Food & Drink

DC's beer experts tell you the top beers to drink in the sun

Summer Beer Guide Washington DC

Summer is right around the corner. Plotting. So we creeped into the minds of the top local beer gurus to get recs on what they'll be sippin' during those humid July afternoons. Learn

Bill DeBaun, DC Beer Flying Dog Brewery's Underdog Atlantic Lager (American Pale Lager, 4.7%) Bill says, "Released last summer, this 'Atlantic lager', a style that the folks in Frederick came up with themselves, is thirst-quenching and not too heavy at 4.7%. A great beer for recruiting fans of macrolagers to something a little more complex, because there's definitely hops here.

Port City Brewing Company's Optimal Wit (Witbier, 5%) Bill says, "Now bottle-conditioned, this is a light, refreshing witbier with notes of black pepper, coriander, orange peel, and grains of paradise. Eminently drinkable at just five percent. Do yourself a favor and don't add orange to this one the way you might see people do to other witbiers; you'll thank me later.

Bill Butcher, Owner of Port City Brewery Bill Madden's Kolsch at Mad Fox Brewing Company (Kolsch, 4.4%) Bill B. says, "I'll be drinking Bill Madden's Kolsch at Mad Fox Brewing Company all Summer long. It is the perfect refreshing Summer beer, crisp and delightful.

Evolution Lot #3 IPA (American IPA, 6.8%) Bill B. says, "I'll also be drinking plenty of Evolution Lot #3 IPA, because I absolutely love IPA, and I drink it year 'round. This is a great local example of American IPA: hoppy and bitter with great citrus and piney flavors you look for in an IPA.

Greg Engert, Beer Boss at Churchkey Bavarian Hefeweizen, El Hefe Speaks! (Hefeweizen, 5.3%) Greg says, "For those who love traditional wheat-based brews, DC Brau has got us covered all Summer long. For the first time ever, our inimitable local brewery has pledged to make their delicious take on Bavarian Hefeweizen, El Hefe Speaks!, a true Summer seasonal, with plenty of kegs and cans flowing throughout the stickier months. Brightly refreshing, El Hefe Speaks! boasts a mild sweetness bolstered by fresh citrus, banana and white pepper and clove.

Boulevard Brewing Company's 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer (American Pale Wheat Ale, 5.5%) Greg says, "For those who resist the typically sweeter and fruitier character of wheat ales, a new cadre of well-hopped wheats are heading to town. Boulevard Brewing Company's 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer is quickly becoming among the most sought-after of the bunch, laying floral hop flavors atop a cleansing wheaty brew brimming with thirst-quenching qualities. American Pacific Northwest hops are packed into 80-Acre to create a brew that shows IPA-esque, bold, zesty lemon and perfumed aromas, combined with a snappy, earthy, mildly bitter finish.

Jason Irizarry, Chocolate City Beer Brooklyn Brewery's Sorachi Ace (Saison, 7.6%) Jason says, "On a milder sunny BBQ backyard type day, I'd sip on some of Brooklyn Brewery's Sorachiace Ace -- a lemony gem, refreshing, and bright.

Bohemia (German Pilsener, 5.3% ABV) Jason says, "If it's a hot sit-by-the-pool day, I'd go with Bohemia, a crisp German-styled pilsner, yet wholly Mexican -- goes great with sunburn and sand in your shorts.

Dave, 3 Stars Brewery Oxbow Brewing Company's Sasuga or their Freestyle Series of Saisons (Saison, 4.5%) Dave says, "For my Summer consumption, I am generally in the mood for something light, tart, and easy drinking. This Summer, I am seeking out offerings from Oxbow Brewing Company out of Maine, like their Sasuga or their Freestyle Series of Saisons. I also won't pass up a delicious hop offering, like our Two To The Dome double IPA.

Heady Topper from Alchemist Brewing (Imperial IPA, 8%) Dave says, "But if you'd prefer a different breweries offerings of choice, I'd have to go with Heady Topper from Alchemist Brewing. I would also search out any of our Summer Session Series of Saisons, where we will be releasing seasonal offerings in the form of amazing low ABV saisons.

Amy Bowman, Owner Black Squirrel Legend Brewing Pilsner (Czech Pilsner, 6%) Amy says, "The pilsner style has long been associated with thirst-quenchers enjoyed best during the hot Summer months. In Legend’s version, the emphasis is on the Hallertau and Sterling hops. The result is a well-balanced lager that is slightly sweet, malty, and hoppy. The straw-hued brew epitomizes the pilsner style. And, unlike the macro American imitators of the pilsner style, its hop character is right up front. Legend Brewing opened in 1994 in Richmond and is Virginia’s oldest continually operating craft brewery. Legend pilsner is a gem that flew under the radar until it placed second in Washington Post’s Beer Madness, beating out 32 beers in head-to-head match-up. It’s a great beer that’s finally getting the recognition it has long deserved.

Mother Earth Brewing Second Wind Pale Ale - American Pale Ale, 5% Amy says, "Summer is a thirsty season that’s tailor made for enjoying an outstanding pale ale like Mother Earth’s Second Wind. This beer is uncomplicated and down-to-earth, just like the warm summer months. Made with two primary ingredients: two row American Brewers’ malt and lots of Cascade hops, this crisp, golden-hued ale has a rich aroma and logs in at a sessionable 5% ABV (meaning you can drink a few). While definitely hoppy, it's not overly bitter and the citrusy hop flavor is backed up with a good dose of malt, resulting in great Summertime combination. Not too hoppy, not too malty. It’s just right.

Ben Clark, Flying Dog Troegs Sunshine Pils (German Pilsener, 4.5%) Ben says, "There's nothing like a crisp and clean pilsner during the Summer. Troegs nails this style, which is often neglected by us hop-crazy brewers. This is the beer I want to have in constant supply for the cupholder of my riding lawnmower.

Founders All Day IPA (American IPA, 4.7%) Ben says, "During our hot and humid Summers, sometimes it's not the best idea to crack a higher ABV IPA. That's why Founders' All Day is perfect. It has an easy-drinking low ABV, but has beautiful hop character to satisfy any hophead.

Brandon Skall, Co-founder of DC Brau Stillwater Cellar Door (Saison, 6.6%) Brandon says, "Notes of white sage, light earthy spice and crisp citrus throughout. Great for a hot day!

Mad Fox Kolsch (Kolsch, 4.4%) Brandon says, "Super delicious and perfect for Summer sluggin’."

Flying Dog Brewery - Underdog Atlantic Lager
Mad Fox Kolsch
Bavarian Hefeweizen, El Hefe Speaks!
Brooklyn Brewery's Sorachiace Ace
Troegs Sunshine Pils
Stillwater Cellar Door