Summer time and the living is easy goes the popular notion. And while most of us continue our regular work-a-day lives, we do tend to find ourselves on vacation or just spending more time outside with a beer in our hands as the mercury rises and the sun shines down. Looking for excellent and widely available summer beers is a mission and Polk is here to give you 10 (plus) Grotto Approved Ontario Craft Beers that will be in heavy rotation in my fridge for the next few months. All are available at the LCBO and select grocery stores and while I know so many of our local breweries are cranking out great beers, I am going with the ones easiest for the majority of beer drinkers to lay their hands on. Look to your favourite Craft Brewery to see what is exclusively available in the bottle shop or online to augment this list, it's always good to expand your horizons.
Some of these are long standing classic beers and others are new releases just in time for summer. I'll stick to just one beer per brewery but there are a whole lot of amazing things out there, make your own list and have some fun! Either way, may your glass always be full and the sun always shining when you find yourself patio bound and off work!
1. Muskoka Brewery Summerweiss Tropical Wheat
Available on it`s own or in the Muskoka Summer Survival pack, this year`s Summerweiss packs a tropically hazy fruit kick that is made for outside. Loaded with passion fruit, peach and mango flavour, this 5.3% juicy wheat beer offers refreshment and a blast of citrus for those IPA lovers without the bitterness that scares away people from that style. Crossing lines and appealing to anyone who wants a treat this summer.
2. Sawdust City Brewing Little Norway Pale Lager
A lager is often the most overlooked style of beer as craft drinkers search for the latest and haziest IPA or Sour but there is most certainly a time and a place for a well made and flavourful straight up lager. Sawdust City`s Little Norway rolls in at a very crushable 4.3% and is a balanced apple, lemon grassy hoped pale lager with a touch of spice. Not boring, but rather a full flavoured, low ABV beer that will have you restocking faster than you`d think.
3. Nickel Brook Brewing Raspberry Uber
A redesigned bottle with the same great tart berry flavour on the inside. A favourite around the pool for the last few years, Nickel Brook has upped the bottle size and given us more Uber for our Patio Pints. tart and refreshing, loaded with raspberry sour and lemon notes, Uber redefined the style for so many people and will be a feature with it`s distinct red colour as the sun comes out to play.
4. Great Lakes Brewery Sunnyside Session IPA
A hit returns to fill my fridge with its boldly hopped up but low ABV presence at just the right time. A seasonal release that is consistently filling glasses and cup holders on beaches and patios all summer long. Juicy citrus notes of lemon and pineapple make this light 3.9% IPA drink bigger than it is with a solid body bringing it all together. For the hop head who wants to have a beauty day, this one is for you!
5. Beau`s All Natural Brewing Saison
A 500ml bottle of everything you love in a saison. Loaded with banana, orange peel, clove and having a most lovely white pepper coriander backend, Beau`s has a 4.7% Patio crusher that is great for BBQ and pool times. Sharing is encouraged and this bottle will make any craft beer lover smile when you bring a few to the table as the sun goes down.
6. Clifford Brewing Porter
You`ll need a dark beer sometimes and none hits all the marks like Hamilton`s own Clifford Brewing Porter does. Available at Loblaw`s stores and the LCBO, this 5.0% porter is full of dark roasted chocolate and coffee notes, Black Pale Ale. Summer needs more porters, Clifford has delivered.
7. Cowbell Brewing Shindig Huron County Lager
A beer fridge is somewhat incomplete without a few straight up lagers or ales to enjoy while doing what needs to done outside. You want a beer that is crushable and tastes like a damn beer, then grab a few of Cowbell Brewing`s Shindig Huron County Lager. As much of a house beer as you can find, this 4.2 % is ready for anyone.
8. Bench Brewing Twenty Mile Farmhouse Ale
Full of fruity banana, orange and lemon zest with just the right spicy pepper kick on the backend, the recently opened Niagara region Bench Brewing consistently hits all the marks with this one. Also available at Tim Horton's field here in Hamilton for Ti-Cat games and other events.
From a brewery that is making the best Belgian style beers this side of the Atlantic comes their very crushable Wit. A balanced approach to the style with a slightly spicy, chamomile and citrus mix that goes down refreshingly quick.
10. Side Launch Wheat
Iconic. Legendary. Damn good.
The best straight up wheat beer made in Ontario, found everywhere and it should be. Loaded banana, bubblegum, citrus with a slight spice on the finish. An anytime beer that is best served on the patio with pals.
And just because I can, here`s another 10 you should probably grab while your at it...
11. Mascot Brewing Pilsner
12. Collective Arts Liquid Arts Fest IPA
13. Silly Sir Brewing Easy Tiger Lemon Grass Ale
14. Muddy York Brewing Gaslight Helles Lager
15. Descendant's Beer Co. El Buscador Cerveza
16. Block Three Brewing King Street Saison
17. Amsterdam Brewery 3 Speed Lager
18. Black Oak Brewing Beat the Heat Wheat
19. The Collingwood Brewery Saison
Enjoy every moment you can this summer, find your grotto and pour yourself something to remember.
Have a wonderful time with friends, family and all the amazing craft beer you can find. It's party time!