Best Summer Beers

Published on July 11th 2023 by SNBC

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 summer craft beers whose refreshing flavors are prime for the season.

The best beers for summer

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

Summerfest Lager

Cool down with the best beer for hot weather.

Available April–July

Cans of Summerfest beer in an ice-filled cooler

Bust out the SPF 💯: Summer Pilsner Flavor. Soak up the rays with Summerfest’s perfect balance of malt sweetness and floral, spicy hops. It pours golden bright, serving up hints of biscuity bread and lemon zest, leading into a dry and refreshing finish. With an easygoing 5% ABV, Summerfest is your cold snap for any heat wave.

Find Summerfest


Hazy Little Thing IPA

Juicy & silky smooth, the top Hazy IPA 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 making it the most refreshing summer beer. 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, refreshing and fruity haze.

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

Find Hazy Little Thing


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.

Find Pale Ale


Crisp Little Thing Easy Drinking Lager

Summer crush? Yeah, crushing lager.

Available exclusively in the Little Things Party Pack

Hand opening a Crisp Little Thing can

Crisp Little Thing is the long-requested lager, and it’s eaaasy drinking. Premium malts and mellow hops combine for unreal balance and pure refreshment in every crisp, clean sip. It’s lowkey complex — a dash of sweetness, a flash of citrus — for irresistible flavor that’s straight up summer.

Find Crisp Little Thing


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

This big ball of citrus shines with radiant notes of orange, grapefruit, and tangerine. At just 5% ABV and with virtually no bitterness, Sunny Little Thing throws 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 great summer beer, and make Sunny season official.

Find Sunny Little Thing


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.

Find Wild Little Thing


Summer Break IPA

A delicious cannonball of hops and the best IPA for summer.

Available April–July. Exclusively in the Sierra Pack, a variety 24-pack available at club membership stores.

Two friends toasting cans of Summer Break IPA

At just 4.6% ABV, Summer Break is brewed for long days of play and easy drinking — 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 to make it the best IPA for summer.

“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.


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