HOME > Chowhound > Beer >


Nice crisp and refreshing but not flat beer for summer

Now that summer is here, I am kinda sick of overly complex strong bitter end tasting beer. My usuals are Belgium beers such as Leffe blond and Duvel and Chimay. I am looking for something lighter and refreshing but with so many selections these days, I don't know what to drink.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I take it you are in the NY metro area, correct? Don't want to throw out any regional San Diego suggestions if that is the case. :)

    1. Hefeweizens are my summer go to beers. Sierra Nevada Kellerweis and Paulaner are two of my favorites.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Slightly Grey

        Ditto... wheat beers are the foundation of my summer beer cycle.

        There are some great domestic wheat microbrews , some classic mass-production German wheats (like Konig-Ludwig), and some excellent popular-priced wheats too (like Leinies honey and Berry wheats)....

        Also alot of your local brewpubs will be featuring wheats on tap.

        I'm perfectly fine with adding a squeeze of lemon to a wheat, BTW. Very summerly year-long.

      2. For a change of pace, try a Hard cider......preferably imported. It's my "poor man's Champagne". US made tends to be sweeter.

        1. These three beers I've found myself recently describing as crisp and refreshing. Peak Summer Session Ale, Left Hand Polestar Pilsner, and Founders All Day IPA (a session ale). You might also want to check out the Brooklyn Summer Ale and the Harpoon Summer.

          1. If you are already into Belgian beers, then try one of the lighter ones. If you like witbiers, then try Blanche de Namur, one of my very favorites in this style. Or give some of the lambics a try. I would suggest the peach-infused Pecheresse, which has only 2.5% alcohol, and is very refreshing and drinkable.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Tripeler

              I will try the Blanche de Namur. For someone who loves sweets, there are two sweet things I hate; one is coffee with sugar and alcoholic beverages with sugar and fruit flavors in them. I don't know why, they always remind me of cough syrup.

            2. Monica,
              I believe you will love the new summer seasonal from Ommegang, Fleur De Houblon. It is light, but still has an excellent profile. We will post a review soon.
              See more at http://www.summerbeerreview.com/summe....

              1. Love some of the recommendations. Thanks so much. Will look for them in the store this weekend.
                Wheat beer does seem more refreshing but sometimes I find most of them lack that clean after taste.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Monica

                  Try some Berliner Weisse, without any syrup!

                2. Island Ginger from Atlantic Brewing in Maine.

                  1. I would suggest either Brooklyn Pennant Ale, Flying Fish Summer Farmhouse Ale, or Founders All Day IPA

                    1. Saisons are generally highly carbonated and considered "farmer's" beer; which to me means they're meant for thirst quenching (but not only for that).

                      1. Milder German pilsners, such as Warsteiner, Krombacher or Spaten (the latter being the most flavorful) are great summer beers.

                        If I had to choose between Hefeweizen and Kristallweizen, I'd likely opt for the later, as I don't find the yeast to be particularly "light" and summery tasting.

                        8 Replies
                          1. re: Chinon00

                            Not my cuppa. Don't really like the syrup usually added (raspberry or woodruff) save for the very, very, very rare occasion I feel like a sweet-ish beer, and then am much more likely to have a Radler instead.

                            I'm also not a fan of that beer-style in its unadulterated version. Meh.

                            1. re: linguafood

                              Places in Philly that have Berliner Weisse serve it with the syrup on the side; so you can have it as sweet as you want. I don't this is common in Germany?

                              1. re: Chinon00

                                I think there is a move at some of the Berliner microbreweries to make a Berliner Weisse that can be drunk without any syrup. I've yet to try it.

                                I think in most places (I don't know that you can get Berliner Weisse all over Germany save for the mass-produced, pre-mixed bottled piss), the syrup is added to the glass and then the beer.

                                Where in Philly does one order Berliner Weisse?

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  I've had Berliner Weisse at Nodding Head (Center City) and Sly Fox Brewing Co. (Phoenixville)

                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                    Chinon has nailed two of the best Berliner Weisse, with the third being Round Guys. I also do not find the woodruff syrup to be sweet, rather more herbal, as opposed to the raspberry and the harder to find black currant.

                                    1. re: cwdonald

                                      I guess I'm just not a huge fan of mixers in my beer, save for the very occasional shandy.

                            2. re: Chinon00

                              yes try dogfish head festina peche no syrup needed clean and fresh tasting

                          2. Pilseners have sort of gone out of fashion with the Belgian beer craze, regrettably. On a hot day, I still love a Pilsener Urquel, or a good ol' German lager like Paulaner. The best beer I had recently on the east coast was Victory Prima Pils. Can't find it in the SF Bay area, sadly.

                            19 Replies
                            1. re: MagicMarkR

                              You can't find Victory Prima Pils in the SF Bay area? I'm pretty sure that the Beverages & More will have them, though they often run out.

                              Firestone Walker just came out with Pivo Pils, and I like it even better than Victory. You should be able to find that, I would think. I'd argue that they are coming back into fashion a little bit - seems like this past year has seen a lot more of the "sessionable" beers come back.

                              1. re: RB Hound

                                Good to know about Pivo. I've been curious to try it. Prima Pils isn't that common here, maybe because Trumer is just on the other side of the bay?

                                1. re: Josh

                                  Could be. It's all but disappeared from most of the stores around here since I made that post.

                              2. re: MagicMarkR

                                Look out for Schrimshaw pilsner from North Coast Brewing (CA) and Polestar from Left Hand (CO).

                                1. re: MagicMarkR

                                  Trumer Pils, brewed in Berkeley, is quite superb as a crisp, refreshing pilsener beer. I highly recommend it.

                                  1. re: Tripeler

                                    Surprisingly picked up a case at Costco of all places.

                                    1. re: JAB

                                      Was this your first time to have Trumer Pils?
                                      Did you like it?

                                      1. re: Tripeler

                                        No, I've had it before and I do like it. I was just pleasantly surprised to have seen it at Costco. It appears that Costco had a pricing dispute with AB and is branching out into independents. My prior purchase at Costco was a case of Stone IPA for myself and a 12er of Hanger 24 Orange Wheat for my wife. They also had several big bottles from idependents.

                                  2. re: MagicMarkR

                                    Victory makes a summer beer called Summer Love. It's a bit lighter than Prima Pils.

                                    1. re: Philly Ray

                                      I had this last year. Wasn't that impressed with any "lightness" but do like Prima Pils.

                                      SN has their Summerfest out. Another option for those of you who are Pilsner lovers. if you can find it in your area, St Arnold's Lawnmower Ale used to be my go-to summer brew when i lived in Houston.

                                      Ommegang, Fleur De Houblon, has peeked my interest. Will look for it.

                                      1. re: crewsweeper

                                        Ommegang FDH finally hits the North Florida area, at least in the local food co-op store, New Leaf Market here. Very nice for sipping. Neighbors loved it, too. Also found Shipyard's Summer Ale in cans. Now that's a good drinking beer when you're having more thna one on a hot summer afternoon.

                                    2. re: MagicMarkR

                                      This is interesting because in Belgium, mass-produced pilsener beers account for about 70% of all beer consumption.

                                      1. re: MagicMarkR

                                        Belgian beer craze? I thought that had passed and we were in an American beer craze.

                                        1. re: JAB

                                          gotta agree with you. This is exactly the reason why I am so confused these days when buying beer...so many American made beers with funky names and I don't know which one to get!

                                          1. re: Monica

                                            Beer Advocate is your friend. You can look up virtually any beer produced for a description, rating etc...

                                            1. re: JAB

                                              So true. And I've found the untappd app to be useful to keep track of the beer that I've had, where to find different beers, and for recommendations.

                                          2. re: JAB

                                            The other day I was out for an office happy hour and a new employee, young and clearly inexperienced in beer or anything else related to drinking, asked the server: "I'd like a Belgian beer." She was taken aback when the server recited about 5 or 6 they had on the menu. It was pretty amusing (I guess you had to be there). In any case, no I do not think the craze has passed (though perhaps I should include "Belgian-style" American beers to the craze): it may not be substituting for American (non-"Belgian") "craft" beer, but I feel it has driven out German and British selections.

                                            As for my initial post, I admit I have not scoured the area for Victory Prima, except that it is never available at any store I happen to be at. I was most delighted and surprised to see it on the menu at Cotogna in San Francisco. Forgot to ask them where they got it. Dumb.

                                          3. re: MagicMarkR

                                            I think with the move towards session beer styles you are seeing the return of the Pilsner, as well as a variety of styles of pilsners, (northern german, czech etc.)

                                            Also you are seeing the single hop varieties as well as imperial higher alcohol versions. I do not think the style is dead at all.. I think folks are working with it. Its not just Belgians!

                                          4. I have recently become a major fan of Gose beer, a malted wheat beer that is distinct amongst German beers for lacing its brew with coriander and salt water. The coriander imparts a crisp, almost lemony flavor and the hint of salinity in the background makes this an extremely drinkable refresher on warm days.

                                            1. Monica, not knowing you personally, I don't know how you feel about fruit beers, but I had 21st Amendment's "Come Hell or High Watermelon" a few weeks back and am obsessing about it recently. Not heavy on the watermelon taste AT all...it's just lightly there in the background. Tastes like summer to me - super light and refreshing!

                                              (My husband loves Duvel, and fruit beers not-so-much, but even agreed that it was tasty)

                                              5 Replies
                                                1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                  Not a big fan of fruity or sweet beers but I'd give it a try. My husband likes fruity beers and apple beers so he can drink it if I don't like it. haha, thanks for the recommendation.
                                                  It's funny when we are at a restaurant. I usually order complex heavy beer while my husband orders fruity sweet beers..the server usually puts the sweet beer infront of me assuming I ordered it.

                                                  1. re: Monica

                                                    At my Total Wine, they sell it in the section with the individual beer cans - so you could just grab one or two and try it out, without committing to a whole six-pack if it doesn't float your boat :)

                                                    1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                      I love Total Wine store! recently discovered it and been going there ever since.

                                                      1. re: Monica

                                                        Me too! Spend too much $$ there... :)

                                                  1. Sixpoint Apollo kristalweisen, totally refreshing beer, available through most of the east coast. Not easy to spot on teh shelf due to the packaging but worthwhile/

                                                    1. I was surprised by Tangerine Wheat put out by Lost Coast, it was a great summer wheat with a nice fresh kiss of tangerine on the finish. Sofie from GI always does good for us in the Summer, as does Island Wheat from Capital.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: DGSullivan

                                                        I have had several Lost Coast beers, and they were mostly excellent. I expect this brewery to become a lot more popular in the near future. The Tangerine Wheat is exceptional.

                                                        1. re: filtered

                                                          They have a grapefruit radler, new to me, but perhaps not a new product. In a can, always a plus. And traditional lemon in bottle.

                                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                                              I expect our younger participants are not familiar with that one.

                                                        2. Went to the Grand central oyster bar in NYC for lunch and ordered a beer called Allagash white ale and after a sip, I said to myself, this is it! i am gonna go look for this beer now.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                            1. re: JAB

                                                              LOL, thanks for telling now.

                                                              It looks like Total wine store carries this. I am going there after work today.

                                                            2. re: Monica

                                                              Gah, can't believe that one slipped my mind! It is fantastic. Easy to find at Total Wine, too...glad you found what you were looking for!

                                                              1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                                Allagash beers are not from Belgium, but they certainly have soul. They range from very good to fantastic.

                                                            3. You will probably enjoy Blanche du Bruxelles and Allagash White, both are great summer brews (if you like witbier).

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: spopodopolis

                                                                Did you respond after reading my comment mentioning Allagash beer? if not, that's pretty interesting that you mentioned right after I got a taste of it. It is a great beer.

                                                                1. re: Monica

                                                                  I hadn't seen your comment, but I recommend Allagash to everyone. If you can find it, you'll like Oxbow Farmhouse Pale Ale.