We asked Christopher Toia, New York brewery representative at Duvel USA, to pick the seven best beers to drink right now. Read on to get a taste of what the season has to offer. Bottoms up.
Cooperstown, New York
The cloudy Belgian style Witbiers (translation: white beer) are a quintessential summer style. The sweetness of the malt and notes of clove from the Belgian yeast are balanced by the tartness and acidity of orange peel and lemon. Ommegang’s version is particularly light and crisp—it’s basically a glass of sunshine—and pairs well with ceviche and salads.
Narragansett Summer Ale
Providence, Rhode Island
Narragansett Summer Ale is a perfectly balanced light ale, with just a touch of hop bite lent by the currently en vogue Citra Hop. You’ll look and feel cool enjoying this tall boy all summer long. Pairs well with a lawn chair, or house parties.
Hell or High Watermelon Wheat
21st Amendment Brewery
San Francisco, California
You could be forgiven for thinking that a watermelon-flavored beer would be a gimmick, but you’d be mistaken. The aroma carries both the sweetness of watermelon fruit, and the vegetal freshness of the rind, and appears golden with a voluminous white head—perfect for anyone trying to preserve their masculine image. Pairs well with salad, but also compliments light barbecued fair very well.
Birrificio Del Ducato
Roncolo Verdi Di Busseto, Italy
The Italians have brought so much creativity and reckless abandon to the art of brewing, you’d think it was their economy. Nuova Mattina, literally New Morning is styled as a Belgian Saison. The spices in this beer are supposed to evoke an early morning trip through a dew soaked forest, and wild flowers, chamomile, coriander, green peppercorn and ginger contribute to the cause. Pairs well with fish, oysters, and semi-cured cheese.
Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout
Flying Dog Brewery
An opaque stout may not seem like an ideal summer beer, but upon closer inspection this one fits the bill. The taste and aroma are reminiscent of strong coffee, but what really sets this beer apart is that it’s brewed with local Rappahanock oysters. This ingredient imparts a subtle briney flavor that reminds me of a sea breeze blowing against the shore. An added bonus: proceeds are contributed to the Oyster Recovery Partnership for restoration in Chesapeake Bay.
Founders All Day IPA
Founders Brewing Company
Grand Rapids, Michigan
The goal of this beer is to provide all the dazzling grapefruit and citrus aroma hops can offer, without overwhelming the palate with bitterness and the body with alcohol. This succeeds in the mission to be a beer enjoyed from morning until, well, the next morning. Will pair well with light grilled foods, spicy Thai/Asian cuisine, and peppery cheeses.
Gose is an all but forgotten style of beer originally brewed in Leipzeg, Germany. Brewed with malted wheat, which contributes the beer’s distinctive brassy color and tangy finish, it also boasts spiciness and a dry finish from ground coriander. But what really distinguishes this style as a summer beer is the addition of salt, adding a sharpness and surprising level of refreshment. Pairs great with fresh summer tomatoes.
There's something about popping open a cold one that smacks of summer the way no spirit or glass of wine can. And while watermelon cocktails and chilled rosé both make a good impression, it's beer that has our vote for the perfect summer refreshment.
"When I think of summer beer, I don't only think of beers that I like to drink during the summer, but beers that are evocative of quintessential summer experiences," says Christopher Toia, New York brewery representative at Duvel USA. For him, a beer should remind the drinker of "the salt air of the beach, the transformation of any outdoor space into a lounge shared with friends, air heavy with smoke carrying the promise of barbecue."
With that in mind, we asked him to pick the seven best beers to drink right now. Check out the slideshow above to get a taste of what the season has to offer. Bottoms up.