The Beer Nut: Summer brews that satisfy

Norman Miller

Summer is just a few weeks from officially being here, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the switch to lighter, refreshing beers.

Cold weather is perfect for heavy stouts and barleywines, but when it is warm or hot out, you want something a little different.

Here are a list of the top 10 beers I think you should make sure to drink this summer. Not all of them are summer seasonals, but they are all great summer beers.

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier

This is the standard by which all German-style hefeweizens should be judged. This unfiltered German wheat beer is nearly perfect. It is light and refreshing, full of flavor, and relatively easy to find in stores. It has 5.4 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), and is a perfect beer to enjoy day or night. From now until September, you’d be hard-pressed not to find at least one of these in my fridge. If you can’t find this, try this: Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse.

Brooklyn Lager

Brooklyn Lager from the Brooklyn Brewery is a personal favorite. I often grab some of this throughout the year at local liquor stores, but during the summer this refreshing pre-Prohibition-style lager (meaning all barley malt, no adjuncts), is a staple of mine. If you’re a fan of the recent craft can revolution, this is available in both cans and bottles. If you can’t find this, try this: Cape Ann Fisherman’s Brew.

Dogfish Head Festina Peche

Festina Peche is one of the most refreshing beers you will ever find. Brewed by Dogfish Head, it is a twist on the Berliner weisse, a tart German-style wheat beer. This one has the tartness, but it is also brewed with fresh peaches. That makes for a wonderful drink. And it is light at 4.5 percent ABV. If you can’t find this, try this: Dieu Du Ciel’s Solstice D’été Aux Framboises.

Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager

Sierra Nevada is one of the oldest and largest craft breweries in the country, and when they brew a beer, they brew it right. The Summerfest is a Czech-style pilsner , light, grassy hops, easy to drink. Sierra Nevada’s version is spot on for the style. I have a six-pack of this in Beatrice (my beer fridge) as I write this. If you can’t find this, try this: Lagunitas’ Czech-style Pils.

Berkshire’s Czech Pilsner

I’m on a pilsner kick lately, so there’s no surprise that two of them made this list. I’m one of the biggest fans you’ll ever find of this beer. This beer has more of a bready aroma and the citrusy hops really come through wonderfully on this beer. It is crisp, tasty and if you’re having a barbecue, you’ll want one of these in your hands to enjoy with a cheeseburger. If you can’t find this, try this: Samuel Adams Noble Pils.

Allagash White

The third wheat beer on this list, this is a Belgian-witbier. A Belgian witbier is brewed with coriander, bitter orange peel and sometimes other spices. This one is light and spiced to perfection. Take a sip and you’ll see why it is one of the best wheat beers of any style brewed in the United States. If you can’t find this, try this: Clown Shoes Clementine.

Samuel Adams Porch Rocker

This is a brand-new beer that will be hitting shelves in the next couple of weeks for the first time. It is a shandy — an ale blended with lemon flavors. I didn’t think I’d like this beer when I first poured it in my glass, but I couldn’t get enough of it. A good mark of a beer is after you finish one, you want another. I wanted several more after having one. It’s a great poolside beer. If you can’t find this, try this: Slumbrew Happy Sol.

Narragansett Summer Ale

Narragansett has the admirable quality of taking a simple style, brewing it right and not trying to make it too complex — some beers are fine simple. This blond ale is a simple beer, but simply good. It is lightly hopped with a decent body for a blond ale. Like potato chips, you’ll have trouble stopping at just one. If you can’t find this, try this: Victory Summer Love.

The Bruery’s Hottenroth

Unlike Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche, the Bruery’s Hottenroth is a traditional Berliner weiss. It is very low in alcohol, about 3.5 percent ABV, and very tart. That tartness, though, makes you want to take sip after sip after sip. If you try this beer, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. If you can’t find this, try this: White Birch Berliner Weiss.

Sixpoint Apollo

This is another new beer this year, and another wheat beer — this time a kristalweizen. A kristalweizen is a filtered hefeweizen. I haven’t had many of this style, so I don’t know how this compares to others like it, but what I do know is I love this beer (yes, I have some cooling in Beatrice right now).It is light, easy to drink and full of traditional wheat beer flavors. Nothing not to love. If you can’t find this, try this: Weihenstephaner Kristallweissbier.

If you try all of these, and still think there are better summer beers, let me know because I want to try them.

Norman Miller is a MetroWest (Mass.) Daily News staff writer. For questions, comments, suggestions or recommendations, email or call 508-626-3823. Check out The Beer Nut blog at