Imagine a hot, humid summer day. The sun’s up, clouds are nowhere to be seen, and you’ve been working outside or putting your feet up in the backyard. There are plenty of ways you could cool off — but wouldn’t a frosty, refreshing beer taste good in the shade?
When the weather is sizzling, beer lovers tend to lean in to lighter, crisper-tasting styles. Some of these favourites offer a thirst-quenching bite from hops. Others beat the heat with a squeeze of tangy citrus. But no matter what they bring to the bottle, can or glass, summer brews are all refreshingly cool, laid-back and food-friendly.
Getting thirsty? We’ve lined up a selection of hot-weather beer styles that hit the mark and play well with your go-to summer eats.
You probably don’t need to be convinced that a light-bodied, refreshingly crisp beer is just the thing to beat the heat. Crowd-pleasing, food-loving and always ready for low-key relaxing, light lagers go really well with casual hot-weather dishes, like hot dogs and grilled chicken wings.
It’s kind of ironic that Josef Groll released the first batch of pilsner into the world in November 1842, considering what a great summer beer it is. Golden and light-bodied, pilsner is a type of lager that features a crisp and noticeably bitter finish: the perfect formula for quenching your thirst. Pilsners are the best with rich foods made with lots of oil — fried chicken, anyone? They’re also amazing with sausages topped with a dab of homemade spicy German mustard. (What’s the secret ingredient in the sauce? Beer, of course.)
Radlers are lagers with tangy citrus juice added to them — and they’re a no-brainer for hot days and summery meals. They’re delicious with any food that calls for a spritz of lemon, grapefruit or lime, and they make for a super juicy beer-can chicken. Dress them up with a citrus twist or wedge for extra fresh flavour.
A dose of bitter hops makes these sunset-coloured brews just as refreshing as pale lagers. But thanks to some malt sweetness, they complement the caramelization (in other words, grill marks) on food that’s fresh off the ’cue. Consider making one of these delicious bronze lagers your go-to burger beer.
Blonde, golden and cream ales, including kolsch
These palest among pale ales offer up a little malty sweetness, so they harmonize with grilled proteins that aren’t too heavy, like chicken breasts and pork chops. Some give you a whiff of lemon or grapefruit, thanks to the hops that go into the brew. And, yes, grilled fish or shrimp is a great idea with these, too.
Pale wheat beers, including hefeweizen
For a sweeter, sudsier take on refreshment, try a wheat beer. You might want to add a twist of lemon to up the tang quotient, and who are we to argue? Light wheat beers are so good with salads, especially those topped with a bit of goat cheese or halloumi. They can even go into a yummy vinaigrette. (Trust us, make extra.)
Belgian-style wheat beers, a.k.a. witbiers or white beers
Another easygoing member of the wheat beer family, Belgian-style witbier (or white beer) gives you a hint of citrus and spice. These brews typically have coriander seeds and orange peel in the recipe, so they’re outstanding with fruity desserts — or at least an orange slice garnish.