Full Sail Session
"But internet writer, there are a million summer beers in Oregon, and you should probably swallow glass for forgetting (insert any of Oregon's 4,901 breweries here)," you say. Look, we get it. And in a perfect world, Burnside's Lime Kolsch would be as prevalent as PBR. It's not. But Full Sail's session is, and while it's a year-round beer, it's Oregon's summer beer of choice. The handheld grenade bottles make up for being an ounce short of 12 by being excessively easy to hide in a lawn chair's cup holder. The rock-paper-scissors bottle caps come in very handy for mid-float doldrums. And, shit, if you don't like the lager, there are IPA, stout, and cream ale versions. Not that you need them. The lager's just fine. And if you find yourself at a BBQ without it, well, go next door to a better BBQ.
Victory Summer Love Ale
Golden ale, 5.2%
Like we even had a choice for PA! It's called Summer Love. Fun fact: other than this brew, exactly zero of the other beers of summer were commissioned by tourism boards! The Philly tourism board asked Victory to make a beer for it, and the brewery responded by creating a sessionable seasonal that features a baseball on the can/bottle, which reminds certain sad Phillies fans like myself that the team is gonna suck for a while before it starts dominating the NL like it's 2008 all over again. I mean, Velasquez looks like he could be a stud, and Tommy Joseph will be a top first baseman in a few years too, right? What was I saying about beer again?
Narragansett Del's Shandy
I just had lunch with a friend of mine who grew up in Rhode Island, and since he's had a beer or two in his day, I asked him for recommendations for the state's beer of the summer. We were having lunch, so I was more focused on my chicken sandwich than anything he told me, but from what I can remember, he said the Shandy tasted like a perfect blend of your standard 'Gansett lager and Del's lemonade, which he assured me is "a thing" for Rhode Islanders. More importantly, the chicken sandwich had these house-roasted peppers on it that were fantastic. The Shandy's legit too, I later discovered.
Sour. Salty. Delicious. So sayeth the can, and the can sayeth the truth. This is, simply put, a damn fine gose of the classic variety, and that alone would make it a fantastic summer beer. But you're in South Carolina, so the real question is: does it pair well with BBQ? Yes. And it helps amp up that vinegar sauce as a secret ingredient, too. Trust us on this.
Crow Peak Canyon Cream Ale
Cream ale, 5%
South Dakota's best breweries makes a damn fine IPA that's also canned, but for some reason, this year-round cream ale gets better in the summer. Maybe it's because it gives us a flashback to that time we accidentally dripped a little bit of vanilla soft serve in our beer. Or maybe it's because the last time we got our hands on a can was on a hot summer day after a hike in its namesake canyon right before a hail storm. South Dakota's craft beer scene is growing, but sparse. Crow Peak is everywhere. Never enter the woods in the summer without it.
Wheat ale, 5%
As anyone who's spent a season sweating it out under the brutal Southern sun can attest, Tennessee summers are hot. I'm talking the kind of hot that melts the blacktop under your sneakers and sends hound dogs scurrying under front porches. I'd be hard-pressed to find a state more worthy of the thirst-quenching, soul-reviving powers of a truly great summer wheat beer -- which is exactly why Nashville's Yazoo Brewing Company brewed what it calls "the best summer beer possible." A light-bodied wheat backbone creates soft citrus flavors while ground coriander brings an herbal, floral bouquet to the table, subtle spice countered by the unparalleled drying effects of quality sea salt. Pick up a sixer, grab an inner tube, and spend a lazy afternoon floating down the Little River for maximum enjoyment.