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The Most Refreshing Summer Beers

Pull off the grill cover, put on a tank, and rejoice over summer’s return. The sun hangs high and lazy, its toasty rays full of promise: music festivals, rooftop parties, and coolers loaded with craft beer whose refreshing flavors are prime for the season.

Sometimes light and bright is the ticket, and traditional lagers are champions of crisp. Lush fruit is a summer staple, so watch for Wild ales infused with juicy harvests. And hops are so versatile, the wide world of India Pale Ale can always tame hot temps.

So whether it’s for a beach day, the rec kickball team, or a chill BBQ, scan our picks for the most refreshing summer beers to bring along.

  1. Summer Break IPA
  2. Hazy Little Thing IPA
  3. Summerfest Lager
  4. Sunny Little Thing Citrus Wheat Ale
  5. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  6. Cold Torpedo IPA
  7. Wild Little Thing Slightly Sour Ale

Summer Break IPA

A delicious cannonball of hops.

Available April–June

Two friends toasting cans of Summer Break IPA

At just 4.6% ABV, Summer Break is brewed for long days of play — whether that’s launching off the rope swing or lounging by the pool. And for all its tropical, juicy notes from six hop varieties, Summer Break backs it up with body — not an easy task for a Session Hazy IPA. Complex malt character, layered with the creaminess of oats and wheat, create Summer Break’s full flavor and mouthfeel.

But it’s the hoppy splash that stands out, and our brewers were strategic with the recipe.

“We’re really looking to build in the brewhouse a very solid and very distinctly orange citrus character,” says Scott Jennings, our innovation brewmaster, “and then in the dry-hopping, we’re looking to add on top of that, for aroma, the tropical elements and a little bit of pineyness.”

Time to get outside, with Summer Break as your sidekick.

Find Summer Break

 

Hazy Little Thing IPA

Juicy & silky smooth for summer.

Available year-round

Pouring a can of Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA into a custom Hazy Little Thing glass.

Take in its hazy, golden glow. Those foggy depths are a jackpot of juicy hop flavor, like tasty bites of ripe citrus or sweet-tart slices of pineapple.

And while Hazy IPAs can be easy drinking, their creation is rather complex. With Hazy Little Thing, our brewers obsess over the hops and malt. That’s because certain grains — picked for their proteins, beta-glucans, and other beer-nerdy specs — interact with hop compounds called polyphenols to help generate that smooth and fruity haze.

But hey, we take care of that tricky science; you just soak up the Hazy summer.

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Summerfest Lager

Your cold snap for any heat wave.

Available exclusively online to select states, while supplies last

A hand grabbing a can of Summerfest Lager from a cooler

This Czech-style lager is timed for summer’s sizzle, when all you want is a crispy champ to beat the heat. Summerfest is golden bright, balancing delicate yet complex malt flavor alongside spicy, floral hops. Hints of lemon zest lead into a dry finish, and the sessionable 5% ABV invites another round.

Live near our breweries? Hit the Gift Shops. Otherwise, you can only score Summerfest online, but check the list of eligible states. (Hey, it’s a legal thing we can’t control. We’d ship it everywhere if we could!)

Buy Summerfest Now

 

Sunny Little Thing Citrus Wheat Ale

Walking on sunshine, sipping on citrus.

Available year-round

A can and full glass of Sunny Little Thing in front of a crate of oranges

It debuted in the Little Things Party Pack, but Sunny Little Thing just landed in solo six-packs. At 5% ABV, this big ball of citrus shines with radiant notes of orange, grapefruit and tangerine. And with virtually no bitterness, there’s no shade on your parade. While plenty of oats and wheat create a smooth finish, there’s hardly a dash of hops, allowing the fruit character to leap forward.

So throw on your shades, open a beer, and make Sunny season official.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

It tastes like summer camping, basically.

Available year-round

A hand holding a can of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, looking out from a camping tent

When he launched Sierra Nevada on “glorified home brewery equipment,” founder Ken Grossman knew he wanted to feature exclusively American ingredients in his flagship Pale Ale. But at the time, American hops fell short — until a newbie changed everything.

“Cascade came out and it was just different than all the rest of them,” Ken says. “We wanted unique and distinctive, and so the Cascade fit that bill.”

Cascade’s famed aroma of pine, citrus and spice define Pale Ale, which promptly started the American craft beer revolution. Almost a half-century later, Pale Ale remains the gold standard for the style, balancing caramel malt and bold hops, and having a magnetic pull toward coolers destined for outdoor adventure. Pitch the tent, then reach for Pale Ale.

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Cold Torpedo IPA

Our first Cold IPA to crush hot days.

Available exclusively in the Hoppy Sampler pack

A full glass of Sierra Nevada Cold Torpedo next to its bottle

An exclusive Hoppy Sampler release you won’t find anywhere else, Cold Torpedo hits a steep 7% ABV yet it drinks crazy crisp. That’s because the Cold IPA brewing process keeps the malt character light and bright, letting hops run the show.

Lager yeast, fermented warmer than usual, gives Cold Torpedo its super clean body — the launchpad for explosive hop flavors and aromas from juicy varieties like Motueka and El Dorado. When it’s scorcher outside, take a Cold Torpedo plunge of pine, citrus, tropical fruit, and even hints of watermelon.

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Wild Little Thing Slightly Sour Ale

Fruit, flowers & lip-smacking flavor.

Available year-round

A can and pint glass of Wild Little Thing Slightly Sour Ale

Brewed to be a slightly sour beer, Wild Little Thing has that little smack of tartness that’s pure summertime refreshment. What’s more, we drop in guava, hibiscus, and strawberry to give Wild its fruity-sweet depth and amazing pop of color. And if you want to mix it up at the next cookout, make your friends some Wild Little Pink Lemonade and watch their heads explode — yup, that good.

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