This story is part of our Dog Days Survival Guide, a collection of essays, recommendations and how-tos to help you get through the hottest days of the year.
It’s a cliché, but there really is nothing quite as satisfying as an ice-cold beer on a hot summer day. Beer is an essential part of our summer social lives, maintaining a constant presence at activities like cookouts, ballgames and camping trips. But on those unbearably sweltering days when it’s too hot to do anything, when all you can do is park yourself in front of your AC unit and wait for the sun to go down, it’s an absolute godsend — a necessary source of refreshment that’ll both quench your thirst and take the edge off.
We have our own opinions about what summer beers you should be trying, but for the purposes of this article, we left it to the professionals. Below, 10 brewers tell us their go-to beers for the hottest day of the year — not including any from their own breweries. As you might expect, a good portion of them went with German-style pilsners, but there are a few surprise choices in here, and even a macrobrew or two.
Because sometimes it’s so ungodly hot that you just need to go with something that tastes mostly like water.
Logan Ackerley, head brewer at Wallenpaupack Brewing Company: Jack’s Abby Post Shift
“My go-to beer in the heat of summer is Post Shift from Jack’s Abby. I love a good pilsner, and this one is the perfect combination of crisp and hoppy with just a touch of bready malt flavor.”
Josh Knowlton, production brewmaster at Devils Backbone Brewing Co.: Blue Point Shore Thing Lager
“I’ve been digging Shore Thing Lager from Blue Point. It’s an easy drinking lager, slightly salty, and tart from sea salt and some acid. Refreshing hot weather beer for sure. Plus, it comes in cans.”
Eric Warner, founding brewmaster at Karbach Brewing Co.: Allagash White and Wicked Weed Appalachia
Style: Belgian-style witbier (Allagash) and session IPA (Wicked Weed)
ABV: 5.2% (Allagash) and 4.7% (Wicked Weed)
“There’s nothing like a good wheat beer to quench the thirst on a hot day. Though I’m partial to the German variants, I really enjoy Allagash White from Maine. It’s a classic Belgian Style Wit bier. If it’s hops you crave but not a boozy IPA, try Appalachia from Wicked Weed. It’s the best session IPA I’ve had, and the unique combination of American and New Zealand grown hops lends it all the hop aroma and flavor you’d be looking for in a full strength IPA.”
Fal Allen, master brewer at Anderson Valley Brewing Company: Trumer Pils and pFriem Family Pilsner
Style: Pilsner (both)
ABV: 4.9% (both)
“When the weather heats up there is nothing quite like a good crisp German-style pilsner. One of the my all-time favorite pilsners out there is the Trumer Pils. It’s balanced and crisp, and it really quenches your thirst, inviting you back for another taste. Another favorite of mine (but harder to find) is the pFriem Family pilsner. Another refreshingly crisp beer.”
Jason Oliver, founding brewmaster at Devils Backbone Brewing Co.: Wicked Weed Pernicious
“A well-chilled Pernicious IPA from Wicked Weed. Cold, crisp, awesome hop character with a good bite.”
Rhett Dougherty, head brewer at Veza Sur Brewing Co.: Stiegl Grapefruit Radler
“Miami summer days are scorchers, but this summer, a crisp can of Stiegl Grapefruit Radler is what quells the heat for me. I love the grapefruit flavor and light body of this Austrian classic. A couple tall boys of Stiegl and sunshine makes a hot summer day extra special.”
Jared Williamson, lead brewer at Schlafly Beer: Civil Life Dortmunder
“In St. Louis, we have very hot and humid summer weather, and I often find myself leaning towards crisp and clean German-style lagers in these conditions. This summer I’ve been enjoying Civil Life’s Dortmunder, a classic take on the old style that originated as the go-to post work beer for the steel and coal industry workers in Dortmund [Gemany]. Malty and just the right amount of hop character make this a refreshing hot weather quaffer.”
Andy Ingram, co-founder and head brewer at Four Peaks Brewing Co.: Busch
“An unbearably hot day in Phoenix means a unique kind of oppression for locals; not only the heat but the incessant hum and hiss of an overworked air conditioner. This sound, and the recycled air, can occasionally drive someone insane enough to venture outside into 116 degree heat. The remedy for such insanity is an ice-cold macro lager. I’m partial to Busch. If you’re feeling fancy, any number of local lagers will do — the lighter the better.”
Victor Novak, brewmaster at Golden Road Brewing: Augustiner Helles
“If we’re talking about what’s available a moment’s notice, I would definitely grab an ice cold Pacifico with a lime. No need for a glass; just crack it, push the lime through that sleek long neck, and down it goes. Ahhh. It’s just so clean, crisp and refreshing. Plus, I’m half-Mexican, so it’s in my blood. If we’re talking about any beer on the planet, I would have to go with Augustiner Helles. Sitting in the biergarten in Munich with a fresh, crisp, clean Helles and delectable Schweinshaxe on a warm August afternoon … what could be better? I’m also part German, so light, refreshing lagers, pork and sunny outdoor spaces are coded in my DNA.”
Rob Capitelli, brewmaster at Blue Point Brewing: Firestone Walker Pivo Pils
“Pivo Pils by Firestone Walker is my go-to beer on a scorching hot day. It’s a nice, crisp pilsner that’s completely crushable, upping the hydration factor. The beer is dry hopped to give it a floral lemongrass aroma, perfect for a day in the sunshine.”
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