Your Guide to the Best Summer Seasonals

Warm weather is here and summer is right around the corner. You know what that means. Long weekends at the beach. Lazy afternoons around the pool. Gathering friends and firing up the grill. Taking yourself out to the ballgame.

And, of course, there’s not a single summer activity that can’t be improved with a cold, delicious beer.

Now, no one is saying your everyday, year-round favorite beer can’t do the trick. But with so many great summer seasonals available, wouldn’t it be a shame not to try a few?

For those looking to a little liquid changeup this summer, here is your guide to 8 of the best summer seasonals.


  1. Desnoes & Geddes Red Stripe with a Rum Floater

red stripe beer bottle

Okay, Red Stripe may not be seasonal, but you’d be hard pressed to find a beachier beer. It’s a beer marketed for summer fun. Don’t you remember those commercials? “Hooray beer!”

Red Stripe is a Jamaican pale lager with hints of honey and lemon amongst the slightly bitter, malty flavor. For an extra splash of summer spirits, try it with a rum floater. (Just go easy on the Jack Sparrow impressions, okay?) I was introduced to this delicious combination at The Rum House, one of my favorite restaurants in New Orleans.


  1. Abita Grapefruit Harvest IPA

One of the best trends in summer beers is fruit flavors, and Abita’s Grapefruit Harvest IPA is no exception. The excellent base of hoppy IPA is brought to life by the grapefruit flavoring. Abita swears by the use of “real Louisiana Ruby Red grapefruits” in the mix with its caramel malt and cascade hops.

A hoppy, fruit-flavored IPA makes a refreshing accompaniment to many a summer meal. For those who love finding the best brew and grub pairings, Abita has you covered. The brewer promises this IPA to be a “good choice with grilled chicken … ceviche or raw Louisiana oysters.”


  1. Ithaca Brewing Co. Flower Power IPA

Flower Power might pack a hoppy punch but, like the name suggests, it will leave you feeling groovy.

Another fruit-flavored IPA, Flower Power combines the fresh, bold flavors of grapefruit and pineapple for a tropical style that’s all its own. This IPA isn’t just hopped; it goes through five dry-hoppings during its brewing and fermentation.

Hot temperatures leave you craving something spicy? Flower Power goes well with your heat-packed dish of choice, be it Mexican, Indian or a spicy Thai curry.


  1. Magic Hat Electric Peel Grapefruit IPA

Magic Hat cap

Magic Hat’s description of this fruity IPA is an aptly worded testament to a great seasonal. The brewer describes this summer brew as, “An electric shock. A sweet scent in the air. A tantalizing tingle.”

Tantalizing and electric indeed. The grapefruit peel brings a well-balanced citrus flavor to this malty, bittersweet brew. Electric Peel would be a hit at any summer barbeque. However, if you’re looking for a beer to use in a barbeque recipe, you’ll want to try Magic Hat’s #9. The best part about this brewing company is that they aren’t shy about giving unsolicited, not to mention witty, advice.


  1. 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon

This San Francisco wheat is a love-it-or-hate-it choice, with no middle ground. But if you love it, you’ll really love it, coming back for more of its unique flavor season after season.

If the punny name wasn’t a giveaway, this isn’t your boring bargain beer. In a sea of grapefruit- and citrus-flavored beers, Hell or High Watermelon makes its own distinct splash with its unexpected fruit of choice. If you’re looking for an adventure for your taste buds, Hell or High Watermelon’s vibrant flavor will provide a memorable one.


  1. Highland Razor Wit

Thinking about a summer road trip? Consider Asheville, North Carolina, for your destination. It’s a funky city filled with delicious food, craft beer and fun events (without the overwhelming crowds of larger destinations).

Luckily, you don’t have to be on site to sample Highland Brewing Co’s Razor Wit, a spicy, fruity summer wheat. Razor Wit contains a bevy of flavors that all pull together to create a complex, delicious finish. Try a taste and see if you can pick out all the flavors: banana, orange peel, ginger, cumin, coriander and grains of paradise.


  1. Victory Whirlwind Witbier

Craving a mouthwatering Belgian-style white? Victory has you covered with their Whirlwind Witbier, touted as one of the best in America.

Summery, fruity flavors like strawberry and banana make this wheat beer a delicious alternative to your favorite summer smoothie. Pleasant and bright, this beer provides the perfect refreshment for any number of summer activities.


  1. Bell’s Oberon

Oberon beer bottle

Hailed as a summer classic, Bell’s Oberon is the perfect wheat beer: malty and yeasty with just the right amount of hops to create a perfectly balanced flavor.

All the brews on this list are excellent choices but, with so many great summer beers to choose from, there are many more excellent choices waiting to be discovered. Think your favorite seasonal deserves a place on this list? Leave a comment to share your favorite.




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Photos: Hajime NAKANO , Kirk Kittell, Dan Moyle

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