Despite the lingering June gloom, it's going to get hot. Soon. And we will all need a cold — and preferably, good — beer. Which to choose? Squid Ink asked some of LA's beer glitterati (a mix of professional brewers, gastropub owners, consultants and home brew club enthusiasts) to reveal their favorite summer brew. As these are beer geeks, they don't tend to like single-producer commitments, so it was tough to get one premier pick out of them. Most offered two or more beers, added conditions of consumption (food or no food?), or waxed on in beer speak (does your favorite beer have that “lactic quality”?). Nonetheless they picked some damn good beers.
Notably, no IPAs are on the list, perhaps the obvious SoCal summer choice. And one beer, the Festina Pêche from Dogfish Head, got two votes. This summer you can find it (while it lasts) at Simmzy's, Library Alehouse and at many local retailers that stock specialty beers.
Get their other picks after the jump.
This year I'm really enjoying that Dogfish Head Festina Pêche. They call it a “neo-BerlinerWeiss”, and it's faintly tart but not nearly as much as might be expected. The lactic quality from fermentation blends well with the rich, fruity character of peach puree, then finishes tart and dry making it an easy quaff.
For something crisp and refreshing, you can't do any better than sour beer. Gueuze, or other dry Lambics. They're very tart, and usually take a little getting used to, but they're great on a hot day and go perfectly with seafood like fresh oysters. Grab what you can from the small Belgian brewery Cantillon [Squid Ink note: It can be difficult to find locally]. A bit more accessible is Lindemans' Cuvée René. This is one of the most overlooked examples of Gueuze (aged lambic), and it's great for the price and the style.
Nathalie Balandran, Founder of Pacific Gravity Ladies Homebrew Club
My favorite summer beers would have to be the Festina Pêche from Dogfish Head and Drakes 1500 Pale Ale. I love both because they're on the lighter side but still have a huge flavor profile. The Festina is a style that's hardly ever done. I love the tart, fresh fruit flavor. Drakes 1500 is full of fresh citrus hop flavor but is still very refreshing. [Squid Ink note: Drakes 1500 is often available at Father's Office in Culver City.]
Jason Bernstein, owner of The Golden State
Gosh. I'm really, really divided between two of them. The Bruery's Hottenroth Berliner Weisse has great complexity despite its lightness. It's slightly sour too, which makes it refreshing. But Saison Dupont pairs up with probably every summer food imaginable. So it's Hottenroth by itself — Saison Dupont with meals. [Squid Ink note: The Bruery's beers are often available in these bars and shops (though they are seasonal); Saison Dupont is more widely available.]
Lee Bakofsky, co-founder of Eastside Brewers homebrew club
I'm really all IPA'd out. So I'd do Hangar 24's Altbier, possibly a little hoppy with regard to style but it has a beautiful malt profile. And Eagle Rock's Solidarity, the dark mild. [Squid Ink note: Hanger 24 Albier is available at the brewery in Redlands and well-stocked craft beer-friendly bars, ditto for Eagle Rock's Solidarity — see list of retailers and bars.]
Patrick Rue, founder and brewer, The Bruery
My favorite beer in the summer would have to be Duvel. It's refreshing and light, yet it will sneak up on you. It has some commonalities to another great summer beer style– Czech pilsner. It shares a similar crisp, floral quality but has a pear-like fruit note that a pilsner won't have. It goes great with light salads, creamy goat cheese, and works well with grilled burgers and sausages. [Squid Ink note: Duvel is pretty easy to find.]