Welcome to the Light Side: 7 Summer-Worthy Craft Beer Styles
Summertime activities don't always merit cracking open an 11% ABV Barleywine or a 13% ABV Russian Imperial Stout. So we have compiled a list of lighter, more easily quaffable craft beers that still offer tons of flavor and will allow you to retain your beer geek status.
SaisonA refreshing, medium to strong fruity/spicy ale with a distinctive yellow-orange color, highly carbonated, well hopped, and dry with a quenching acidity. ABV: 5-7%
Commercial examples: Ommegang Hennepin, Saison Dupont, Goose Island Sofie, Boulevard Tank 7, Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, Bruery Saison Rue, Stone Saison Du Buff
A medium-light to medium bodied style that typically focuses more on hop character and less on yeast flavor than its German cousin, the Weissbier. ABV: 4-5.5%
Commercial examples: Bell's Oberon, Three Floyds Gumballhead, Pyramid Hefe-Weizen, Widmer Hefeweizen, Sierra Nevada Wheat, Anchor Summer Beer
An easy-drinking, approachable, malt-oriented American craft beer. ABV: 3.8-5.5%
Commercial examples: Victory Summer Love, New Belgium Somersault, Deschutes Twilight, Shipyard Export, Redhook Blonde, Widmer Brothers Blonde, Bell's Third Coast
Low gravity, low alcohol levels and low carbonation make this an easy-drinking beer. Drinkability is a critical component of the style. ABV: 3.2-4.6%
Commercial examples: Fuller's London Pride, Goose Island Honker's Ale, Young's Special, Surly Bitter Brewer, Anchor Small Beer, Rogue Younger's Special Bitter, Newcastle Summer Ale
A refreshing, elegant, tasty, moderate-strength wheat-based ale that often utilizes additional spices like coriander and orange peel. ABV: 4.5-5.5%
Commercial examples: Hoegaarden Original White Ale, Allagash White, Unibroue Blanche De Chambly, Avery White Rascal, Ommegang Witte, Harpoon UFO White
A very pale, sour, refreshing, low-alcohol wheat ale that was referred to as the "champagne of the North" by Napoleon's troops in 1809. ABV: 2.8-3.8%
Commercial examples: Bell's Oarsman, New Glarus Thumbprint Berliner Weiss, Dogfish Head Festina Pêche, Bruery Hottenroth, Bear Republic Tartare, Grand Teton Snarling Badger
A harmonious marriage of fruit and beer, some styles are brewed with actual fruit, while others utilize extracts and syrups to maximize fruit profile.
Commercial examples: Magic Hat #9 (Apricot), Abita Purple Haze (Raspberry) New Glarus Serendipity (Apples, Cranberries, Cherries), Dogfish Head Aprihop (Apricot), Unibroue Éphémère (Apple), 21st Amendment Hell Or High Watermelon
Compiled using lots of good style information from our friends at the Beer Judge Certification Program.