Dr. Seuss’ magnum opus, “Green Kegs and Ham,” contains two of my all-time favorite lines in literature: “Summer shouldn’t be a bummer. There is usually sun—and if beer is near, there is always fun!” In honor of those uplifting words from the legendary author and illustrator, whose rollicking rhymes also enlivened classic beer-themed children’s books like “The Cat in the Hat Drinks His Brew From A Shoe,” “How the Grinch Stole My Christmas Beer!,” and “Oh, the Breweries You’ll Go!,” I asked 25 of my closest chums in New York City’s thriving beer community—including brewers, bar managers, and writers—to share what suds they were enjoying most this summer.

Tip: I recommend drinking any of these picks after playing volleyball at one of the city’s beautiful beaches, but only if the game is against a towering team of Sneetches. (Ugh.)

Trillium Brewing Co., Trillikini
ABV: 3.3%
I went to visit Trillium’s new spot in Canton last month and we did this collaboration together, which is my friends’ take on my Bikini Beer that’s indeed been to the beach with me this summer. Hazy, low in alcohol, packed with Mosaic and Citra and Amarillo hops, and very refreshing, crushing a few cans are easy and won’t damage that precious bikini bod of yours. — Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, owner of Evil Twin Brewing 

Grimm Artisanal Ales, Boysen Rebus 
ABV: 5.5%
The just-released followup to Rubus Rebus is another great beer from Joe and Lauren Grimm. I’ve had the pleasure of befriending the gypsy-brewing couple since they occasionally use our space to brew and when they came to make Boysen Rebus, I was instantly excited to try it. This is a draft-only mixed-fermentation sour ale with boysenberries added. It’s fruity, tart, funky, and totally purple. Ideally I would sneak a growler of this onto the beach, savor every sip, then move onto crushing Genny Creams. — Patrick Morse, brewmaster of Flagship Brewing Co.
 
Gun Hill Brewing Co., Roll Call: EC1
ABV: 7.5%
This summer I’m reaching for cans of Gun Hill’s Roll Call: EC1, the first in a new series of IPAs. While certainly not the most sessionable beer, the price tag certainly is; at just $54 a case you’ll have a few ducats left over to share a scoop of froyo with that special someone. EC1 is billed as a Vermont-style IPA with Citra, Centennial, and Mosaic hops, and it delivers with characteristic softness and juiciness. So save yourself that trip to the Green Mountain State this summer and knock back these 16-ounce silver bullets from the Bronx. Dan McLaughlin, owner of The Pony Bar and Kiabacca
 
Allagash Brewing Co., Little Brett
ABV: 4.8%
I’ll be slamming bottles of Little Brett all summer long. Why? Because it scores 100 on all five criteria that I look for in a bodacious beer. First, it’s 100 percent fermented with Brettanomyces, which means it’s as dry and crisp as the Sonoran Desert. Second, it’s dry-hopped with 100 percent Mosaic hops, which are fun and playful and please just about anyone. Third, it’s 100 percent low in alcohol, which means I can drink six of them over the course of a sunny afternoon and not feel like a fat, listless slug. Fourth, it’s 100 percent crushable: no weird cloying lime zest or blood orange extract to cling to my tongue and make me wish I had a bottle of Riesling instead. Fifth and finally, it’s 100 percent from Allagash so you know it’s going to be awesome. If only they put these suckers in cans! Justin Kennedy, writer and producer of “Beer Sessions Radio” and “Steal This Beer”
 
Defiant Brewing Co., Orange Cream Beer

ABV: 5.2%

In the summer it’s a rarity for me to be laying on a beach, cold beer in hand, soaking in sunshine until I’m a nice shade of New England Lobster Red. Instead I’m most likely sweating my nuts off while cycling in a veritable Tour de Brewery. Whether it’s a quick ride out Baroness’ front door to the great dudes at LIC Beer Project or an eight-hour, 150-mile monster to Montauk Brewing, there are no limits to the lengths I ride for quality beer.

That brings me to one particular ride on a damn-hot day. Blasting progressive death metal in my headphones, I crushed a solo 35-mile ascent through Alpine, New Jersey before finding myself back in New York and rolling into Defiant Brewing. I’m beat. I’m hot. I’m thirsty. As sweat pours from everywhere, I instantly see a light at the end of the tunnel: Orange Cream Beer. I take my first sip and a voice in my head that sounds strangely like Action Bronson exclaims, “Fuck me, that’s delicious!” But I chalk that up to needing anything to quench my thirst. So I grab a second and it’s the same reaction! Super balanced for a beer with such flavor, I call Orange Cream a lean Belgian witbier with personality. Bright orangey notes quench while vanilla fills the space and gives it great depth. I personally hate it when beers claim a signature taste, but you can only find mere notes. #Booooo. Orange Cream is the opposite, as well as the epitome of a summer beer! — Kyle Radzyminski, owner of The Baroness Bar

blackberry farm summer beers
ABV: 6.3%
If summer isn’t the season of indulging every beer craving under the sun, I don’t what is. I’m either fiending for something light and bright to take the heat out of an afternoon spent on the beach, something to sip while I’m enjoying the weather on a friend’s rooftop or balcony or in need of a beverage for a neighborhood BBQ. And while there may be a perfect beer for each of this situations, there’s one that I feel would work in any: Blackberry Farm’s Summer Saison. Gloriously fruit forward, I get everything from lemon zest to pineapple to mango flavors. It’s also subtly herbaceous, all while being as approachable and satisfying as hearing your favorite summer jam from a few years back. I’ve brought it to no less than five get-togethers already this summer and there hasn’t been a single one where it hasn’t turned heads, both from my beer-geek friends and non-beer-inclined buddies. Mostly this serves as a reminder that a great saison, like summer, is supposed to make you feel happy. — Zach Mack, co-owner of Alphabet City Beer Co.
 
ABV: 6.5%

Brown ale was my go-to when I first started drinking beer, and it’s sad to see the style disappearing from lot of bars and beer lists. I always like a malty, roasty, and full-bodied beer, even in the hottest days of summer. So my summer recommendation is an American brown ale called Earth from our friends at Barrier. The Barrier guys just made our second-anniversary IPA, The Hills Have Hops, which tastes fantastic. Earth is also a great beer, pouring a deep brown color with red highlights throughout. There are aromas of toffee, burnt caramel, and mild roast, while the slightly nutty, biscuity malt presence give notes of toffee and dark caramel followed by a lightly roasted, dry finish. A very balanced, greatly executed beer. — Joe Najem, owner of Hops Hill

KelSo Beer Co., Berliner Weisse
ABV: 3.5%
Sonya and I have been enjoying our new Berliner weisse this summer. This kettle-soured wheat brew has just the right tang to give a refreshing “snap” to the hottest summer day and rinse that sand out of your teeth. At 3.5 percent, its sessionable and quite, well, crushable. What goes better with a day in the surf? — Kelly Taylor, co-owner and brewmaster of KelSo Beer Co.

Gun Hill Brewing Co., Rise Up Rye
ABV: 4.8%
Rise Up Rye was the first beer in our new series, the Broadway Brews Project, in which we match a hit Broadway show with a local brewer to make a beer for charity. For the first installment, “Hamilton” was our show and Gun Hill was our brewer. This pairing led to Rise Up, a saison that features 20 percent locally sourced New York State rye malt and New Zealand-grown Wai-Iti hops. The combination brings about a lovely zing of spice first on the palate, followed by a nice burst of lemony hops. I am loving drinking this beer during the summer; it’s perfect for hot weather, and the low ABV let’s you go back more than once. More good news: Gun Hill just brewed a second batch and canned nearly 60 percent. Not only is the beer available all over New York City, but the cans are now also available at the bars in the Richard Rodgers Theatre, so all you need is a ticket to “Hamilton” to snag one. Easy! — Jimmy Ludwig, co-host of “The Happy Hour Guys”

Evil Twin Brewing, Sour Bikini
ABV: 3.0%
While I inherently lean more towards the “watch Baywatch on TV from the comfort of my air-conditioned living room” side of summer, I’m not completely immune to the charm of the beach. Key elements are as follows: a group of friends, a soccer ball, a book, a lot of sunblock, and a cooler of beer. But what beer to pack in that cooler? Well, if I’m to be baking in the sun all day I want something that’s refreshing first and foremost, but also something I can drink all day long without losing the ability to stay buoyant in the ocean. It also needs to be something that stays interesting and doesn’t turn boring after the third sip—we’re drinking in multiples after all. Oh, and it should probably be in a can if I’m taking it to that theoretical beach! For all the reasons above, my official summer beer for 2016 is Evil Twin’s Sour Bikini. Low in alcohol, spritzy, tart, refreshing, citrusy, and chuggable, it’s the only bikini I want to spend  time with this summer. — Mike Amidei, beverage manager at Tørst and export manager at Evil Twin Brewing

beers nyc
ABV: 4.9%

This summer, I’ve been cramming my cooler with 12-packs of Jack’s Abby Calyptra, a session-strength IPL—that is, India pale lager—aroma-boosted with Calypso and Citra hops, a lavish assault of ripe pears, grapefruits, pineapples, and mangos. Better still: the fruity crusher comes in cans. — Joshua M. Bernstein, author of The Complete Beer Course and Complete IPA

Other Half Brewing Co. ft. Omnipollo and Tired Hands, Debbie Downer
ABV: 6.6%
In my experience, summer excursions to the beach are almost always festive social gatherings. With that in mind, don’t be surprised if you spot me at Rockaway Beach this season with a can of Other Half’s latest collaboration beer Debbie Downer, made with Omnipollo and Tired Hands. A multigrain IPA brewed with mango and white chocolate, this refreshing libation contradicts its name with a heady bouquet of tropical fruit and layered flavors of juicy citrus and dank hops, culminating in a slightly creamy finish that’s reminiscent of sweet boardwalk treats. Show up to your next seaside shindig with a couple cans or an insulated growler of Downer and you might find yourself to be the life of the party. — Brian Winget, beer manager at Barcade New York and bartender at Tørst

Finback Brewery, Matter & Memory
ABV: 5.6%
I have fond memories of summertime beach days as a kid in Queens. From building sandcastles to riding waves twice my size at Jones Beach, I certainly cherish those times. Speaking of memories, and of summer at the beach, Finback’s newest can is my pick to fuel my rides this season. A saison dry-hopped with Wakatu and Hallertau Blanc hops, Matter & Memory is light and refreshing yet complex enough to remind me I’m not drinking the usual summer suspects. At the tasting room we often get asked for “something light.” When our go-to crowdpleaser, Double Sess(ion), was recently gone for two weeks, Matter & Memory was our stand-in. And it sure didn’t disappoint. — Chris Maestro, tasting-room manager at Finback Brewery

Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., Effortless Grapefruit IPA
ABV: 4.5%
Being an old-timer in this business, I’ve seen many summers, and summer beers, come and go. We pour a “Sweet Hoe” at Mugs which is a blend of Hoegaarden and Lindemans Framboise and that’s always been the perfect summer beer to me. But this summer, I have to say I’ve been reaching more for Captain Lawrence’s Effortless Grapefruit IPA. I’ve known owner and brewmaster Scott Vaccaro for years and he’s made some great stuff. But he really outdid himself on this one. Being an avid IPA fan for years, session IPAs are now my choice because being older I welcome the lower ABV. Effortless is an easy-drinking citrusy IPA that doesn’t knock me out like the summer heat does. — Ed Berestecki, owner of Mugs Alehouse

Westbrook Brewing Co., Gose
ABV: 4.0%
Whether it’s hitting Coney Island or Rockaway Beach this summer, I’ll have a few cans of Westbrook’s Gose with me. Two years ago, Eric Asimov of the New York Times picked Peekskill’s Simple Sour as his featured beer for summer. That got me thinking, so I emailed him and suggested an underrated style, gose, and sure enough he chose it for last year’s article! Since Jimmy’s No. 43 was featured in that story, and since we always carry a few goses on the menu we decided to start an annual appreciation of the sour, salty, and super refreshing style; we called it the Summer of Gose. Like last summer this year we have Summer of Gose shirts available as well as a number of different goses our guests can drink—including Westbrook’s, one of the best American examples of the German style! — Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy’s No. 43 and founder of the Good Beer Seal

Bridge & Tunnel Brewery, Dry Hopped American Wheat (Hop Rocket)
ABV: 5.8%
As a small-scale craft brewer most of the beer you drink is the beer you make. So that’s why I’m picking our Dry Hopped American Wheat, which has poured at a vigorous clip since debuting earlier this month—including into my own glass. We have it running as a regular pour, but also on a line to a DIY HopRocket I made we’re filling with fresh orablanco and red grapefruits. A pass through this penetrable fruit wall via the HopRocket changes the beer, enhancing the citrus notes from the dry-hopping process as well as imparting some tartness that’s very complementary. Since the Fourth of July I’ve filled growlers that have found their way to numerous outdoor events, including the beach, and my family recently brought one upstate and polished if off in front of the campfire. So that’s my pick. — Rich Castagna, owner and brewmaster of Bridge & Tunnel Brewery

Stillwater Artisanal Ales, Extra Dry
ABV: 4.2%
I’ll be frank: I dislike the summer; too hot and too many sunburns with none of the good holidays. But there’s one thing I do like about summer: beers that easily quench my thirst in these oppressively hot months. A recent favorite that does the job is the sake-inspired saison Extra Dry from my friend Brian Strumke and his gypsy brewery Stillwater. Since Brian lives in Brooklyn, he came by Brouwerij Lane last week to try the newest batch of Extra Dry and we spoke about how perfect it was to crush cans of this on a humid summer day. It’s clean, crisp, and dry, and packed with earthy, lemony hop flavors. As an added bonus, the packaging is beautiful. — Kimberly Mercado, manager at Brouwerij Lane

Rockaway Brewing Co., Da Beach
ABV: 4.8%
My girlfriend Carla and I spend as much time at Rockaway Beach as we can during the summer. This year has been no different, and we’ve really loved visiting Rockaway Brewing‘s new taproom at Beach 72nd, as well as finding the local favorite on tap at all the concession stands. This year I’ve found the brewery’s appropriately named Da Beach at those concession stands, and that’s my pick. Lower in alcohol and packed with hoppy goodness, it’s a perfect beer when you’re having more than one or two, which most people do when they’re beaching. As a suitable side note, my store just collaborated on a session IPA with Rockaway called Wash Ave. Hops. It’ll be served at local Prospect Heights bars as part of the annual Wash Ave. Rocks! celebration in August. — John LaPolla, co-owner of Bitter & Esters

Grimm Artisanal Ales, Future Perfect
ABV: 4.0%
In my opinion this Berliner weisse is more of a slow sipper than a session since it’s full of so many fantastic flavors. That being said, it’s still super crushable if you’re looking for a beach beer—though perhaps save this one for dusk, just after sunset, as a cool, salty breeze nips at your ankles. The tart berries added to the base are perfect for the Berliner-weisse style; blackberry bursts with every sip like the berry itself is on your tongue, and the blueberry imparts slight sweetness balanced with a bit of acidity. The oak tannins tie it all together, drying out the beer as well as adding bitterness and complexity. This beer is also dry-hopped with Tettnang hops, known for their mild, spicy notes, and Huell Melon, which is showing up a lot this summer, probably because of its mellow, fruity flavors and aromas—think melon and strawberry versus citrus bitterness—which are perfect for summer. Future Perfect, even. Cat Wolinski, beer journalist and editor of the Brokelyn Beer Book and Queens Beer Book

Union Craft Brewing Co., Old Pro
ABV: 4.2%
Jimmy Carbone, an “old pro”‘ in the local beer game, christened last summer the Summer of Gose. To continue that tradition, my pick this summer is another Old Pro, this from a brewery called Union Craft out of Baltimore. In a summer beer I like a lot of flavor and not a lot of alcohol and this gose fits the bill perfectly. The dash of salt even replenishes those electrolytes lost while sweating it out on muggy afternoons in the sun playing cornhole, allowing you—well, me—to power through to the next round. — Will Stephens, co-owner of BeerMenus

Suarez Family Brewery, Hecto
ABV: 4.5%
Though only open for a month Livingston, New York’s Suarez Family Brewery is already churning out a bunch of crushable “crispy little beers” that evoke summertime. Hecto, a highly aromatic dry-hopped pale ale, is a perfect example and I was really happy we got to sell the first batch at Cardiff Giant recently. If you have any doubts about yet another brewery opening in the state, know that owner Dan Suarez has an impeccable resume; he previously brewed at Hill Farmstead and OEC. Suarez has a bunch of mixed-fermentation beers in tanks and barrels that we’ll start to see this fall, but for now I’m enjoying drinking Hecto and others by the gallon.Steven Baird, manager partner at Cardiff Giant and The Owl Farm

Threes Brewing, Vliet
ABV: 5.1%
With the recent canning of Vliet, Threes has proclaimed this summer the Summer of Pilsner—and I wholeheartedly agree. Insanely refreshing and hitting all the classic-pilsner notes, Vliet has just enough hop presence to satisfy the hopheads. But it still shows off the clean, cracker-like pilsner malt. Best of all, it’s around 5.0 percent ABV, the epitome of crushable. Now that Threes has started canning, I can take it with me to the beach, to go hiking, or just on my roof to catch a sunset. — Kyle Kensrue, Certified Cicerone at Randolph Beer

summer beer nyc


Sand City Brewing 
Co., Oops! I Hopped My Pants
ABV: 6.2%

When we think of summer, we think sun, sand, and the tropics. And this sublime IPA from a young brewery out of Northport on Long Island evokes all of those things. Big, juicy, and packing notes of grapefruit, pineapple, lemon, and orange peel, this ridiculously named beauty comes at you with wave after wave—see what we did there?—of bright, tropical aromas. The mouthfeel is surprisingly creamy and on the palate it brings a lovely malt balance to the hoppy fruit on the nose. Sand City isn’t too far from New York City and we love to drink local when possible. Available on tap regularly, Oops! is slated to soon arrive in cans making it even more accessible and beach and environmentally friendly. But even if you’re drinking it at home, it’ll make you think of oceanside breezes. — Mark Aldrich, co-host of “The Happy Hour Guys”

Other Half Brewing Co., Sauternes Wheat Wine
ABV: 12.0%
I concede that this might be an unlikely contender for the most summer-friendly beverage; it’s viscous, dense, high gravity, and there aren’t any bubbles fer chrissakes. But come now, if you don’t have to be outside in this heat, do you really want to be? I wanna hang out with the freaks, and we know they only come out at night.The wizards at Other Half have recently bestowed their terrific 2014-brewed Wheat Wine upon us, having now sat in oak barrels previously containing Sauternes, a sweet, Botrytis-infected white wine from Bordeaux, for about a year and a half. This beer actually smells intimidating, but that first sip assuages any concern of being “too much” as a soft caramel coats the tongue, deftly transitioning into a soft, almond skin-like oxidized mid palate. As I’ve found in some of the better vintage barleywines, this rich ale offers a particular brightness amidst the heft, segueing into a lengthy, tannic, earthy finale full of tobacco and sherry-like qualities. This is best enjoyed when the sun has gone down, the sweat on your back has dried and the cool summer night air beckons you to sip on something a bit more contemplative. Thank you, Other Half. Cory Bonfiglio, general manager at Beer Street

summer beers nyc

Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
, Briney Melon Gose
ABV: 4.2%
As a child growing up in Brooklyn, summer meant weekly trips to the beach. Sometimes we would head to Jones or Coney, but most often we travelled to my grandparents’ house right on the beautiful Peconic Bay in Mattituck. My mother would pile us into the car at the crack of dawn on a Saturday for the long drive east, and after two hours in a steaming hot car, the best treat was a quick dip in the water followed by an icy-cold piece of watermelon. So naturally my beer of choice this summer is none other than Anderson Valley’s light and refreshing Briney Melon Gose. The slight hint of watermelon mixed with salt whisks me back to being six years old again, the salt from the ocean still on my lips as I devoured that melon and spit seeds at my sister. It was a happy place and a happy time, and we can all use a little something to bring us back there these days. — Jen Maslanka, general manager at Spring Lounge

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