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Top 10 Summer Brews

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Summer's here. What's a beer lover to do without heavy porters and stouts? Here's a list of refreshing summer brews that are still packed with enough flavor to hold the attention of the most discerning of beer snobs.

The order of this list is based on the "beeriness" of the beers. It starts with Pilsner and proceeds through increasingly less typical brews until it ends with fruit beers.

What's your favorite summertime beer?

Find your About Beer Guide's other Top Ten Beers lists here.

1. Bitgurger Premium Pils

Bitburger
wickenden/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
For many, Pilsner is the only acceptable summer brew. Bitburger's Premium Pils is an excellent example of a German Pils. It's loaded with hops and has a wonderful lager snap that makes it a great beer for hot summer days.

2. Samuel Smith's Pure Brewed Lager

If Pilsners are generally too thin for you and you want something for your mouth to do while you're drinking a beer, this is the brew for you. It is sweeter than Pils with a light hops presence. It has a mouthfeel a bit like an Oatmeal Stout and a lingering sweetness. It is the perfect lager to sip out on the deck at the end of a long hot day.

3. Flying Dog Classic Pale Ale (Doggie Style)

This pale ale is a favorite for many fans of the style. It is dry hopped with Cascade hops giving this English style an American twist.

4. Goose Island India Pale Ale

This is a great beer. Fans of the IPA will enjoy the loads of fresh hops apparent in the nose and flavor of this beer. For a beer lover, this is bottled sunshine.

5. Paulaner Hefe-Weizen

This classic Bavarian style wheat beer is a perennial summer favorite. Drop a slice of lemon into your glass for a perfect accompaniment to a picnic or barbecue.

6. Berliner Kindl Weisse

This beer is a testament to the ingenuity of German brewers. It's amazing that such flavors can be coaxed out of water, barley, hops and yeast. The secret is souring. The grains are allowed to sour producing a lip smacking tang unique to this wonderfully refreshing and highly effervescent beer. Many fans of the style like to add raspberry or woodruff syrup to take off the sour edge.

7. Samuel Adams Summer Ale

Samuel Adams Summer Ale is another wheat beer. Wheat beers are popular for summer brews because it is in many ways a blank pallet. Wheat contributes very little flavor and a soft mouthfeel making it a great medium for the fruit and spice flavors popular with summertime beers.

In this case, SA uses lemon zest and something called "grains of paradise" described as a peppery African spice. Despite all of this the beer retains a nice malty character and is perfectly enjoyable.

8. Pyramid Apricot Weizen Ale

In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that this is one of my wife's favorite beers. That being said, I can also say that I am under no coercion to include it in this list.

This Apricot Weizen is another wheat beer. The subtle flavor of apricots blends nicely with this ale. It also has a remarkable mouthfeel from the fruit. This is a good brew to pair with a spicy barbecue or, if you make your own BBQ sauce, trying throwing in a bit of this beer for an interesting twist.

9. Boulevard Brewing Co. Zon

This is a Kansas City interpretation of the classic Belgian witbier style. It is a flavorful beer with coriander and orange peel contributing some interesting elements. It contains unmalted wheat giving it a cloudy white appearance and smooth mouthfeel.

10. Buffalo Bill's Orange Blossom Cream Ale

When I first tried this beer I was assaulted with sense memory deja vu. I knew that I'd tasted it before but I just couldn't place it. It took me two beers and two days to place it. This beer tastes just like the soda-pop Orange Crush. It is dominated with a soft orange flavor. Try it with light summer salads or a cold picnic.

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