantly bright, tropical yet fruity, blonde-ish Belgian beer. A treat indeed, perfect for Summer.
Anne Conness, Certified Cicerone & Chef/Partner at Simmzy's and Tin Roof Bistro Upright Brewing Company's Seven (#7) (Saison/Farmhouse Ale, 8% ABV) Anne says, "Saisons are the quintessential Summer beer, in my opinion (they originally were brewed in Winter for Summer workers), and this one is lighter with a drier finish than traditional Belgian beers. Sour, with grassy, spicy notes, and super effervescent.
Erzquell Brauerei Bielstein's Zunft Kölsch (Kölsch, 4.8% ABV) Anne says, "Not new per se, but I was lucky enough to find this Kölsch at Total Wines not too long ago. It's also light and refreshing, but a bit more bitter and reminiscent of a dry white wine. Pour it into a tall, thin glass and sip away on your patio.
Dan Dunn, host of Dan Dunn's Happy Hour on SiriusXM Narragansett Summer Ale (American Blonde Ale, 4.2% ABV) Dan says, "Like the Narragansett Brewing Company, my lovely girlfriend hails from Rhode Island. It’s a diminutive state that, frankly, is often overshadowed by some of the other, larger states in the country... which is to say all of them. Okay, that’s not entirely accurate -- Rhode Island has the smallest total area of any state, but Wyoming is less populated. But I don’t know of any decent Wyoming-made beer, nor am I currently sleeping with anyone from there. So, in the interest of keeping the sex thing going, it’s Narragansett Summer Ale for me. It’s the second best thing the Ocean State has to offer. Go Rhode Island!
Victory Summer Love Ale (American Blonde Ale, 5.2% ABV) Dan says, "Who doesn’t like to win, right? I certainly do. Which is why I drink Victory. Not only does the name sound like the very definition of winning, but I also love the smell of Victory in the morning. Or is it napalm? I always get those two mixed up. Victory is brewed in Downingtown, PA, just 30mi from my hometown of Philadelphia. And, while I used to chug too much beer and vomit on a regular basis back in college, never -- not once -- did I hurl from chugging Victory Summer Love Ale. That, my friends, is what’s known as 'drinkability.'
Christina Perozzi, The Beer Chicks Sofie from Goose Island Beer Company (Saison/Farmhouse Ale, 6.5% ABV) Christina says, "In the Summer, I love Saisons and I love Champagne, and this Belgian-style farmhouse ale is like the lovechild of a brut Champagne and a classic Saison! It's brewed with orange peel like a white ale, but then fermented with wild yeasts and aged in wine barrels! It's citrusy, tart, and dry, with vanilla notes on the finish. There's nothing better than drinking this beer at a Summer concert at the Hollywood Bowl!
Humulus Lager from The Bruery (American Double/Imperial Pilsner, 7.2% ABV) Christina says, "Man I love this beer for Summer. It's the hoppiest beer The Bruery makes, with piney, grapefruity aromatics, and lots of floral and herbaceous characteristics -- but it's also really nice and light-bodied, more like an American lager. The balance is amazing. This is the beer I love to drink when I want to feel like I'm drinking a lighter ABV beer -- but I'm really not!"