Summer 2020 is already shaping up to be an eventful season, and even in the large-scale absence of beach fêtes, block parties, and street festivals, we’ll find plenty of opportunities to crack open a cold one and toast our first responders, marching demonstrators, and friends and family on Zoom calls and at socially distanced gatherings. Innovative brewers around the country and around the world have no intention of slowing their creative pace, offering summer imbibers an array of brand-new releases — like these 10 recommendations, all ideal for sunny days and warm nights.
Elysian Rolling Stone Lager
Outdoor concerts won’t be a common occurrence this summer, but even if the closest you get to a raucous music experience involves a backyard campfire and some high-quality Bluetooth speakers, you can still enjoy a brew specifically crafted with rock ‘n roll in mind. Seattle-based Elysian Brewing Co. recently collaborated with Rolling Stone magazine to create Rolling Stone Lager, a medium-bodied beer with notes of orange and botanicals. This beer drinks lighter than a typical lager, but its complex flavors elevate it above a typical “porch pounder.” A cooling period in the fridge prior to drinking won’t stifle Rolling Stone Lager’s fragrant profile, making it a perfect treat on a sweltering summer evening. Elysian Rolling Stone is available for sale at retailers nationwide.
Stella Artois Solstice Lager
Stella Artois’ signature pilsner appears is ubiquitous at bars and restaurants throughout the U.S., so it’s a bit surprising that the Belgian brewery has never released a summer seasonal beer … until now. Stella Artois Solstice, a golden lager, features a light body, an undercurrent of citrus, and a clean, crisp finish (courtesy of the triple-filter process used to make the beer). It also rings in at a 4.5% ABV (compared to 5.2% for Stella Artois Pilsner), so it’s easy to enjoy all day long (and well into the night). Stella Artois Solstice Lager can be purchased nationwide.
Lone Star Rio Jade Lager
“Mexican-style” lagers traditionally include a relatively low alcohol content, a refreshing crispness, and a delicate balance of bitter and sweet flavors. Cult-favorite Texas brewery Lone Star chose this beer style for its 2020 summer seasonal release, resulting in Rio Jade Lager, which, according to Lone Star, is “ locally brewed in the Hill Country of Austin with the finest ingredients Texas has to offer, including award-winning malt from Blacklands Malt, the first malt house to use Texas-grown barley.” Lone Star Rio Jade is available for purchase throughout the state of Texas.
Springdale Beer Co. Back Pocket IPA
Bright, hoppy, and slightly more potent than other popular summer-beer genres, IPAs feel inherently festive, which accounts for their regular appearances at backyard BBQs and on outdoor beer garden draft lists. Hazy IPAs (also known as “New England IPAs”) feature double dry-hopping and a lack of filtration, resulting in an aromatic brew with bright notes reminiscent of tropical fruits. Basically, they’re ideal summer sippers, and the newest hazy IPA from Massachusetts-based Springdale Brewing Co., the Back Pocket IPA, delivers nuanced flavors, a clean finish, and a substantial 6.8% ABV. Springdale Back Pocket IPA can be found at retailers throughout New England and in other select markets.
Union Craft Brewing Somebody To Lean On Double IPA
The hospitality industry took a major hit this year, courtesy of COVID-required shutdowns. Restaurants and bars in most American cities are either reopening or are in the process of contemplating their next phases, but weeks of drastically reduced revenue (or no revenue at all) put local spots in serious need of assistance. Baltimore-based Union Craft Brewing wants to help city eateries, and the brand’s relief plan involves a brand-new double IPA release fittingly entitled “Somebody To Lean On.” Union describes this West Coast-inspired brew as a “sticky icky, dank and fruity Double IPA,” and all proceeds from the sale of this beer will be redirected to the Baltimore Restaurant Relief Fund. Union Craft Brewing Somebody To Lean On Double IPA is for sale at retailers throughout the metro Baltimore and Metro DC areas.
Grimm Ales Fluffy Tufts Double IPA
“Fluffy” may seem like an odd adjective for an IPA, but this new release from acclaimed Brooklyn microbrewery Grimm Ales earns the descriptor with its soft, foamy mouthfeel, heady 8% ABV, and summer-perfect flavors of “papaya and guava and background hints of lime, black tea, and sweet coconut cream.” Grimm Ales Fluffy Tufts Double IPA is available for purchase online throughout New York State and at select metro NYC retailers.
Seedstock Brewery Gratzer
If you’re looking for a beer to match a grilled feast, then the newest release from Denver-based Seedstock Brewery has you covered. This year, Seedstock decided to introduce “Gratzer,” a beer style dating back to 15th-century Prussia, to contemporary U.S. drinkers. It’s made with oak-smoked wheat malt, which offers the beer a smoky backbone and a gentle sweetness. The Gratzer’s yellow hue, light and crisp texture, and frothy head combine with its layered flavor blend to create a true “Champagne of beers” and a total barbecue MVP. Seedstock Brewery Gratzer can be purchased to-go at Seedstock Brewery.
21st Amendment Tropical Sparkle
21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco has serious skills where fruit beers are concerned; The brand’s Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer is a cult classic for an excellent reason. This summer, 21st Amendment chose to debut a light, effervescent ale packed with fruit flavors like pineapple and coconut. At only 4.2% ABV, Tropical Sparkle is a marathon beer rather than a sprinter, and it’s designed to enjoy ice-cold right out of the fridge or cooler. 21st Amendment Tropical Sparkle can be found in all 30 states in the brewery’s distribution area.
Great Divide Brewing Margarita Gose
A German-style of sour beer, gose traditionally contains citrus notes in its overall flavor motif, so it’s not terribly shocking to see a craft brewery amping up the lime factor and creating a gose variation inspired by one of summertime’s most beloved cocktails: The margarita. Great Divide Brewing Co. in Denver devised its Margarita Gose in order to “capture the vibe of the poolside cabana” and paired it with the refreshing characteristics of a traditional sour German ale. Lime juice and Himalayan rock salt count among the infusion ingredients used for this goes, and the beer also spends some time aging in used tequila barrels to really clinch the margarita parallels. Great Divide Brewing Margarita Gose is available for purchase at Colorado retailers and online in select states.
Weathered Souls Brewing Black Is Beautiful
In the minds of many beer drinkers, stouts and porters reach the height of their appeal during the colder seasons, thanks to their heavier weight and warming properties. But the team at Weathered Souls Brewing in San Antonio wants breweries around the country to join them right now for a thrilling stout-focused project: The Black Is Beautiful initiative. This endeavor will involve a 10% ABV stout recipe provided by Weathered Souls, which participating breweries can use and customize. These breweries will then release their spins on the recipe, with a Black Is a Beautiful label (designed by Weathered Souls collaborators) on each can or bottle. The partner breweries will take responsibility for their releases and distribution (so keep an eye on your local breweries to see if they’re part of the project!), and Weathered Souls asks that all proceeds be donated to “local foundations that support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged.” We can’t think of a better beer to represent Summer 2020.
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