Canned cocktails have been making a splash the last few years, but there’s still nothing that refreshes better on a hot day than a cold beer.
Picture sipping from a frosty can or bottle while grilling, that sweat-soaked trip to the garage fridge after mowing the lawn, or plunging your hand into an icy cooler, and then think about the beer that pairs well with those activities. It’s got to be something light, definitely, not too sweet or bitter, and without so much booze so as not to ruin the moment.
The following is a list of beers I highly recommend that check all of those boxes.
Short Sell, Exhibit A Brewing: The free space here is Exhibit A’s Goody Two Shoes, a German-style Kölsch that’s as crisp as the laundry hanging on your clothesline this time of year. You should drink that beer, too, but Short Sell is new and exciting in its own right. Made with locally grown and malted grains, Short Shell appears golden in the glass, pops with bright melon notes, and finishes clean. Additionally, sales of each case of Short Sell support 72 square feet of local farmland. (4.7 percent ABV)
Day Lite, Night Shift Brewing: There may not be another craft brewer that does as much in the light beer space as Night Shift. Day Lite, a wheat lager brewed with cara cara orange peel, is lighter than many of the beers on this list, a reflection of its teeny 100-calorie makeup. There’s just a wisp of citrus here and the brew doesn’t whack you over the head with flavor; it’s a profile craft beer might need a lot more of. (4 percent ABV)
Fresh Catch, Narragansett Brewing: I’ve developed a new appreciation for this one. Using just one hop, citra, ‘Gansett crafts a beer with just enough spice and grapefruit flavor to be interesting, all while remaining light on the palate. Marketing materials say the beer is “brewed to be the perfect pairing with shellfish or white fish,” but regardless of whether you’re cracking into a lobster or not, Fresh Catch stands up on its own accord. (4.2 percent ABV)
Pomegranate hefeweizen, Schöfferhofer: I might lose my Serious Beer Credentials for this one, but I don’t care. German brand Schöfferhofer has a series of wheat beers mixed 50-50 with fruit juice. My favorite is the pomegranate, tart and fizzy with moderate sweetness and a pleasing, hefeweizen backbone. There’s not much booze here, which is kind of the point. (2.5 percent ABV).
Baby Waves, Vitamin Sea Brewing: Is it technically a session beer if it’s above 5 percent alcohol by volume? Do we need to be so difficult about these things? Baby Waves takes what Weymouth’s Vitamin Sea does so well — pure, juicy, hoppy goodness — and pares it down into a tighter package. The result is a single IPA brewed with galaxy and amarillo hops that smells and tastes like peaches and oranges. (5.2 percent ABV)
Floating Holiday, Allagash Brewing: Regular readers of this column will recognize my undying love for Allagash. The Portland, Maine, brewery has long been the gold standard, cranking out top-quality, Belgian-style classics with consistency. I keep expecting the new releases, some now in 12-packs, to suffer in some way, but none have. In Floating Holiday we get a blonde ale brewed with lemon peel and sea salt. Straw yellow in the glass with tiny champagne-like bubbles, the beer bright and crisp, another standout in a sea of similarity elsewhere. (5.2 percent ABV)