As warm weather months in the Midwest are fast approaching, the list of nostalgic beers that pair well with flip-flops and tank-tops is a necessity. Here is a list of 9 Beers and Hard Ciders, plus 1 Hard Seltzer you should give a try!
Oberon Ale- Bell’s Brewing
We might as well get this one out of the way first, because if you are from Michigan, and especially since Shakespeare’s Pub is the next door neighbor of Bell’s Eccentric Cafe, you know the importance of “Oberon Day”. Oberon is the “Taste of Summer” in Michigan. Releasing on the first day (week?) of Spring and much like the groundhog, it signifies the return of sunny days. Citrusy, easy drinking, and described as “Sunshine in a glass”. Brewed with wheat malt and Bell’s signature house yeast for a subtly spicy hop character. In more recent years, Bells has made several different variants of Oberon, including Pineapple Habanero, Peach, Blood Orange, and Raspberry Hibiscus. If you are lucky enough to get a taste, it’s worth your time. Whether you add an orange slice to a pint of Oberon or not, you know what you have here. You can almost smell the freshly cut lawn pictured in the forefront of your mind.
Green Zebra- Founder’s Brewing
Founder’s Brewing Company originally released Green Zebra as a limited run in the height of the popularity of “session sours” known as “Gose style”. Gose style beers usually have a lemon sourness, herbal notes, and a strong saltiness. Founder’s didn’t miss the mark here, using sea salt and tart fruit, but taking it further by highlighting the use of watermelon in the brewing process. Naming it Green Zebra as a play on the appearance of the watermelon is brilliant too. Everything about this beer makes you long for playing cornhole in the backyard with the sun beating down on you. New this summer, Founder’s made a Green Zebra Variety pack, featuring the original watermelon, pineapple, mango, and peach! If tart beers are your thing, this is perfect for you.
Blueberry Cider- Woodchuck Ciders
Woodchuck Blueberry Cider is a personal favorite of mine because of a time I was redoing my kitchen floor. I have a separate fridge that I only use for cold bottled water. My family partakes in drinking this water, but never refills the fridge once it’s empty. The number of times I have wanted a water and find my fridge empty is unnerving. One day, while preparing my former home to put up for sale, I was retiling my kitchen floor. It was unusually hot for a March day, and I found that I was quite thirsty. I went to my water fridge, and again, EMPTY! So I went to my kitchen fridge, and the only cold beverage was a 6 pack my wife had bought herself of “Summer Time” Cider (the original name of Woodchuck Blueberry). Passive-aggressively, I drank the first bottle very quickly, and on the back end, there was this subtle hint of blueberry. It was so delicious! I filled a glass to the top with ice, and proceeded to finish off another bottle (or two). Magically, tiling the kitchen floor wasn’t so bad anymore. Crisp apple cider with just a hint of blueberry, and if you are asking, serving it over ice is the best way to drink it. Woodchuck doesn’t get the credit they deserve for being great cider makers, because this is absolutely brilliant cider.
Tangerine Wheat- Lost Coast Brewing
Like most things in life, when you have signs of any success, you will always have those that bring negativity to a conversation. This is always the case for Oberon season in Kalamazoo, where people just say “This year’s batch tastes different” (it’s brewed year round for warm weather States), or “Oberon is Ober-rated”. To those people, I bring in a second wheat beer, which normally is fine, but isn’t Oberon. That is until this year. Tangerine Wheat from Lost Coast Brewing isn’t Oberon. That’s for sure. However, it is delicious in a totally different way! Brewed with wheat and crystal malts, it has a a crisp finish and smooth body, but the kicker is, tangerines are sweeter and less tart than the orange feel you find in most citrus wheat beers. This is the perfect beer for an impromptu pool party.
Allagash White- Allagash Brewing
Although not available in Michigan, a list of Summer beers can’t be taken seriously if it doesn’t include this classic. Allagash Brewing Company‘s “Allagash White” is the benchmark for American-made Belgian-style Witbiers. Brewed with oats, malted wheat, and raw wheat for a hazy appearance, and then spiced with coriander and Curacao orange peel. Coming out of Maine, it just makes sense that this pairs so well with seafood. The perfect dinner beer after spending a day on the beach.
Freedom Lemonade- Revolution Brewing
In the 1990’s, we saw the emergence of “Mike’s Hard Lemonade”, and for a small window of time, “Zima” (with jolly ranchers! Remember?). As fast as they became a thing, they definitely leveled off over their popularity until they were a “what were we thinking?” moment. Like the beverage version of Crocs. Then in 2022, Revolution Brewing made a session sour called, “Freedom Lemonade” featuring the bright sweetness of real lemons with pure cane sugar and at first glance, I was worried we were in for a new beverage mistake to happen. I couldn’t be more wrong. This is an example of taking an idea fade and improving it every step of the way. This would make for the perfect Adult lemonade stand, and I would gladly support table in front of a Sam’s Club or Costco.
Grapefruit Radler- Stiegl Brewing
Fun fact. I have never tapped Stiegl Radler Grapefruit or any other flavor they have offered at Shakespeare’s. Why? As an Austrian import, the kegs are not inexpensive for the amount of alcohol by volume (2.5%) which historically has been a selling point of draft ciders and beer for our entire existence. HOWEVER, the trend in craft beverages has been one in lower alcohol by volume and based on overall flavor. Arguably, you can’t find a more flavorful summer style than a radler, mixing fruit juice with a Lager. “Radler” translates to “cyclist” in German, and this is the perfect post-ride drink. If Grapefruit isn’t your thing, they have a raspberry and a lemon flavor, and at one time they made a passionfruit version that might be hard to find. Take it on a hike. It’s great to sip with a cool breeze.
Watermelon Cider- Sierra Rose Cellars
A permanent draft line at Shakespeare’s is Sierra Rose Blackberry Cider. It consistently sells 12 months of the year, so when Summer comes around, it is only right that we grab Watermelon Cider. Watermelon is generally a lighter fruit and hard to brew with because it is so subtle in flavor. However, Sierra Rose Watermelon is full front sweet watermelon and reminds me more of a jolly rancher than the unpredictability of the the level of sweetness you can find in a variety of watermelon. Tastes like fruit salad you may find at some of your friends high school graduation parties, and we all know, that’s what we are really there for.
Montucky Cold Snacks
I will die on this hill. Montucky Cold Snacks is magic in a can. You know when you go kayaking or canoeing, and you might be bad at it, and you tip over? You probably lost your cooler if you had one, and probably all of its contents, but you had some unopened beer cans, and they’re buoyant, just enough for you to save them from floating away into oblivion. What do you do now? Your cooler is gone, or at the very least, all of the ice that was in it. I know! You drag the cans on the side of the canoe/kayak with some sort of rope you probably had to tie things down, which you should have done with the cooler. The water is cold enough to keep the beer at the tasty temperature it deserves to be. You know that beer? The canoe tipping, trolling beer? That is Montucky Cold Snacks. Next to the shower beer, there isn’t a better one on earth. 4.1% alcohol lager, crisp, clean, and perfect for inexperienced paddlers.
Pink Lemonade Seltzer- Odd Side Ales
The Hard Seltzer craze was perfect for the Keto crowd. I always felt like seltzer, in general, tasted like the time when the fountain syrup ran out at Taco Bell. There is a hint of flavor, but not worth drinking. I don’t understand the love for La Croix, but to each their own. With all that said, Odd Side Ales hit it out of the park with their Pink Lemonade Hard Seltzer. It hits all the selling points for those of us who want to have a bacon and cheese diet with zero carbs and zero sugar, but it also has that “Cedar Point Pink Elephant container” drink feel to it. It’s pink lemonade that won’t make your eyes pucker, and although I haven’t tested it, I am sure it goes great on a day of 300 ft. drops from the top of the Millennium Force.
Have some favorites you drink during the Summer? If you live in Siberia, I bet your choices are probably different. Even so, please leave a comment and let me know, I would love to check out your choices too! Thanks for reading, and please check out the affiliates below that trust Dad Joke Genius to represent them well.www.boozedust.com Give the gift of a party in a basket with customizable cocktail kits from BroBasket.com! Find a sponsor for your web site. Get paid for your great content. shareasale.com.