Bellwethr Magazine

6 Dog-Day Drafts

The best craft brews to quench your August thirst.

WORDS BY Donato DiRenzo // ART BY MEI WANG

From a crisp IPA to a malty cream ale, there’s nothing like discovering a new favorite craft beer. A 2013 study on craft beer consumption from Mintel Group revealed 45 percent of respondents would try more craft beer if they knew more. So in this last blast of summer, here are a few thirst-quenching alternatives to savor from microbreweries across the country.

1. All Day IPA

Brewery: Founders Brewing Company
Location: Grand Rapids, Mich.
Type: Session IPA
ABV: 4.7%
Taste: The flavor of an IPA without the bite, weight, or overwhelming strength. Crisp, refreshing, and surprisingly smooth.
Occasion: Great summer alternative for IPA lovers, but any respectable beer drinker will appreciate this session as a reward after a hot day of yard work or as a sunbathing companion. Anytime, anywhere, with anything.

2. Hefeweizen

Brewery: Mission Brewery
Location: San Diego
Type: Bavarian Hefeweizen
ABV: 5.3%
Taste: Distinct banana flavor. Sweet and heavier than most summer styles.
Occasion: With its fruity aftertaste, this makes for a great after-dinner dessert beer, perfect for watching the sunset from the back patio.

3. Gnomegang

Brewery: Ommegang
Location: Cooperstown, N.Y.
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
ABV: 9.5%
Heads Up: If you consider Budweiser “heavy,” you may not be ready for this enchanting option.
Taste: A complex, strong ale brewed with real Belgian yeast. Bold and powerful, yet sweet and fruity in flavor with a strong, yeasty kick.
Occasion: Instead of wine, try this with your favorite cheese (we suggest goat) and cracker platter for your next date night. Even better: Grab the platter on a clear, cool summer night and find a nice spot to sip and stargaze. Be careful, though. At 9.5 percent ABV, you may quickly find yourself on a planet of your own.

4. SummerBright Ale

Brewery: Breckenridge Brewery
Location: Denver
Type: Golden Ale
ABV: 4.5%
Taste: What comes to most people’s minds when they think of a summer-style beer — fruity and citrusy with lemon and orange flavors.
Occasion: Very light wheat properties make this beer easy to drink even on the hottest days. Try it with heavier foods such as burgers and hot dogs.

5. White Thai

Brewery: Westbrook Brewing Co.
Location: Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Type: Belgian witbier with an Asian twist
ABV: 5%
Taste: If you’re looking for something a little different, this has a unique, sweet-spicy zing to it. The use of a distinct Japanese hop variety helps elicit the lemon, citrus, and slight dill flavor.
Occasion: You can’t grill every day. Take a break from from cooking on busy evenings and order Chinese food. This beer was crafted with an Asian-cuisine pairing in mind.
Bonus: One of the rare crafts that comes in a can, making it convenient to throw in a bag or cooler.

6. Summer Solstice

Brewery: Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Location: Boonville, Calif.
Type: Cream Ale
ABV: 5%
Taste: Not your typical summer style. Malty, creamy, and subtle caramel flavors make for an extremely light and drinkable brew.
Occasion: Its versatility makes this beer good for fireside chats, camping trips, or mountain hikes.
Even better: Pour it over a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream for an extra chilly treat or grab some friends and experiment with your own beer-cream float concoctions.

Gnomegang, a complex, strong ale brewed with real Belgian yeast. PHOTO BY MEI WANG.
Gnomegang, a complex, strong ale brewed with real Belgian yeast. PHOTO BY MEI WANG.
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Hefeweizen: distinct banana flavor. PHOTO BY MEI WANG.
Hefeweizen: distinct banana flavor. PHOTO BY MEI WANG.
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White Tai: This beer was crafted with an Asian cuisine pairing in mind. PHOTO BY MEI WANG.
White Tai: This beer was crafted with an Asian cuisine pairing in mind. PHOTO BY MEI WANG.
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SummerBright Ale: fruity and citrusy with lemon and orange flavors. PHOTO BY MEI WANG.
SummerBright Ale: fruity and citrusy with lemon and orange flavors. PHOTO BY MEI WANG.
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All Day IPA, a great summer alternative for IPA lovers. PHOTO BY MEI WANG.
All Day IPA, a great summer alternative for IPA lovers. PHOTO BY MEI WANG.
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Summer Solstice, an extremely light and drinkable brew. PHOTO BY MEI WANG.
Summer Solstice, an extremely light and drinkable brew. PHOTO BY MEI WANG.
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