Up there with turning in a term paper or finding a parking spot in the North End, drinking beer outside is one of life’s great pleasures. You should be cracking brews on patios and docks this summer, snatching submerged bottles from icy coolers, and sipping from the can. Below are five beers to help you while away those hot and hazy days.
Orange Dream, Otter Creek Brewing Co. (5.25 percent ABV) It doesn’t taste like the frozen drink from an Orange Julius stand, but if you get over that initial bummer, this cream ale from Vermont’s Otter Creek is unlike anything else you’ve had. Unlike a citrusy IPA, there’s very little orange in the nose, but the fruit comes through in the taste, with a lasting vanilla finish.
Wally, Wachusett Brewing Co. (7 percent) Hazy days call for hazy beers, and while cloudy New England style IPAs are everywhere now, few are quite as affordable or easy to find as Wally. Huge notes of grapefruit, mango, and pineapple dominate the nose, and there’s a bitter, piney bite to the finish.
Legendary Dry, Stormalong Cider There’s a lot of bad, syrupy hard cider out there, but in New England we’re lucky to be at the epicenter of some of the good stuff. Stormalong is located in Sherborn, and its cider makers scour old orchards for heirloom varieties, press them, and then do very little. Legendry Dry is effervescent like champagne, with a hint of funk.
Forecast Chapter 1, Foolproof Brewing Co. (4.5 percent) Forecast is a play off the ever-changing New England weather, and Chapter 1, a dry-hopped kettle sour, is an example that beer can be both bitter and sour. This is a beautiful brew, tart and refreshing with hints of pineapple. Forecast Chapter 2 will be an ocean-inspired gose, made with locally grown kelp and sea salt. It drops in early July.
S.W.A.G. Black Hog Brewing Co. (4.7 percent) S.W.A.G. stands for summer wheat ale brewed with grapefruit peel, and there’s a pig with a grapefruit in its mouth on the can of this beer from the Oxford, Conn. brewery. There’s sage in here too, which gives the beer kind of a savory thing and adds an herbal bitterness in addition to that from the hops. This could be a little less bitter, but it’s light and grassy and tastes like summer.