Good Beer Hunting

Fervent Few

The Fervent Few — Summer Drinking Memories

In Chicago, it's finally, sort of, almost getting warm, and the seasonal change has me thinking about sitting outside and having a couple of beers with friends. This week, we asked The Fervent Few what their favorite summer beer is, and to share a fond memory associated with warm-weather drinking.


Ashley Rodriguez: “I love Radlers in the summer—to me a Radler is the only beer drink that feels like it can be enjoyed when it's a million degrees out. I used to go to this bar on Mission Street in San Francisco called The Sycamore, and my friends and I would sit outside drinking Stiegls and asking each other Trivial Pursuit questions from cards that were scattered on the picnic tables out on their patio.”

Claire Bullen: “21st Amendment's Hell or High Watermelon is an all-time favorite of mine. When I was in my early 20s I lived in Fort Greene, Brooklyn—I remember hosting picnics in Fort Greene Park and bringing along cans of it, as I figured they looked so much like soda cans that no one would bust us.”

Colleen O’Sullivan: “Deschutes’ Twilight. Couldn't wait for it to come out every summer when I used to live in Bend, Oregon. It meant long afternoons and nights with friends on the porch, maybe a cornhole game going in the yard and, most definitely, good times.”

Jim Plachy: “This might sound ridiculous, but for me it’s Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout. There have been plenty of times when a summer gathering I’ve attended has included Bourbon County. Sipping on a barrel-aged Stout, usually with someone who’s never had anything like it before, is a good time. That said, in the last year or so, my summer go-to has been Solemn Oath’s Lü Kölsch. Being able to put a local brewery’s beer in the cooler—and it tastes like beer, and everyone is enjoying it—is what summer gatherings are all about.”

Ian Davis: “My all-time favorite summer beer is a beer that I cannot get in my home state of Ohio. Westbrook Gose (and its variants) has a special place in my heart. Each year for the past four years, my wife and I have spent a week together in the Carolinas, and that is the first beer I drink, and the number-one beer I bring back home to share with friends. It represents such a relaxing and fun time, and it’s great to see how someone reacts to it the first time. I’m lucky that I’ll be going to Westbrook for the first time this year, and I can’t wait to have it at the source.”

Kate Nolan: “Count me among the Radler fans, but I also have a few location-dependent choices. On a boat = Ginger Shandy. On my balcony = Shiner’s Ruby Redbird. In a bar = Guinness or Founders’ All Day IPA.”

Matthew Curtis: “A couple of beers stand out for me. The first is Zwei Brewing’s Pilsner. Whenever I get to spend a summer out in Fort Collins, it’s an immediate go-to for me: dry, crisp and with all of that green, herbaceous, noble-hop character that makes this style so appealing. Zwei is a real under-the-radar Colorado brewery, too, and they’re making some of the best Lagers in the state, for my money. Other than that, it’s gotta be Saison Dupont, in the 750ml green glass bottle. Preferably enjoyed sitting in the sun outside a Brussels cafe.”

Manny Gumina: “As a fan of hops, low ABV beers, and day drinking, I turn to Founders’ All Day IPA in the summer. This beer is great at a lake, music festival, camping trip, and during any other outdoor activity. It comes in a 15-pack, which is so convenient when entertaining others. Whenever I head to a buddy's cabin in the summer, this is the beer I bring.”

Andrés Muñoz: “Harpoon's Camp Wannamango. I first had it the first year they brewed it, and it was offered at Fenway Park. It was the first time I really thought about pairing a beer to an experience. 10/10 would recommend if they still sell it at Fenway Park.”

Bryan Arndt: “Boulevard’s Ginger Lemon Radler all summer long—especially if it’s in the parking lot before a Sporting KC game.”

John Gross: “Mushy alert! I once snuck in a tote bag full of Brooklyn Summer Ales into a movie theater while hanging out with a nice friend of a friend for the first time. Yadda yadda yadda, we just celebrated our third wedding anniversary. Every summer, the fridge remains stocked with baby-blue cans of these sentimental English pale ale jams!”

Casey Street: “Lately I've really enjoyed Hardywood Park's Richmond Lager as a summer beer. They sell it in the shorter bottles that resemble Red Stripe—and Red Stripe demands to be drunk on the beach—so Richmond Lager is a great stand-in. This is the beer you want to drink on your porch after a long, hot day. Generally, it's a beer I like to have on hand at summer parties in place of Big Beer standards. The throwback imagery on the bottle just brings you back to the good old days.”

Mat: “Sierra Nevada’s Summerfest. Probably around 2010, this 5% beauty is what cemented my adoration for Czech Pilsners. I also distinctly remember being completely confused as to what the hell a Bohemian Pilsner was exactly. I thought the word ‘Bohemian’ was solely reserved for non-conformists and rhapsodies. So, I looked up the difference between Bohemian Pilsners and German Pilsners. And, then the difference between American Pilsners, German Pilsners, and Bohemian Pilsners. And on and on. Then, my tiny, Lager-loving brain melted.”

Patrick Guo: “I don’t have a ‘favorite summer beer,’ per se. I drink all kinds of beer all summer long. All are enjoyable. But I still remember my favorite summer drinking experience. It was a long hiking day. After a seven-hour hike, I opened a bottle of Batch’s Just Beer. So refreshing, so crisp, so good.”

Paige Latham Didora: “One favorite is Anderson Valley’s Gose (and its variations). We don't get them in Minnesota, but they come to Wisconsin. I drive to get cans. I remember first trying one with my family in Monterey, California—we had gone to what we thought was a brewery, but it was really a very misleadingly named restaurant. Luckily they had the blood orange version there, and suddenly I didn't care if the restaurant didn't make beer. It was amazing.”

Lana Svitankova: “Gose is a beer for summer, especially after an enjoyable and exhausting run. I love sours both simple and complex, so I can't say I drink more of them in summer than at any other point in the year. But honestly, I actually don't do seasons—I crave various flavors all year long, so I appreciate a boozy and full-bodied Imperial Stout on a lazy summer evening or a Barleywine at dusk in front of a bonfire. So long as it's a nice, balanced beer, bring it on, no matter the style.”

Doreen Joy Barber: “From my time back in the U.S., I really loved Colette from Great Divide. It was perfect for the hot, sticky summers in Orlando. Here in the U.K., my summer go-to has mainly been Lager. Augustiner Helles is a favorite, but from British brewers, we’re talkin’ Lost and Grounded’s Keller Pils.”

What’s your favorite summer beer? Join The Fervent Few and let’s crack one open together in our community forum!

Hosted by Jim Plachy