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10 Best Light Beers for Summer

Pack your cooler with these easy-drinking, refreshing beers for the warm weather ahead.

<p>Getty</p>

Getty

Summertime’s long days and warm nights make it the ideal season for knocking back some cold ones. Generally, the summer period between Memorial Day and Labor Day marks peak season for alcohol consumption, and beer is often the drink du jour for holidays like the Fourth of July and summer barbecues.

With nearly 10,000 breweries operating in the U.S. today, there are more choices on store shelves and restaurant menus than ever before. However, the way Americans are drinking is changing—people are increasingly focused on flavor rather than base spirit, seeking out big, bold tastes like grapefruit, watermelon, and berry. Beer has had to pivot to try to keep up, brewing plenty of light lagers, fruit-forward beers, and other takes to quench consumer thirst over the hottest months of the year. If you’re picking up a few packs for a picnic, the beach, or just to cool down, here are a few of the tastiest.

Oberon by Bell’s Brewery

If there’s one beer that encompasses bright summer flavors, it’s Oberon. With a mid-range ABV of 5.8% and a thick, creamy head, this citrusy delight is a bright way to wash down a hot day in one tall glass. (Orange slice garnish optional.)

Vacation Reminder by Athletic Brewing Company

Since opening in 2017, Athletic has become the largest non-alcoholic brewery in the country. This limited-release triple-hopped IPA blends tropical fruit with hops for a full-bodied, thirst-quenching brew that will only leave you buzzing with delight and not a hangover.

Related: Do You Know the Difference Between Pilsners and Lagers?

Beach Report by Allagash Brewing Company

Mainers are experts at weathering harsh winters, so they appreciate summer that much more. Allagash’s summer lager hits all the high notes. Low ABV? Check. Balanced hop profile? Check. Brewed by a company that prioritizes sustainability? Check. It tastes good and is good for the earth — I’ll drink to that.

SeaQuench Ale by Dogfish Head

Is it a gose? A Margarita? No, it’s a 4.9% ABV summer sipper from Milton, Delaware. Dogfish Head first released SeaQuench in 2016, and although it’s available year-round, this lightly salty and tart ale is as hard to define as it is easy to drink. With notes of lime over a crisp and bubbly base, it’s refreshing, unique, and crushable. 

Blood Orange Wheat by Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers

Radlers are low-alcohol blends of lager and citrus soda originally from Munich. American craft brewers have yet to embrace the style en masse, but many love this easy-drinking style. Jack’s Abby focuses on German beer traditions, so it makes sense their lusciously fruity 4% ABV radler is one of the best. 

805 Blonde Ale by Firestone Walker Brewing Company

This smooth blonde ale clocks in at just under 5% ABV, putting it in that sweet spot where you can relax on the right side of a buzz. 805 may be made for those seeking adventure, but this laid-back brew is a pretty predictable safe bet, featuring a clean finish and plenty of bubbles.

Related: 7 Beer Cocktails You Can Make in Minutes

Invita Mexican Lager by Burgeon Beer Company

With a light body and twist of lime, nothing quite hits the spot like a Mexican lager enjoyed on a hot day. San Diego-based Burgeon Beer Company earned a silver medal for Invita at the 2022 World Beer Cup for the delicate, but delectable brew. At 4% ABV, it’s easy to appreciate one and then crack open another.

Daisy Cutter Pale Ale by Half Acre Beer Company

This IPA from a Chicago icon is available all year round, but this 5.2% ABV pale ale is enjoyable in any season. Half Acre has brewed Daisy Cutter since 2009, and this complex brew blends resinous pine notes with tropical fruit complexity for a dank, dry, and deliciously hoppy finish. 

Summer Ale by Brooklyn Brewery

Brooklyn Brewery has been a stalwart force in New York’s craft beer scene since officially opening to the public in 1996. Summer Ale is their ode to summer, available from March to August. This 5% ABV pale ale blends in as well at a dinner party as it does a beachside barbecue, thanks to its light body and full flavor perfectly balanced between hops and malt.

Yuzu KSA Radler by Fort Point Beer Company

It’s a kölsch, it’s a radler, it’s…both? San Francisco’s Fort Point Beer Company tends to keep things minimal, stripping everything down to appreciate the core of each beverage. Yuzu KSA Radler (KSA stands for Kölsch-Style Ale) is a bit of a departure from their typical approach, but the dry-finishing, citrus-heavy blend remains harmonious.

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