SAN FRANCISCO — Summer is the season people look forward to for many reasons: vacationing, beaches, the sun, warm breezes, sitting on a porch on a summer night sipping on sweet tea and ice. For those of you in the North Bay, East Bay, and South Bay, you get to enjoy these nights. For those of us in San Francisco, we only look forward to vacations so we can leave our cold beaches. Our wind tunnels make me want to change the Seals & Crofts’ lyrics to: “Summer breeze makes me feel cold” (I actually thought those were the lyrics at first).
But this doesn’t stop us from looking forward to summer beer releases. Here are some Bay Area beers I recommend:
Anchor Brewing – Summer Wheat
This local brewery with its rich history has been brewing this summer release since 1984. Crisp and highly refreshing, this beer refreshes you with flavors abundant with wheat and is perfect for the outdoors. The Summer Wheat has gone through slight variations in the past few years but this year’s release I am most excited for two reasons! One, it is dry-hopped for the first time. And two, they are now out in cans, canned & womanned on their new canning line, keeping the dry-hopped Golding & Simcoe fresh. Perfect to take on hiking trips or chillin’ on the beach (literally). Available in 6-pack bottles and 6-pack cans.
Photo: Anchor Brewing
Anderson Valley Brewing – Summer Solstice
One of few in its style consistently made on the West Coast market, this cream ale by Anderson Valley Brewing is perfect for those wanting a light beer with a little more body to the mouth feel. The Crystal & Pale malts used in this beer give a sweet and spiced interest without intruding the drinker from quenching their thirst. Slightly dark, pale color but still great for BBQ & the outdoors. Also available in cans.
North Coast Brewing – Puck The Beer
“Refreshing” and “thirst quenching” is an understatement for this petite saison. North Coast Brewing first brewed Puck to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Now it is available in 4-packs for as low as $7.50 at some establishments! Puck has been my personal favorite light beer ever since its distribution. Super light, awesome yeast character, crisp pilsner malt, and it’s only 4 percent alcohol. Talk about slinging a saison!
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers – Metropolis Lager and Baby Daddy IPA
We finally have a lager on our list! The Metropolis is a hoppy lager that has that classic lager flavor but BOY does it have some hops going on! The list of hops used in this beer are Mosaic, Saphir, Magnum, Merkur, Hallertau, and Pacific Gem. I love the bitter finish on this beer. A great hybrid for lager lovers and IPA lovers alike.
Photo: Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
Baby Daddy is Speakeasy’s opener for their new Session 47 Series. Their aim is to make easy-drinking beers with flavor. In a way, you can think of their Metropolis Lager as the predecessor to this series. This sessionable IPA has abundance of hops that emits citrus, fruit aroma that satisfies any sweaty beer geek.
Photo: Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
I ended up showcasing 2 beers by one brewery, but it can be our little secret (shhh….we don’t want other breweries to get jealous).
Cellarmaker Brewing – Typo Pills
What!? Cellarmaker makes a lager!? A really good one, actually. The brewing team successfully makes a textbook-example of a pilsner… with a Cellarmaker enhancement, of course. Using German Pilsner malt, then hopping it with mostly German Tettnang hops with a little Styrian Celia, Motueka, and a sprinkle of Cascade. The result is, simply put: a great lager. There’s no need to go to Germany or Czech Republic anymore for a fresh, awesome pilsner. Draft only.
Iron Springs Pub & Brewery – Kent Lake Kolsch
Kölsch is another style that I’ve been into lately. A style derived from Cologne (Köln), Germany that is not too common in America. Yet we are pleasantly spoiled in the Bay Area that we can have the Kent Lake Kolsch anywhere at almost anytime. Iron Springs Brewery does not disappoint with this year-round beer. Light beer, medium body, low hops, great satisfaction. Available in 22 ounce bottles.
21st Amendment Brewery – Hell Or High Watermelon
Here’s another wheat beer that’s absolutely perfect for a warm day of hiking. The Hell Or High Watermelon is brewed with actual fresh watermelons. The watermelon is so well-balanced with the wheat that you don’t get too much of either flavors. A simple fruit beer lying at 4.9 percent alcohol. Exactly what you would want on a hot, steamy day. Available in 6-pack cans.
Almanac Beer Co. – Golden Gate Gose
I call this beer “the best of both worlds.” It’s a light wheat-based beer style and it’s a sour at a great price! One thing I appreciate about this beer is how the sourness doesn’t get in the way of the flavor, especially when it’s a unique style such as this. Gose is a style from old Germany that is characterized mainly for the added salt in the brewing process, making it surprisingly refreshing (as well as a good palate cleanser!). I highly recommend this beer when going out to Golden Gate Park, Dolores Park, or any park when the sun is out! Available in 22oz bottles.