When you’re drinking beer in the summer, you want a brew that goes down easy, but still has flavor. You can do better than a watered down Miller Lite, but you’re also not trying to drink a stout or a supper dank IPA. While there is no clear definition for a "summer beer," anything refreshing and not too heavy will do the trick. Pilsners, sessionable, citrusy IPAs, saisons, fruit-infused lagers and sours are all seasonably appropriate. While you’re picking out a pour, why not support one of New York’s local breweries? We picked five locally-brewed craft beers, from special seasonal releases, to year-round brews that hit the spot right now, to put on your summer drinking list.
Don’t let the name fool you: it may be an IPA, but it balances its hoppiness with the refreshing, upbeat notes of a wheaty Belgian White. It’s the flagship beer of the Bushwick-based brewery, and it certainly goes down easy. In bottle-form, it has a wide circulation on the shelves, and on draft, you can find it at these bars.
Fans of sour beer will want to try out this tart offering from Astoria’s SingleCut Brewery. The sour is nicely complemented by the herbal and flowery hibiscus notes, and it’s also infused with black currant, which lends a little bitterness to it. The wheat malt makes it just sweet and dry enough. Find it on draft at their tap room and at select bars (see the most up-to-date listings at Beer Menu).
This dry, grassy pour is perfect for a park day. Brewed at East Williamsburg’s War Flag Brewery, it’s serious business: According to the brewery, they created it in order to “bring back the amazing American flavor lost over the last half century.” Whoa. Drink it here and decide if you think they’ve succeeded! The star-spangled snake on the label will scare you into thinking straight.
Threes Brewing in Gowanus is known for their saisons — they even host an annual Saison Day in celebration each spring. While they have a Table Beer saison that's more traditional, their Wandering Bine adds a bit more flavorwise, balancing fruit (green apple notes) and funk in a medium-bodied brew that’s easy to drink, but never boring. Currently found here.
This craft brewery may be based out of The End, but you’ll find their cans stocked at grocery stores and bodegas, and on tap at bars throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. Their newest release, the watermelon session ale, is an American IPA with a good balance of hops and fruit. which makes for easy, flavorful drinking. (The watermelon is subtle, avoiding that saccharine, candy taste that it can in some fruity brews.) Bonus: the can is a millennial pink that will look great on a sandy beach, and on Instagram, if you must. If you try to steer clear of any fruit in your beer, try their Summer Ale, a refreshing, malty/wheaty blend available from March through August. Find the Watermelon Session Ale on tap here.