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In rebuttal to what has been previously reported on this site, the IPA is not the drink of choice for summer. Now, this isn’t an IPA hit piece by any means. The India Pale Ale is the primary driver behind craft beer’s popularity and is a great fit for any season, regardless of the temperature or setting. I love everything about a well-crafted IPA. But, it’s different in summer. While an IPA can be enjoyed year-round, your array of summer favorites come with a pretty clear late May to early September shelf life. Much like a stout is best enjoyed in sweatpants and snowy conditions, the introduction of blue skies and sunny temps means that you can finally release the shackles of winter and enjoy several lighter beers on your patio, boat, or beach of choice. And while the IPA should be in your cooler this summer, it shouldn’t be the star of the show.
For starters, the IPAs usual 6-8% ABV means that drinking more than four of these days in rapid progression on a steaming summer day means a pending brown out and an early bedtime. The heavy hop profile and malt body of a typical IPA means that they’re hard to drink in massive gulps and even harder to drink several in rapid succession. IPAs are typically more savory than sippable, which leads to them sitting in the sun for much longer than your typical Miller Lite. No one likes a lukewarm beer, regardless of how good it might taste. Session IPAs are a good alternative given their lower alcohol content, but if you’re really looking for two new additions to any day drinking session that aren’t named Miller or Bud Light, I suggest you opt for a Mexican Lager or Gose.
Over two-thirds of all beer imported to the U.S. comes from Mexico, and for good reason. But quality Mexican lagers go much deeper than the skunky taste of Corona. I’m partial to Tecate, Modelo Especial, and Pacifico (although technically a pilsner). Served cold, with a bit of salt, or with a lime in the glass, these three Mexican beers are a perfect companion to any summer drinking session. They offer the crisp refreshness that you’d expect from a typical American lager with a bit more bite and body. Plus, all three come in a variety of canned options, so you can travel with them wherever your vacation is headed. Oh, and they’re typically cheaper than a standard IPA order too.
The Gose might be a newer style to many craft beer drinkers, but it’s flavor qualities and complexion make it a perfect addition to your summer lineup. Created in Germany, the Gose has enjoyed a solid period of growth in the States thanks to its combination of sour, saltiness, and light wheat body. It’s an instantly refreshing option that won’t fill your stomach or coat your mouth. In particular, the saltiness of the standard Gose is often its most appealing quality when it comes to summer drinking as it brightens up the drinking experience and gives each drink a refreshing burst of life. If you’re trying to find one at your local bar or liquor store, your best options are Dogfish Head’s Seaquench Ale or Sierra Nevada’s Otra Vez. You won’t be disappointed in either choice – trust me.
So, there’s my response. You may be an IPA fiend who can drink one in any condition or climate, but many people are not. If I’m sitting in a lawn chair this summer, I’m going to reach for a crisp lager or salty Gose before a Double IPA. I know I’ll be able to drink them in larger quantities and for a longer time so that I can as much sun as possible before Chicago turns into an icicle again. Cheers! .