Stock these craft beers in your cooler for summer cookouts.
One of my earliest beer memories is relaxing on a deck with friends, pulling canned brews from a cooler, basking in the summer sunshine. The music, I distinctly recall, was the Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication. The beer, however, I completely forget. Back in 1994, the craft beer scene was only burgeoning; instead, we drank what we thought tasted great but was actually less fulfilling. Thankfully, 25 years later, America’s brewery scene is now more than 7,000 strong, offering an unfathomable number of beers sure to be an unforgettable part of your summer. Here are 10 great brews I’d recommend stocking in your own cooler.
Bell’s Brewery Oberon Ale ($9/Six 12-Oz. Bottles)
This easy-drinking American wheat from Michigan put summer seasonals on the map after its 1997 debut.
Drake’s Brewing Co. Brightside Extra Brut India Pale Ale ($9/Six 12-Oz. Bottles)
Brut IPA was one of the most talked-about beer styles last year. After months of test batches, Drake’s settled on this über-dry iteration with a brightness to match the sunshine.
Urban Chestnut Brewing Company Zwickel ($9/Four 16.9-Oz. Bottles)
Zwickelbiers are served unfiltered, giving Urban Chestnut’s take on a lager a more delicate character than your usual post–lawn mowing treat.
Garr’s Beer Co. Citrus Pepper ($10/Six 12-Oz. Cans)
This citrusy-pepper farmhouse ale’s secret ingredient is African blue basil, harvested in Tennessee just in time for the beer’s annual summer release.
Dogfish Head Brewery Seaquench Ale ($11/Six 12-Oz. Cans)
The crisp kolsch, briny gose, and tart Berliner Weisse are three of the best beer styles for summer. This oddly named brew from Delaware ties them all into one innovative package.
Carton Brewing Boat Beer ($10/Four 16-Oz. Cans)
This hoppy kolsch–session IPA hybrid from New Jersey is equal parts crisp and pithy—a perfect mix for long days.
Off Color Brewing Apex Predator ($8/Four 12-Oz. Bottles)
This hop-forward brew out of Illinois bursts with fruity aromas and citrus bite but brings just enough farmhouse funk to impart the joys of dozing under a haystack.
Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers Excess Ipl ($12/Four 16-Oz. Cans)
IPAs are all the rage, but summer calls for a lager’s clean finish. This potent (7.2% ABV) India pale lager offers the best of both worlds.
Allagash Brewing River Trip ($12.50/Four 16-Oz. Cans)
A Maine session ale with a citrus zing and a touch of spice, this Belgian-style table beer begs for outdoor seating.
TRVE Brewing Cursed ($22/Four 16-Oz. Cans)
Colorado’s TRVE uses multiple yeasts to make this mixed-culture sour pale ale; it’s equal parts funky and familiar.