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Summer beer’s last hurrah


Well, it’s finally happened. After a season of record heat, droughts and wildfires—and, I imagine, a few trips to the pool, some decently grilled steaks and a Hollywood blockbuster, or two—summer is about to come to its official conclusion. We’ve got one more weekend to kick back, fire up the grill and toss back some beers before it’s time to start unpacking our cold weather clothes from storage. For summer’s last hurrah, I’m packing up a cooler of some recent favorites that pair oh-so-well with sunshine.

White Birch Berliner Weisse
This August release is the New Hampshire brewery’s take on the clean, tart German wheat beer—a style that’s definitely grown in popularity over the last year or so. Most examples are pretty tart, prompting some to blend in sugary syrups. What I love about this particular example is its robust malt presence, which adds just enough cushion and sweetness to balance out the beer’s tartness and barnyard notes. But that fantastic lactic twinge is still there, creating an exceptionally clean, refreshing finish.

Ale Industries Orange Shush
A hybrid witbier, Orange Shush blends classic orange peel, coriander and chamomile with English ale yeast. The result is soft, citrusy and perfect for sipping poolside. Floral orange scents blend with grainy malts for a delicate aroma; on the tongue, the beer’s grains and orange peel are refreshingly sharp, while an orange blossom note adds a delicious accent to the swallow. Bonus: the California brewery offers this year-round.

Goose Island Sophie
Each year, Goose Island knocks it out of the park with this take on a Brett-spiked Belgian farmhouse ale. It’s incredibly elegant. Both the aroma and flavor profile blend delicate grains with bubblegum, barnyard funk, bright lemon and wonderful floral notes. It’s light on the tongue, deeply complex and undeniably refreshing.

Boulevard 80-Acre
When done right—like this beer—there’s something incredibly pleasurable about the combination of citrusy hops and wheat. Punchy and refreshing, this IPA/wheat beer mash-up gives you the dynamic mouthfeel of a wheat beer, but amps it up with hoppy bitterness and a big dose of lemon and orange. Oh, and it’s also Boulevard’s newest year-round release.

What beers are you tossing back this holiday weekend?


Chris Staten is DRAFT’s beer editor. Follow him on Twitter at @DRAFTbeereditor and email him at

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