Favorite Austin Summer Beers – 2018 Can Edition
As if we needed an excuse to grab a cold beer, Texas heat is certainly a good one. When the mercury climbs we all scramble for the water. Whether it’s a river, a lake, a beach getaway or your neighborhood pool, a well-stocked cooler is just as important as that sunscreen.
The things I look for in beers these occasions are pretty standard:
Be sessionable – I’m going to want a lot of refreshment in the heat. I don’t necessarily want to be a lot of drunk. Low ABV is a must for me.
Not heavy – Seems obvious, but again, I’m wanting to be refreshed and not bogged down. Save those beers for a few months from now when the sweaters and jackets make their return. I’m looking at you Mr. Porter, and your Oatmeal Stout buddy.
All cans – Because most places with water frown upon glass containers. Nobody likes cut feet.
Since I just took a mini vacation to a Gulf Coast beach, I brought Austin beers with me…to share…kind of. I actually brought nine different beers, but cut it down to six for this post since there were repeats of breweries. Besides, who rolls with a 9-pack? And in a city full of home run hitting brewers, I probably could have filled my entire SUV with amazing, thirst quenching goodness, but these are the ones I actually brought:
ABGB INDUSTRY – ABV 4.9% – Okay, so maybe one or two of the cans in this 6-pack are crowlers, but this is absolutely one of my favorite beers. I’m not alone on this one by any means. With a GABF gold medal and having recently been named #1 ranked by Paste Magazine in a blind tasting of 134 Pilsners, it’s safe to say that they have fans. This beer sings refreshment to me with its floral nose and crisp finish. You can taste the perfection of the process. It’s simply immaculate. How lucky we are to have this right in our backyard!
LIVE OAK PILZ – ABV 4.7% – If you’re going to have a German Pils, then you might as well have her Czech-style sister. This is another world class Pilsner brewed here, and we thank the beer gods for her. You could put almost any of Live Oak’s beers in a lovely summer pic-a-nic basket and not go wrong. Since I almost always have this one in my fridge, it is the one that got to go on vacation with me.
ADELBERT’S LEMON RYE MOSAIC PALE ALE – ABV 4.5% – When I heard about this one, I actually didn’t think I would like it. Rarely have I been so happy to be wrong! The offbeat mix of subtle spicy rye, tart lemony citrus, with the piney and tropical fruit flavors imparted by the Mosaic that it is generously dry hopped with make for a very interesting and completely crushable hot weather beer. As said by Sarah Haney, General Manager of Adelbert’s, “Lemon Rye Mosaic Pale is awesome for the water! It’s perfect for these crazy hot days we’re having. The hints of lemon and subtle bitterness balance out perfectly resulting in a beer that is both flavorful and refreshing! And at 4.5%, you can still have several and keep yourself afloat!”
CELIS WHITE – ABV 4.9% – I absolutely love that we have the legacy, namesake, and family of the man who was responsible for saving the awesome Belgian Wit style from extinction as a part of our beer community. It is the epitome of the style, a true classic. It has citrus and spice and everything nice. Why would I include this one? How could I not?
ST ELMO’S CARL KÖLSCH – 4.6% ABV – Oh boy do I love a good Kölsch! It’s an ale that is a lot like a lager, or like a lager that is actually an ale. Either way, this is one of St Elmo’s flagship beers made with their house yeast strain and it rocks. They were recently named Brewery of the Year at the 2018 Tastemaker Awards. I particularly enjoy their beers and their taproom, so with this being the other crowler in the bunch, I definitely didn’t mind going in to get it. And you have to love using regular people names for the beers. What do you call this beer? Carl. No, not who made it, what do you call it? Still Carl. Perfect! Cheers Carl, I’m drinking you.
BLUE OWL LITTLE GOSE – 3.8% ABV – A little acidic tartness has always been extremely enjoyable and refreshing to me. According to Jeff Young, owner and head brewer, “this series falls in line with the whole concept here at Blue Owl, sour beers are refreshing when it’s hot, and we live in Austin!” This series has three beers that are only released in the summer. The first, which is the one that I brought to the beach, featured navel oranges and hand-picked Thai basil and really fit the bill for hours in the sun. The second of the line was a collaboration with Kemuri Tatsu-ya where they smoked the limes that added another layer of tartness along with a very pleasant smoky flavor. The third, which was released on the Fourth of July, features mango. Jeff told me that “these are all reminiscent of summer cocktails. The orange and basil is like a gin drink, the smoked lime is like a cooling mezcal drink, and the mango is inspired by a tiki-style daquiri”. They are all delicious! The mango is still available, and if you’re lucky, you might able to find the lime. Go ahead and get them both.
So go brave the heat, get wet somewhere, and enjoy these awesome beers!
James Lipari is an avid homebrewer, Certified Cicerone, and lover of all things beer. You’ll likely see him in taprooms, brewpubs, and beer bars here and across the country. You can follow him on Instagram @beerlovesjames