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Help me find a summer beer

Wolfgang May 6, 2009 05:30 PM

I'm looking for a beer or beers to enjoy in the warmer weather. I'm looking for beers sold in six packs as opposed to bombers. I haven't yet stumbled upon a perfect crisp, refreshing and interesting summer beer. Lager-ish with some hop profile sounds good to me.
I've tried the much ballyhooed Victory Prima Pils and I find it fine but a little boring. I usually have SN pale ale in my refrigerator and that's close but a little on the sticky side for the really hot days. I don't enjoy the SN summer beer.
Beers I like to drink:
Dog Fish Head 60 Minute (I can't find it in L.A.--I've had it in Tucson and Chicago)
Stone IPA and Arrogant Bastard. Liked both better than the standard pale ale; haven't tried any other Stones.
Alesmith Anvil.
Alesmith IPA--just had this last weekend at Pizza Port in San Clemente.
Anchor Steam.
Anchor Christmas Brews--I enjoy them pretty much every year
Racer 5
SN Pale Ale and ESB. I don't love the torpedo; I like it but not as much as other IPAs
Bohemia (the only Mexican beer that I am excited to drink).
Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale

Beers I haven't liked:
Lost Coast Great White--don't really like the spiced white type beer.
Lost Coast Downtown Brown--too roasty. The Anvil has the perfect amount of roast; anything more and I am turned off

Beers that I'm just okay with but aren't that interesting:
Pilsner Urquell
Hefes from Pyramid, Blue Moon, etc.

I'm on the westside of Los Angeles.

Thanks for your help.

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  1. Chinon00 RE: Wolfgang May 6, 2009 06:15 PM

    You asked for something "[l]ager-ish with some hop profile" which describes Prima Pils to a tee. You also mentioned not caring much for Pilsner Urquell which is more round and less hoppy than Prima but still part of the family. So maybe you don't appreciate what you are looking for right now? Anchor Steam (and it's been a while since I've had one) is a lager brewed at ale temperature. Therefore it isn't "sticky" to you right. Why not stick with that for summer. Another suggestion would be any quality ESB.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Chinon00
      pininex RE: Chinon00 May 6, 2009 09:09 PM

      The 60 Minute just hit LA. I know people on Beer Advocate have found it at the Whole Foods in Pasadena so you may want to try some by where you live. I think a good choice would be Ballast Point's Yellow Tail. It is a very good kolsch and should be readily available. Alaskan's Summer is also a kolsch and is very good.

      1. re: pininex
        Chinon00 RE: pininex May 7, 2009 04:27 AM

        If he/she found Prima and Urquell boring and not that interesting you think even a great Kolsch style has a chance?

        1. re: Chinon00
          pininex RE: Chinon00 May 7, 2009 10:12 AM

          I can't speak for the OP, but I am willing to bet he is running into freshness issues. The bottles of Prima Pils that I have seen when in LA have been old and I don't buy Urquell bottles due to having so many skunked. I say go for the two that are readily available and will be fresh.

          1. re: Chinon00
            Insidious Rex RE: Chinon00 May 7, 2009 10:14 AM

            My thoughts exactly. I really view Prima Pils as a hop bomb. It just happens to be a lager and uses noble hops rather then crazy west coast ones. But to me it tastes about as hop saturated as any IPA really. Yet effervescent and crisp like a pilsner should. So in many ways its the perfect medium. And yeah, I dont think hes going to find anything more Prima Pils than Prima Pils.

      2. l
        LStaff RE: Wolfgang May 7, 2009 06:24 AM

        If you find Prima Pils boring, I don't think there would be any lager that would satisfy you - that's about as flavorful as normal abv lagers get. To me, the op's description of lagerish with a bit of a hop profile describes SN Summerfest, but he doesn't like that one either.

        Seems like he should just stick to IPA's.

        1 Reply
        1. re: LStaff
          TongoRad RE: LStaff May 7, 2009 06:34 AM

          Yeah- also, Anchor Liberty Ale immediately springs to mind.

        2. r
          rodeo RE: Wolfgang May 7, 2009 06:29 AM

          My go to beer in the summer is Sam Adams summer ale. It is the best beer they make. I can not get enough in the few months they make it.

          1. d
            Diego Sanchez RE: Wolfgang May 7, 2009 07:21 AM

            Pikeland Pils
            Moretti (trust me)
            Bells Two hearted ale

            5 Replies
            1. re: Diego Sanchez
              BaltoPhilFood RE: Diego Sanchez May 20, 2009 09:00 AM

              Agree with 2 hearted...
              I liked the Oskar Blues Gordon also, not too strong

              1. re: BaltoPhilFood
                Kenji RE: BaltoPhilFood May 21, 2009 11:21 AM

                What?!? The Oskar Blues Gordon is good, but it is *quite* strong. It's got to have at least 9% ABV. It reminds me of Bigfoot. A fine cool weather brew, but *way* too strong for summer, IMO.

                1. re: Kenji
                  Kenji RE: Kenji May 21, 2009 11:23 AM

                  Okay, before anyone else catches it, I was slightly off; the Gordon has 8.7% ABV. Close enough, though; and I maintain that that is still way too strong to meet any normal definition of summer beer.

                  1. re: Kenji
                    BaltoPhilFood RE: Kenji May 21, 2009 11:55 AM

                    Ah you beat me to it! I feel exposed. I'll retract and say 'spring' beer but won't limit it to cold weather as it didn't remind me of Bigfoot at all. Thought if the OP was looking for that flavor it might work?
                    How about I switch it out with Hoegaarden? I also liked Xingu...although it is black beer it was surprisingly light to me...almost tea-like.

                    1. re: BaltoPhilFood
                      Kenji RE: BaltoPhilFood May 21, 2009 12:25 PM

                      Sure, Hoegaarden Wit is classic summer beer. Xingu -- despite the manufacturer's early PR about the beer being invented by Amazon Indians (!!!) is a schwarzbier, a fine style for warm weather. Warm weather does not by any means rule out dark-colored beers. Indeed, my all-around favorite beer -- Ipswich Oatmeal Stout -- is excellent in cold or warm weather (though some would say it's on the high-gravity side for summer).

            2. Josh RE: Wolfgang May 7, 2009 08:11 AM

              Anchor's Summer Beer would probably be right up your alley. It's crisp and refreshing, and is made with wheat which gives it a nice twist in terms of flavor. It's not a hefeweizen, but an American wheat, so it's made with a cleaner tasting yeast and is filtered.

              Another good, lighter beer, is Ayinger's Jahrhundert. It's a lager, but with a more interesting malt character than is found in domestic lagers.

              1. 1
                1stand3rd RE: Wolfgang May 7, 2009 08:20 AM

                Troëgs Sunshine Pils is my pick

                1 Reply
                1. re: 1stand3rd
                  aburkavage RE: 1stand3rd May 7, 2009 11:21 AM

                  Was hoping someone would mention this! Great beer, great brewery.

                2. k
                  Kenji RE: Wolfgang May 7, 2009 10:07 AM

                  IPAs -- including many of the ones you mention, except I do love the SN Torpedo -- are my favorite warm-weather beer.

                  If you ever visit MA. in the summer, be sure to try Mercury Brewing's Ipswich Summer Ale. This is not an IPA, but it's my favorite summer seasonal. It's very pale indeed, and it's got a firm body and a fantastic hop bite.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Kenji
                    Chinon00 RE: Kenji May 7, 2009 10:11 AM

                    What is it about the IPA style that makes it worth mentioning as a summer beer?


                    1. re: Chinon00
                      Wolfgang RE: Chinon00 May 7, 2009 10:20 AM

                      Thanks for all of your suggestions.
                      I was expecting the Victory Prima to be the answer. I've tried it a handful of times and am always underwhelmed. I'm just not picking up all the flavors and nuances that people are ascribing to it.

                      1. re: Wolfgang
                        pininex RE: Wolfgang May 7, 2009 10:28 AM

                        If you can find any of Ballast Point's Sculpin IPA, I suggest buying the lot. It is an incredible beer. I wish I had more than two!

                      2. re: Chinon00
                        Kenji RE: Chinon00 May 7, 2009 11:11 AM

                        The hops. I find the flowery, citrusy flavors -- and also the bitterness -- of good microbrewed IPAs to be extremely refreshing and quenching.

                        1. re: Kenji
                          Chinon00 RE: Kenji May 7, 2009 11:47 AM

                          I hear you on the hops, and don't get me wrong, I drink all styles year round. But I generally find the weight and %abv (generally 6%+) too high for it to be highlighted as a beer for summer.

                          1. re: Chinon00
                            Bobfrmia RE: Chinon00 May 9, 2009 10:25 PM

                            When I hear Summer beer, I think session beer. Two Hearted Ale, and Torpedo, both mentioned above, are incredible beers. They are also over 7% ABV. Knock back a few of those after mowing the lawn, and you won't have to worry about what to have for dinner.
                            I like a nice wheat beer for sessioning. Shiner Hefe serves me well.

                            1. re: Bobfrmia
                              Kenji RE: Bobfrmia May 13, 2009 09:50 AM

                              IPAs with ABVs beyond 7% exceed my summer beer threshold. I would not recommend any 2IPA, for example, as a summer beer. But something like Dogfish Head 60 Minute or Ipswich IPA (both of which clock in at 6%) is perfect for me. Actually, my all-time favorite "summer IPA" was the Full Sail brew, which -- back when I was drinking it, anyway -- had 6.5%. That was perfect, but since moving to MA. I have not seen it.

                              1. re: Kenji
                                Bobfrmia RE: Kenji May 13, 2009 03:13 PM

                                My favorite was Gumballhead. Very sad when distribution to Iowa stopped.
                                At 4.8% ABV, it still carried a huge hop profile. Incredible beer in general, unreal session beer. It was almost too good.

                            2. re: Chinon00
                              LauraGrace RE: Chinon00 May 11, 2009 06:38 PM

                              Couldn't agree more, Chinon00 and Bobfrmia. I do like hops (drinking a Founders Red's RyePA at the moment) but I think the ABV takes the IPAs out of the "lawnmower beer" category for me.

                              To the OP: can you get New Belgium beers in California? I'm thinking of Skinny Dip (which is flavored with kafir lime leaves) and Blue Paddle (a pilsener with more body and hops than average) . Skinny Dip in particular is delicious -- it's New Belgium's summer seasonal. I don't think there's a more refreshing beer on earth after being out in the hot sun!

                      3. joypirate RE: Wolfgang May 8, 2009 10:13 AM

                        I'd say Bell's Oberon but I seem to recall some recent debate as to the availability of Bell's in California. Failing that, you seem to be a fan of bigger tastes, so hey, give Leinie's Sunset Wheat a try.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: joypirate
                          hollyd RE: joypirate May 11, 2009 10:40 AM

                          is this the same company that makes the Two Hearted Ale? Now THAT is the perfect summer beer.

                          1. re: hollyd
                            joypirate RE: hollyd May 11, 2009 03:18 PM

                            yes it is, i personally prefer oberon to two-hearted ale, but both are pretty frickin fantastic.

                            1. re: joypirate
                              andytee RE: joypirate May 11, 2009 03:43 PM

                              bells doesn't get around much out of the midwest, i can't even get it here in new england. i like to buy a case or two when i go home to visit family in cleveland - just finished a supply from xmas.

                              1. re: andytee
                                hollyd RE: andytee May 11, 2009 03:53 PM

                                we got in down in PHilly. I've seen it in at least 3 bars and it's in our state beer stores.

                        2. b
                          bbq babe RE: Wolfgang May 10, 2009 11:13 AM

                          Try the "Simpler Times" lager at Trader Joe's. Surprisingly complex for what it is and really refreshing. Just the thing for summer heat. Get it in the cans and if you don't like it (but I think you will) you've only invested $4.

                          I tried the Torpedo and just wasn't impressed. It wasn't bad, I just don't need to have it again.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: bbq babe
                            donovt RE: bbq babe May 10, 2009 02:19 PM

                            I really like Lagunitas Pils

                            1. re: donovt
                              Kenji RE: donovt May 13, 2009 09:44 AM

                              Yeah, I quite like their pils. I never much liked Lagunitas' IPA.

                          2. andytee RE: Wolfgang May 10, 2009 08:23 PM

                            Your beer list is right up my alley, looks like we have similar tastes.

                            What about Lagunitas IPA? Surely you can get it in LA, it fits with the rest of your list, but is not overpowering in the way that the Dogfish or Stone or Racer 5 can be. Good with food, fine "lawnmower beer", nice enough for a sophisticated beer drinker, but not hard for other palates to relate to, and usually under $10 a sixer.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: andytee
                              Wolfgang RE: andytee May 11, 2009 09:28 AM

                              I tried Anchor Liberty Ale over the weekend. It had been about 3 years since I last had it. What a wonderful beer it is. Three years ago, I hadn't ventured into the craft beer world. Anchor Steam was an occasional splurge. I didn't have enough to compare it to and didn't appreciate it like I did this time. I'm excited for the re-discovery.

                              Also, as one of you pointed out, I found Dogfish 60 and 90 minute at the Santa Monica Whole Foods. $11.99 for a 6-pack.

                              1. re: Wolfgang
                                TongoRad RE: Wolfgang May 11, 2009 06:10 PM

                                If you start buying Anchor more often it could be helpful to get to know their bottling date system. The Beer Advocate page has it all broken down: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/28
                                it's not so crazy once you get used to it. It definitely helps knowing the code here on the east coast, where freshness can definitely be an issue.

                            2. d
                              Diego Sanchez RE: Wolfgang May 11, 2009 01:38 PM

                              I also love Saison Dupont in the summer.

                              1. m
                                mkel34 RE: Wolfgang May 12, 2009 09:51 AM

                                I assume your from California looking at your beer list, have you tried any of the Lagunitas beers? Hop Stoopid seems like it might meet your demands. I find it to be hoppy but very floral and light at the same time. The prices are great in Mass. so I can only imagine they are giving the stuff away in Ca.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: mkel34
                                  Chinon00 RE: mkel34 May 12, 2009 10:13 AM

                                  Yes. Nothing quite says "summer" like an 8.2% abv Double/Imperial IPA.

                                  1. re: Chinon00
                                    DougOLis RE: Chinon00 May 21, 2009 01:06 PM

                                    Why couldn't they be? Citrus and pine notes say summer to me more than winter.

                                    1. re: DougOLis
                                      Chinon00 RE: DougOLis May 21, 2009 03:14 PM

                                      As I stated earlier nothing precludes me from drinking any style during any time of year. But for me when we are discussing "summer" beers specifically I look at not only what would make a beer more desireable in summer but also what would make it less desireable in winter. There is nothing that I can describe about DIPA character that makes it demonstrably less appealing on a winter evening. In winter, full flavor, weight and "warmth" (i.e. high abv) cuts the chill of the evening. And I hope that we can agree that DIPA delivers those things in spades; I mean it is called a "Double".

                                      1. re: Chinon00
                                        DougOLis RE: Chinon00 May 21, 2009 04:04 PM

                                        I agree with that, but I feel like the flavor components of other big beers like Barleywines, Old Ales, Quads, Strong Dark Ales, and RISs are more "wintery" than the flavor components of a DIPA.

                                        1. re: DougOLis
                                          Chinon00 RE: DougOLis May 21, 2009 05:05 PM

                                          I agree. They're darker, toastier and roastier along with having the gravity and alcohol. But I don't think I'd ever enter a bar in Philly in January and say "naw, man it's too cold out for a Pliney the Elder". I have said just that about wheats and wits though.

                                          1. re: Chinon00
                                            BaltoPhilFood RE: Chinon00 May 22, 2009 07:27 AM

                                            I wouldn't refuse a Pliny any month! Wish Russian River could be found in MD. Not too far of a drive, though. I had my first try at Tria up your way. Have they started selling bottles or still only available in draft?

                                            1. re: BaltoPhilFood
                                              Chinon00 RE: BaltoPhilFood May 22, 2009 08:33 AM

                                              Draft only. Never seen a bottle around here. And for the record it isn't my favorite DIPA; Weyerbacher Double Simcoe is where it's at for me.

                                            2. re: Chinon00
                                              DougOLis RE: Chinon00 May 22, 2009 08:23 AM

                                              Agreed 100%

                                  2. Chefmonty RE: Wolfgang May 13, 2009 07:48 AM

                                    Since your based in CA, I would try Ballast Point Wahoo Wheat

                                    1. htownhunter RE: Wolfgang May 13, 2009 10:42 AM

                                      You should give San Miguel lager from the Philippines a try. It's made for hot weather and brother is it hot there during the summer. Dos Equis Amber is also a good hot weather beer but don't put any fruit in it.

                                      1. a
                                        adrienne156 RE: Wolfgang May 13, 2009 03:58 PM

                                        Wolfgang, we have similar taste in beer -- liking both the Stones, Bohemia, Boont, IPA's in general & not the Lost Coasts, Stella. SN pale is my got to as well and I see that you don't like their summer, but have you tried their ESB? Sweet malt with citrusy hops, strong bitter finish, 5.9%. I found it a little heavy for my taste, but maybe you might not.

                                        Just wondering.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: adrienne156
                                          Wolfgang RE: adrienne156 May 14, 2009 11:23 AM

                                          I really like the SN ESB. It's more of a summer night with grilled steak beer for me. My liquor store has been running a sale on SN for 5.99 so I've had the opportunity to drink the Torpedo, PA, ESB and Summerfest. I just tried the Summer again this last weekend and it's pretty to look at in the glass but I just didn't like the taste.

                                          1. re: Wolfgang
                                            jacobp RE: Wolfgang May 14, 2009 12:59 PM

                                            I've always been a huge fan of wheat beers in the summer. I'm almost out of my old standby, Boulevard Wheat, so I've been looking around my new hometown in Northern Louisiana to find something comparable.

                                        2. i
                                          Ima Baconista RE: Wolfgang May 21, 2009 12:15 PM

                                          Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse is the best heffe out there. It is full in body but light in taste. I'd like to think of it as a cold full bodied refreshing iced beer tea. Its best to squeeze the lemons on the bottom and slowly pour the beer over the top. I leave the peels in bc they keep the fresh lemon flavor at bay.

                                          This is very much a summer beer. Refreshing and cool.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Ima Baconista
                                            Wolfgang RE: Ima Baconista May 28, 2009 11:57 AM

                                            Thanks for more of your recs.

                                            I tried an Ayinger Hefe this weekend. It reminded me of the flavours in the Paulaner Hefe. Maybe all German Hefes have this same fruitiness. I thought it was fine but that style hefe is not something I am drawn to.

                                            Also, I was in AZ this past week and I tried a Four Peaks Hop Knot IPA on tap and really liked it. It's a mellow, eminently drinkable IPA. Very refreshing.

                                            Secondly, I tried a Stone Ruination out of a bottle. Holy Smokes! Maybe I'll get there someday, but for now, this one's a little too hoppy and bitter for me. I liked it but there are other beers out there that I prefer.

                                            1. re: Wolfgang
                                              Jim Dorsch RE: Wolfgang May 28, 2009 03:50 PM

                                              Most German hefes have various balances of clove and banana flavors. The big exception is Germany's biggest-selling wheat beer, Erdinger, which has almost none of those flavors.

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