It may be mid-August, but if you’re all about sunshine, cold drinks on hot days, barbecues, beach days, friend hangs, (safely) catching just a bit of a tan, and so on--fear not. We’ve definitely still got at least a few weeks of warm weather to enjoy. All that ticking summer clock means is that we’ve got to make the most out of that time.
One way to savor every summer moment is with a delicious, summery-feeling beverage, a little kick into somehow-even-better-territory for everything from backyard parties to solo stoop chill-outs. And a summery-feeling beverage, by the way, can be whatever you want it to be--the only rule is that it refreshes you and makes you happy. You may not be able to understand how your friend can drink pastry stouts in August, but that friend might not be able to imagine how you don’t love the idea of something that tastes like melted ice cream even on a hot day. From lagers to hard kombucha to tropical IPAs, there’s really something for everyone.
That’s exactly why we thought it would be both fun and helpful to ask some of the folx from some of our favorite brands what they’re reaching for in these last weeks of summer. What are they making sure they don’t miss out on before the season changes and maybe their go-to drink does, too? Let this little round-up be your guide and your summertime sipping inspiration.
Tara Hankinson, Co-founder of TALEA Beer Co.
For TALEA co-founder Tara Hankinson, summer is all about enjoying beer without anything too heavy--beer at its most refreshing, basically. She’s drinking “all the low-alcohol summer ales, kolsches, fruited sours.”
While it’s an IPA--clocking in at a deceptive 8.6% ABV, TALEA’s Blush Rosé IPA is a flavor-packed yet crushable delight that’s fruity with flavors and aromas of grape, apricot, peach, and strawberry; plus it resonates with our perennial “rosé all day” summer mood. If Tara also has you dreaming of kolsches, check out Mayflower Brewing Company’s Crispy Business Kolsch-Style Ale is a perfectly crisp rendition of the classic style, irresistibly easy-sipping on even the hottest days. Or if it’s fruited sours you seek, why not go all the way and lean into tropical vacation vibes with the Piña Pop! From Grimm Artisanal Ales, brewed with toasted coconut, pineapple, milk sugar, Tahitian vanilla, and cashmere hops.
Denise Ford Sawadogo, Owner and General Manager at Montclair Brewery
Montclair Brewery owner and general manager Denise Ford Sawadogo is also craving fruity beers, which isn’t surprising considering she and husband Leo whip up the dreamiest, unique beers with all sorts of fruity flavors. Denise says she is reaching for “anything light and sweet like a great lambic, fruited ales and sours.”
For example, Montclair’s own Hibiscus Dream is a tart ale brewed with real hibiscus flowers, which we would happily drink all year but feels just absolutely irresistible in summer months. The Sawadogos also channel time-honored Belgian beer vibes with the super refreshing Buzz Ale Belgian Blond.
And for more beautiful, Belgian-inspired beers that are fruity and complex yet thirst-quenching, there’s the Sasuga Saison with rice and lemony flavor from Oxbow Brewing, the Klarnet Barn Beer with cherries and cherry juice from Plan Bee Farm Brewery, and the Starling Saison with local peaches from Arrowood Farm Brewery.
Hank Browning, Key Account Manager for New York at Jiant Hard Kombucha
Iced tea is already an eternal summer classic. It’s one of the most flavor-packed ways to instantly cool down and feel truly refreshed, and it instantly conjures up relaxing afternoons spent taking in the sunshine from a shady refuge. It stands to reason, then, that hard tea would take this concept into the imbibing space, where it’s a little more festive whether you’re winding down or revving up with friends.
For Jiant’s Hank Browning, it doesn’t get better than the brand’s Hard Tea Variety Pack, which offers the can’t-miss opportunity to experience three different flavors. And with multiples of each option, this pack is great for sharing. There’s Blood Orange Grapefruit Pu’er Tea, Raspberry Mint Keemun Black Tea, and Mango Lime Oolong Tea. We’re already feeling rejuvenated.
Jeremy Cohn, CEO of Moody Tongue Brewing Company
Lucky for Jeremy Cohn and the team at Moody Tongue, they don’t have to search too high or too low for the kind of beer they’re craving in the summer.
“Before summer is over, we are drinking a lot of our Aperitif Pilsner and Toasted Rice Lager,” Jeremy says. So crisp and crushable, these beers are both worthy of savoring in these last summer weeks and also thirst-quenching enough for the way temperatures just seem to soar in August. “Light and refreshing is perfect for Chicago's summer heat,” Jeremy explains. “Especially in our frozen mugs--which we use in our restaurant as well.” Ooh, Aperitif Pilsner in a frozen mug? That sounds like a pro tip.
Jeremy Kim, Co-Founder, 하드Nectar Hard Seltzer
“NECTAR HARD SELTZER ONLY. (Yes, we are very biased).”
Well, that really says it all, doesn’t it? But honestly, we cannot blame Jeremy Kim, Nectar’s co-founder. This hard seltzer nails all the things that make this drink category great for hot days and any fun summer occasion: light, crisp, clean, bubbly, and did we mention light? But it also goes above and beyond in terms of flavor. With Nectar’s Variety Pack, you can experience the unique ingredients that this brand uses to make seltzer unlike any you’ve had before. There’s Asian Pear, Mandarin, Lychee, and Yuzu, each explosions of sweetness, tartness, and brightness.
Daniel Marinelli, Vice President of Consumer Marketing at Crook & Marker
There’s something about a cocktail that just feels right when toasting with friends, isn’t there? And in the summer, you want two things from your cocktail: flavors that transport you on a mental vacay to a faraway island, and, well, total effortlessness. Really, think about it. Even if you’re a passionate mixologist, if you’re hanging out outside on a warm summer evening and enjoying the company of pals, you want all that cocktail goodness without always having to bust out a whole kit of tools and tinctures. Enter Crook & Marker--personally, their vice president of consumer marketing Dan Marinelli is excited about the brand’s summery cocktails and we second that emotion.
Dan tells us he’s extra psyched about Crook & Marker’s new Blackberry Lime Mojito. In addition to being delicious, it’s made with the brand’s Organic Supergrain Alcohol that’s brewed from quinoa, amaranth, millet, and cassava root; plus it’s USDA organic and has zero sugar, just 100 calories, and 5% alcohol. Grab the Lime Margarita, too, and it’s a party.
Bailey Spaulding, Founder and CEO of Jackalope Brewing Company
Jackalope founder and CEO Bailey Spaulding is planning on benefiting from her brewery’s creativity and range. In typical Jackalope fashion, the brewery has dreamed up must-have beers on different ends of the delicious, refreshing spectrum.
“I'm definitely excited about our Sultry Seagull and Foghorn brews during these dog days of summer,” Bailey says. “Sultry Seagull is basically a strawberry lemonade in beer form, so is great for something refreshing and light, and Foghorn is a delicious hazy IPA with a great hop aroma.”
Strawberry lemonade in beer form and a hazy, juicy hop bomb? There’s no way to choose between these two, so sign us up for both.
Robby Willey, Co-founder of The Virginia Beer Company
“Pretty much anything we can get our hands on!” The Virginia Beer Company co-founder Robby Willey says when we ask what he’s reaching for before summer’s over. “This is definitely the summer of creativity coming out of the pandemic, and it's been awesome to see so many varieties of craft beer and malt beverages expanding locally and nationally as we all shake off that stir-crazy feeling and start to explore again. In particular we've loved seeing the lager craze that's sweeping the industry!
“It makes us glad that there are spots like TapRm that collect the best of the best to make it easy to find out what's new and exciting--there's a lot to keep up with!”
We couldn’t agree more, and we’re definitely matching Robby’s enthusiasm for all the different brews of summer there are to fall for. VBC’s own portfolio is full of creativity and variety, from the Misty Flip West Coast-Style IPA to the One Night in Maine Berliner Weisse-Style Ale with Blueberries. And if you’re psyched about all the lager options like Robby is, get exploring with everything from Folksbier’s OBL Helles Lager to Interboro’s Bushburg Pilsner to Rubsam & Horrmann’s R&H Pilsner.
Loretta Chung and Sarah Hallonquist, Founders of Dyke Beer
Loretta Chung and fellow Dyke Beer co-founder Sarah Hallonquist are opting for all beers fresh and fruity. Loretta fell for Golden Road’s Mango Cart on a recent California vacay, and back in New York, it’s all about Interboro’s Citrus Gose and TALEA’s Mango Tart Deco Sour IPA.
You could also reach right for a Dyke Beer, itself, and fulfill all your fruity sipping dreams. The Tall Girl Gose, made in collaboration with Greenpoint Beer & Ale, boasts blackberries, lingonberries, raspberries, and Himalayan pink salt.
John Ross Cocozza, President of Ross Brewing
Ross Brewing has a whole repertoire of refreshing, flavorful beers that sound like absolute heaven for summer, from the Twists of Fate Sour IPA with pink guava and mango to the Manasquan Wit. Brewery president John Ross Cocozza is excited about the gems coming out of the Ross brew house and some smash hits from other breweries, too.
“Aside from our own Local Summer Golden Ale with apricot and pear and our Pink Rosé Cider with grape pomace and rose petals, others summer beers I've been crushing on (and straight-up crushing!) are Gose to the Beach by Bradley Brew Project, Blueberry Bikini Bottom by Ship Bottom Brewery, and Saving Daylight from Virginia Beer Co.”
Luke Walker, Brewmaster at Walker Brothers
Co-founder and brewmaster at Walker Brothers Luke Walker is also casting a wide net this summer and enjoying a range of different craft beers. A love of craft beer is actually where Walker Brothers came from--the brand’s hard kombucha is a gut-healthy balance to beer, and it’s made with a craft beer-like focus on ingredients, technique, and flavor. You can experience that approach with the High Gravity Kombucha with Citra Hops, for example. As for recs from Luke’s own summer of 2021 go-to’s?
“Blackberry Farms IPA, Smith & Lentz German Pils, Threes Brewing Vliet Pilsner, Fonta Flora Blueberry Gose, Oxbow Luppolo Pilsner,” he lists. Sounds like a well-balanced summer imbibing plan!
Sam Tulberg, Co-founder and Director of Innovation at Flying Embers
Speaking of hard kombucha, it has a flavor profile and lightness that is so ideal for summer. It can be any bouquet and balance of fruity, herbal, and floral flavors and aromas, with just a kick of tartness and funk. Flying Embers co-founder Sam Tulberg has plenty of innovative options within his brand’s own portfolio, from Pineapple Chili to Watermelon & Basil.
Flying Embers is also releasing the “Citrus Sessions” collection that Sam says is perfect for summer. “They're organic, cocktail-inspired hard kombuchas that taste like your favorite mimosas, mojitos, and palomas, but without the outrageous sugar content,” he explains. It’s hard to think of a better summer indulgence than a classic cocktail without a hangover that could put a serious damper on sunny weekend plans.