Skip to content

9 Best Beers To Sip This Summer, According to Brewmasters

From funky ales to fruity IPAs to classic stouts, here's what brewing pros are drinking this season.
The product recommendations in this post are recommendations by the writer and/or expert(s) interviewed and do not contain affiliate links. Meaning: If you use these links to buy something, we will not earn a commission.

The advent of summer is the ideal time for so many different kinds of beers. There's the pool beer, the beach beer, the boat beer, the porch beer, and the always beloved post-lawn mowing beer. No matter the occasion, you're probably looking for something that is cold and crisp that slakes the hot weather thirst. To help out with your selections, I asked some industry experts to name a few of their current favorites for beating the heat, and because they're too polite to mention their own products, I'll make some extra suggestions from their portfolios of brews.

Carl Meier is the president and co-founder of Black Abbey, a brewery in Nashville, Tenn., specializing in hand-crafted beers brewed using traditional Belgian techniques. A Black Abbey Beer to try: The Rose, a Belgian-style blonde ale that's light on the palate and exhibits tropical notes courtesy of Belgian yeast. At 5.4% ABV, it's eminently crushable on a hot summer day by the lake.

Roy Milner is the Chief Fermentation Officer at Blackberry Farm Brewery, an East Tennessee institution known for farmhouse-style saisons and European lagers. The taproom was recently purchased by Peaceful Side Social, expanding the taproom footprint to Townsend, Tenn., conveniently located near an entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A Blackberry Farm Beer to keep on ice: BFB Pilsner offers the sort of malty and peppery overtones you would expect from a German-style lager, but with a nice balance of just enough herbaceous hops to balance the bready sweetness of the Tennessee-grown malt.

Bob Cook is the chef at the popular restaurant attached to Edmund's Oast Brewing Co., an important player in the rise of craft beer in Charleston, S.C. As such, he's an expert at pairing beer with food, and the balmy Holy City summers mean he definitely knows what to drink when the heat is on. An Edmund's Oast Beer for the summer: Milner actually suggested Something Cold from Edmund's Oast on his list of summertime favorites. He describes this blonde ale as "the perfect day tripper. Keeps your mouth happy, while not weighing your stomach down. Goes great with all summer foods, and breathing."

As the Head of Mixed Culture at Wicked Weed Brewing, Jen Currier oversees the production of sour beer, cider, and wine at the envelope-pushing brewery in Asheville, N.C.. Working her way all the way up from bartender in the taproom, Currier has demonstrated her talented palate at every step along the way. A Wicked Weed brew that is far from wicked: Session Sour with Watermelon and Dragon Fruit is a tart low-ABV beer that will stimulate your palate for summer cookout foods like burgers and hot dogs. Unfortunately, it can't help that weird congealed jello salad that your Aunt Louise brought to the potluck, though.

Clark Ortkiese is one of the two co-founders of Crosstown Brewing, and it hasn't taken long for the brewery to become a local favorite since opening in Memphis, Tenn., in 2018. A Crosstown beer to avoid traffic with: Animal Frequency IPA is another sessionable ale with fruity tropical notes and a dry finish that leaves you wanting more, so pack that cooler to the brim!

Paul Vaughn opened Bearded Iris in the burgeoning Germantown neighborhood of Nashville in 2016 and soon discovered he had a runaway hit on his hands with the brewery's juicy Homestyle IPA. Ubiquitous on Nashville beer bar menus and available in several states around the region, Homestyle has become the go-to order for many Southern IPA fans. A Bearded Iris beer that will put a little hair on your chest: A little boozier than most of the other beers on this list, Queen Bee Double IPA weighs in at a robust 8.2% ABV, but the delicate combination of bee-foraged honey and four different hop varieties will make you want to savor it a little more slowly anyway.

Here are these experts' favorite beers to sip this summer.

Allagash White

can of allagash white beer
Photo: Allagash

This Portland, Maine brew appeared on our 2023 list and was recommended by two of our experts, so it belongs at the top of the list more than just alphabetically. Meier describes it as "my favorite beer of all time. Light, bright, full-flavored. It's a joy to drink in any season, but there is something wonderful about an Allagash White on a hot day!" Ortkiese concurs, calling it "a classic with the blend of fruits and spices from the yeast really accented by the coriander, which brings a lovely citrus note to the beer."

 15 Healthy Light Beers To Drink This Summer


tropicalia beer can
Photo: Creature Comforts

Milner is a big fan of this fruit-forward IPA from Creature Comforts Brewing Co. in Athens, Ga. "All the hype is true," he raves. "This beer brings you to a place and demands that you stay a while. Juicy, fruity, and refreshing. What more could you want?"

Citrine Dream

a can of citrine dream beer
Photo: Citrine Dream

Currier keeps her pick close to home with a fellow Western North Carolina option from Zillicoah Beer Co. on the French Broad River in Woodfin. It's a farmhouse-style ale made using  delightfully funky Brettanomyces yeasts, paired with bold American hops. Currier wants to give it some love because "hoppy Brett beer deserves attention all year round, but in the summer especially…when we're all looking for light bodied, refreshing, and tropical aromatics that make us feel like we're on vacation even when we're not."

 I Tried 12 Ready-to-Drink Margaritas & The Best Tasted Like Summer

Sierra Nevada Summerfest

a can of sierra nevada
Photo: Sierra Nevada

You can't go wrong with a classic, especially with this crisp, lemony session beer that literally has the words "refreshing summer lager" emblazoned right on the front of the can. Ortkiese says the hype is real: "This one has been good for SO LONG.  Clean, crisp and refreshing with just enough floral/herbal hops to be interesting."

Sea Quench Ale

dogfish head sea quench ale box and can
Photo: Instacart

Cook looks to Delaware and the talented brewmasters at Dogfish Head for one of his favorite summer sippers. This blend of a crisp kölsch, a salty gose and a tart berliner weiss delights the chef because "it's a little sour with black lime and sea salt that always hits the spot on the boat or the back porch."

 I Tried 10 Popular Hard Seltzer Brands & One Is My New Summer Fave

Veltins Pilsener

bottles of veltins beer
Photo: Veltins

This ancient German pils celebrates two centuries of brewing this year, but Meier brings it into the 21st century with a little hack; he makes it a radler! "Veltins Pils is lovely on its own, but when you cut it with lemonade, knocking the ABV down to 2.4% it's the hot weather beer! The lemon isn't overpowering, but it's very much the flavor driver. It's so refreshing and crisp, with just the right amount of pilsner flavor to balance things out. It's a great choice for the hot weather."

It's no surprise that Meier prefers tinkering with his Veltins, because he has a dirty little brewmaster's secret. "The truth of the matter is, during the summer, gin and tonic is in my tumbler more often than not."

Rodenbach Grand Cru

a glass and bottle of flander's red ale
Photo: Rodenbach

Milner also looks to Europe for another of his favorite beers of summer, this time a Flanders Red Ale-style beer from Belgium. "It still boggles the mind that you can get this iconic beer in a can. Put a few in your cooler, and see why the jesters in Belgium continue to age sour beer in gigantic oak barrels."

 10 Best Low-Carb Beers That Won't Ruin Your Diet

Guinness Stout

guinness draught stout
Photo: Guinness

Just because a beer is dark doesn't mean it has to be heavy. That's definitely the case with this iconic Irish market leader that is actually a dark ruby red when you look at it, not black like many folks assume. Vaughn doesn't care what the weather is when he's craving a Guinness. "Anytime I reach for a beer, I am looking for one with high drinkability that isn't necessarily limited to a season. A classic beer that focuses on a perfect pour is Guinness. I will always reach for one of those year-round, rain or shine! "

32/50 Kolsch

coast brewing co glass and can
Photo: Coast Brewing Co.

Kölsches are classic summer beers, hoppy and bright, and often offered in a traditional service with small glasses that bartenders will replace as soon as you near the bottom. That's because it's they go down so fast and you wouldn't want your beer to get warm in a bigger glass. Cook has a local favorite from his neighbors at Coast Brewing, a dry and delicate beer that makes it easy to replicate the kölsch service at home, or almost anywhere. He shares, "I love a good refreshing boat beer for sure. Just a great all-around beer that as soon as one is gone you're cracking another one!"

Chris Chamberlain
Chris Chamberlain is a food, drink, wine, spirits, travel and personal interest writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Read more about Chris