We regret to inform you summer lovers that we are in its home stretch. Sure, hot weather will stretch on to the point where you’re like, “Okay, we get it…bye,” but the true essence of summer in all its vacation, beach-bum glory somehow really does up and move out with Labor Day weekend even long after your school days are over, doesn’t it? Perhaps it is the fleeting nature of summer that does indeed make it so sweet--or maybe we’ve just been in the sun too long / spending too much time reading in the park.
Even if you’re more #TeamFall, there are undoubtedly certain activities you want to get in before the collective mood transitions from pool float Instagram to apple orchard Instagram. Friends you want to see, trips you want to take, outside activities you want to experience, outfits you want to wear. And a huge, very important category? Drinks you want to drink. We’ve discussed many times on this blog that we are proud supporters of the message, “Drink what you want, when you want.” Stouts in the summer! Shandies in the winter! Whatever tastes good and refreshes you or cozies you whenever the craving strikes. But there are, we must admit, certain seasons where drinks just feel like this big celebration of the present moment. Even if you do drink stouts in August, they feel extra special in colder months, don’t they, as they warm you up and feel just the right amount of decadent?
Summer has no shortage of drinks that magically refresh you even on the most sweltering days, and taste like everything good about summer. They even feel momentous in and of themselves, the way gathering with friends and adding a little sparkle in the form of a conveniently canned spritz can turn into a whole Thing, an evening you never want to end and remember forever, the memory of which and promise of more to come keeping you going through February when you’re shoveling your driveway for the 17th time.
And so, without further ado, here’s a handy to-do list--the fun kind--to get to before summer’s over, with the perfect drink for every activity and occasion.
Take a Hike, with the Hoppin’ Hare Session IPA from Alliterate Animals Brewing Company
Sure, fall hikes are good, too, but they’re a different experience. In fall, you’ll get all that pretty foliage; now, you’ll get all that pretty green. You can escape the heat, too, by retreating into fresh mountain air, or at least meandering on shady trails. Soak up all that nature, and when you’re done, not only will you have enjoyed some peak beautiful views, but you’ll also feel like you really got out there and moved. Enjoying that feeling calls for the reward of a cool, refreshing, flavorful beer. You want something thirst-quenching but just a little complex, so you can really savor it wherever you’ve perched to sip it surrounded by the great outdoors. Enter: the Hoppin’ Hare Session IPA from Alliterate Animals Brewing Company.
Sleep Under the Stars, with Masq Fusions Hard Tea
If a hike isn’t enough, stay for a night or two! Camping is such a good, old-fashioned fun way to spend a weekend with friends. It’s cheap, easy enough to plan, you can go near or far, and you can enjoy all kinds of outdoorsiness from hiking to swimming to fishing to grilling to ghost stories around the campfire. For all of that fun and outdoorsiness, you need to stock up on a beverage that’s easy-drinking and refreshing yet a little special, intriguing, unique, and just delicious. It needs to be something as good during a lazy afternoon hammock hang as it is with dinner by the lake. And it needs to be something that all your friends will love, too. Enter: hard teas from Masq Fusions, in flavors like Blueberry Lavender, Lemon Ginger, and Dragon Fruit Acai.
BBQ It Up, with the Highwayman Pilsner from Roadhouse Brewing Company
Summer isn’t summer without the simple joy of hot dogs and hamburgers--and maybe some ribs and sausages if you’re ambitious at the grill. Whether you’re going beef or chicken or vegan, the act of throwing some grub on the grill is a sacred summertime tradition, filling the air with mouthwatering aromas and bringing friends and family together to enjoy food made with love. The best barbecues linger past sunset, when you can feel like a kid again catching lightning bugs and feeling the grass between your toes while you eat your third popsicle. Gatherings this good need a versatile, crushable, tasty, high-quality craft beer that everyone can agree on, that pairs with every dish, and that can be sipped all day. Enter: the Highwayman Pilsner from Roadhouse Brewing Company.
See Bands You Love Outside, with the FreeStyle Verses West Coast IPA from Crowns & Hops Brewing Company
Music festivals and outdoor concerts belong in the summer-activity pantheon right up there with the beach, barbecues, and road trips. Name a more exuberant, exciting experience than collecting a friend crew and singing along to your favorite songs at the top of your lungs, and maybe even discovering a few new favorites, under the sunshine and then the stars. It’s no wonder that outdoor shows are some of the occasions we treasure the memories of forever, and that we want to make sure to get to every year. For the height of music festival bliss, you need a fantastic beer that’s as creative and expertly made and passionate as the songs you’re hearing. And really, it has to be a beer that’s got its own cool factor, doesn’t it? Enter: the FreeStyle Verses West Coast IPA from LA’s Crowns & Hops Brewing Company.
Drink Beer You Love Outside, with Athletic Brewing Company
On that note, take in a beer fest or two! It’s the most wonderful time of the year to spend a warm, sunny day hopping and bopping from brewery tent to brewery tent, learning new things, chatting with brewers, discovering more about your beer preferences, trying incredible brews, feasting on food truck delights, dancing to live tunes, and generally having a gold-star, remember-forever kind of summer Saturday or Sunday. And if you’re making a whole day trip or weekend out of it, you’re going to want to stock your cooler with something very special, something that completely matches up with the craft, quality, inspiration, innovation, and deliciousness of everything you could hope to find at a beer fest, but that is booze-free because, well, you need to take a breather! Enter: Athletic Brewing Company’s stellar, diverse lineup of Hazy IPAs, more West Coast-style IPAs, and crisp golden ales.
Have a Fancy Alfresco Dinner Party, with the Piquette Spritz from DITTO
This is an entirely different experience from a barbecue and one just as worth having. Think about it like you’re planning the ultimate dinner party for the ‘Gram--but then, you know, actually enjoy it, live it, be in the moment. We’re talking toasts at #magichour, a bountiful cheese plate, tons of flowers on the table, cocktail party attire--essentially, get fancy and have fun with a little glamour all in the beautiful summer weather. It’ll feel like a special way to just celebrate the season and your friends, and yeah, it is a great photo opp for catching some memories. For this, you of course need something that feels a little decadent in flavor but light enough to sip all night. It’s got to feel special, and ready to pair with all those haute snacks. And sure, it’d help if it was photogenic. Enter: the Piquette Spritz from DITTO--which, by the way, has a real cute can but also looks dreamy in a glass.
Hit the Beach, with Ross Brewing Co.
No summer to-do list is complete without a beach trip or ten. And that makes even more sense when you consider how versatile the beach day is. Solo or with friends, lazy with a good book or active with a volleyball game, catching rays or catching waves--you’ve got to keep going back and no matter what you end up doing, there are a few guarantees: stunning views; the overall calmness of being seaside; intrinsic sunny, summery fun; your favorite tunes; your favorite snacks; your favorite drinks. To make packing your cooler irresistibly effortless, you need a one-stop-shop kind of brewery, ready to provide you with a selection that will keep you on your toes, trying and loving new things, developing new go-to’s, and sharing with friends. Enter: Ross Brewing Co., a beachy-by-nature brand with the New Jersey shore and rivers in its DNA, and an eclectic lineup ranging from IPAs to sours to lagers to wheat ales.
Lounge Poolside, with the Strawberry Lemon Real Hard Kombucha from Dr. Hops
A day by the pool does have a lot in common with the beach. It’s perfect whether you’re enjoying some “me time” or catching up with friends and whether you’re reading or lounging or playing games or doing laps, and you’ve always got the promise of a serene vibe, music, snacks, and drinks. But even beach lovers like us can spot a few advantages with pool life. There’s no sand to clean up, for one, and you usually don’t have to trek too far with all of your earthly possessions to set up camp. It’s more instantly relaxing, which is probably why pools are the hottest ticket in town especially in places like NYC when it’s a challenge to get near one--we’re all guilty of befriending someone because they have access to a pool, right? Anyway, when you are lucky to secure a spot poolside, you’ll want a drink that feels as pamper-y as the experience itself, which means delicious but made with clean, natural, mindful health at its core. You want a slow sipper, and it doesn’t have to be as low ABV since you’re not moving from this pool all day. Enter: the Strawberry Lemon Real Hard Kombucha from Dr. Hops, gluten-free, vegan, 8%, and bursting with the flavors of fruit and hops.