Raleigh, N.C. — We’re just about in the middle of summer and have seen the temperatures hit the upper nineties. When it’s hot out there, you want to enjoy something that’s going to quench your thirst and engage your senses. Craft beer is so great that you just don’t drink the beer, you experience it. The color, aroma, flavor, mouthfeel – all of them come together like no other to really stimulate your senses.
There are so many great breweries in the area, and we recommend you discover all of them. We’ve assembled a list of summer beers to seek out and enjoy when it’s hot and sunny or even when the rain is pounding and has you trapped indoors.
Since this brewery ONLY brews seasonal beers, we’ll start off with Mystery Brewing’s Papa Bois, a citrus foreign extra stout. While you may say that stouts are for the cooler times of the year, this beer follows a tradition in the Caribbean of producing sweet, fruity stouts that are delicious and refreshing in hot weather.
When you’re looking for something light and refreshing, you definitely want to grab a Kölsch. This is a traditional German ale that’s warm fermented and then lagered (conditioned in cold temperatures). Three in the area to seek out are White Street Brewing’s Kölsch-style Ale, Big Boss Brewing’s Angry Angel Kölsch and Carolina Brewery’s Sky Blue Golden Ale.
Summer means baseball! The best place to catch a game and enjoy great craft beer is at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The ballpark is now home to the Bull Durham Beer Company. They offer two summer beers to enjoy during the game - the Lollygagger Kölschand the Water Tower Wheat. Both are sessionable beers coming in at less that 5 percent ABV and totally refreshing. Make sure you check out how they fill the cups from the bottom!
Seasonal fruits play a part in the summer beer experience. What’s summer without watermelon?? Deep River Brewing has you covered with their Double D’s Watermelon Lager. Looking for some berries? Check out White Rabbit Brewing’s White Knight Blackberry Ale, Top of the Hill’s Blueridge Blueberry Wheat, Bombshell Beer’s Raspberry Orange Wheat Ale and Brueprint’s Red, White and Brue Hefeweisen with blueberries and strawberries.
Just because it’s hot out doesn’t mean you don’t want more heat! How about Draft Line Brewing’s One Hot Blond Ale. Prepare yourself for a bit of malt smokiness to balance out the chipotle and ghost peppers but it delivers refreshing flavor, body as well as the heat.
Want a dose of summer hoppiness? Check out Raleigh Brewing’s Dear Ol’ Dixie Pale Ale. Look for a hop blast with notes of tangerines, mangoes, peaches and sweet pine with a little toasty malt backbone. Definitely a summer hop treat!
Finally, this is Carolina Brewing Company’s 20th Anniversary and they’ve got their Anniversary Belgian IPA. They’ve delivered a citrusy IPA with a touch of lemon and used a Belgian yeast to add the fruit esters of banana and clove plus a little bit of peppery spice that all together will knock your socks off.
We know there’s a lot of local craft beer out there to explore and these are just a few to experience the spirit of the summer months!
Dave Tollefsen and Glenn Cutler are regular guys living in central North Carolina with their families who share a love for craft beer and homebrewing. They work together as the NCBeerGuys. They can be found online promoting North Carolina craft beer, providing information about the folks who produce local beer and writing about beer adventures, activities and events across North Carolina.