Top 5 Summer Beer Styles to Beat the Heat!

Top 5 Summer Beer Styles to Beat the Heat!

Top 5 Summer American Beer Styles to Beat the Heat

The Texas heat wave is here, and with it comes the perfect excuse to enjoy refreshing, sessionable beers that are ideal for blazing hot Texas summer days! Whether you're a seasoned beer enthusiast or a casual drinker, the summer seasonal beers are keeping us cool.

Here are my TOP FIVE summer beer styles that are trending this season and will help you beat the heat. I'll share my OWN recipe at the end, Cheers!

Beer at the Grill

 

1. American Pale Ale (APA): Crisp and Hoppy

American Pale Ales are known for their balance of malt and hop flavors, making them a popular choice for summer. With a moderate hop bitterness and a crisp finish, APAs are incredibly refreshing. The citrusy and piney hop profiles make them a go-to for hot weather.

Why It's Perfect for Summer:

  • Crisp and refreshing with moderate ABV (typically around 5-6%)
  • Citrus and piney hop flavors are perfect for summer
  • Pairs well with grilled meats, burgers, and spicy foods.

Brewing Tip: To brew a refreshing APA at home, focus on using American hop varieties like Cascade, Citra, and Amarillo for a bright, citrusy profile. Dry hopping can greatly enhance the aroma without adding too much bitterness (IBUs).

Below is a my try at the APA that will be returning this summer!

 

2. Mexican Corn Lager: Light and Crisp

Mexican Corn Lagers, also known as Mexican-style lagers, are becoming increasingly popular for their light, crisp, and refreshing taste. Brewed with a a large portion of corn, these lagers have a slightly sweet flavor and a smooth finish, making them perfect for summer days. Goes very well with a lime and salt!

Why It's Perfect for Summer:

  • Light body and low to moderate ABV (usually 4-5%)
  • Crisp and clean, with a touch of sweetness from the corn
  • Pairs well with Mexican cuisine, seafood, and light snacks

Brewing Tip: To brew a Mexican Corn Lager at home, use flaked corn or corn grits along with pale malt. Maintain a clean fermentation process with a lager yeast strain and lager the beer at cold temperatures (45 Fahrenheit) for several weeks to achieve a crisp finish.

Lagering refers to the process of cold-fermenting or cold-conditioning the beer for weeks to slow the yeast down. This cold environment creates crystal clear brews that have impeccable taste in my opinion.

 

Cold Beer

 

 

3. Session IPA: Big Flavor, Low ABV

Session IPAs offer all the hoppy goodness of traditional IPAs but with a lower alcohol content, making them perfect for summer drinking. These beers are designed to be flavorful yet easy to drink, allowing you to enjoy multiple without the high alcohol impact.

Why It's Perfect for Summer:

  • Bold hop flavors with a lower ABV (typically 3-5%)
  • Perfect for long summer gatherings and barbecues
  • Pairs well with spicy foods and grilled meats

Brewing Tip: Focus on late hop additions and dry hopping to maximize aroma and flavor without adding too much bitterness. This will help create a refreshing and flavorful beer that's ideal for summer.

 

4. Blonde Ale: Light and Easy-Drinking

Blonde Ales are known for their simplicity and drinkability, making them a great choice for summer. These beers are light in color and body with a mild malt sweetness and just a hint of hops. They are PERFECT for those who prefer a milder beer.

Why It's Perfect for Summer:

  • Light and easy-drinking with a moderate ABV (usually 4-5%)
  • Mild flavor profile appeals to a wide audience
  • Pairs well with grilled chicken, fish, and salads

Brewing Tip: Use a clean, neutral yeast strain and keep the malt bill simple with pale malt and a touch of light caramel malt. A gentle hop addition will add just enough bitterness to balance the sweetness. Here is an easy all-grain recipe for this style.

 

5. American Lager: Classic and Refreshing

American Lagers are a staple for summer drinking, you know them as Budweiser, Coors, Miller High Life, and PBR. This is the top selling beer style in America due to their light body, crisp finish, and VERY subtle hop bitterness, these beers are incredibly refreshing. They are perfect for hot days and outdoor activities.

Why It's Perfect for Summer:

  • Light body and low ABV (typically 4-5%)
  • Crisp and clean finish makes it highly refreshing
  • Pairs well with a wide range of foods, from hot dogs to seafood

Brewing Tip: Focus on using high-quality ingredients and maintaining a clean fermentation process. Lagering the beer at cold temperatures for several weeks will ensure a crisp, clean finish. Also make use of a clarifying agent like bentonite clay, or gelatin to get a clear final product.

 

Conclusion

Exploring these American summer beer styles can make your summer drinking experience more enjoyable and refreshing. Whether you're trying a hoppy American Pale Ale, a citrusy American Wheat Beer, a flavorful Session IPA, a mild Blonde Ale, or a classic American Lager, there's something for every beer lover to enjoy. Make sure to leave a comment with your favorite beer style for 2024 and CHEERS to a great summer filled with delicious, refreshing beers!

 

Here is how I brew a 5-gallon batch of the No. 1 contender - the American IPA:

 Grain Bill:

  • 8 lb Pale 2 Row
  • 2 lb Vienna
  • 1 lb Caramunich
  • 8 oz Crystal 10L

Hops:

  • 1.5 oz Citra (60 mins)
  • 0.5 oz Cascade (5 mins)
  • 1 oz Cascade (flame-out/ 0 mins)
  • 1.5 oz Cascade (Dry hop at day 5)

Yeast:

  • Wyeast Labs #1056 American Ale

Water Profile Additions:

  • 4 g Gypsum (CaSO4)
  • 1 g Epsom Salt (MgSo4)
  • 1.5 g Calcium Chloride (CaCl2)
  • 1.3 g Chalk (CaCO3)
  • Mash with 3.8 gallons at 152 Fahrenheit.
  • Sparge with 5 gallons
  • Aim for a pre-boil wort volume of ~6.5 gallons

 


 Additional Resources:

1. Official Beer Judging Stylistic Guidelines - https://www.bjcp.org/

2. Beer Styles for Summer / Spring - https://www.craftbeer.com/full-pour/beer-styles-for-summer-sipping

3. Brewer's Association: 2023 Beer Style Guidelines - here

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