There’s no better way to spend a fine summer afternoon than relaxing by the pool, perhaps with some meat sizzling on the grill. A frosty mug of beer puts the finishing touches on these good times. Here are a few brews that are particularly well-suited to those sunny days by the pool:

Steigl Radler Zitrone
Steigl Radler Zitrone is an Austrian classic consisting of beer mixed with lemon soda. The tall bottles may look huge in comparison to standard 12-ounce bottles, but it’s only 2.5 percent alcohol by volume. The taste is sweet and tart with the floral aromas of beer. This brew would be excellent to serve alongside sauerkraut and grilled bratwurst.

Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy
Leinenkugel’s take on the beer-and-lemon combination is the Summer Shandy. The aroma of lemon is much stronger than the taste; many beer drinkers find that it strikes the perfect balance between beer and fruit flavor. The bold flavors of lemon and wheat beer would go together nicely with a plate of saucy barbecued ribs.

Negra Modelo
A Vienna-style lager from Mexico may sound unusual, but Negra Modelo is a very pleasant beer to sip while catching some rays by the pool. It appears very dark when poured in a glass, almost like a porter or stout. The light and malty taste is a sharp contrast to its color. Earthy notes of nuts and toffee confer a unique flavor profile. Enjoy it alongside classic Mexican cookout foods like fajitas and carne asada.

Hell or High Watermelon
This esoteric offering from 21st Amendment Brewery is unique in many ways. It’s sold in cans, which is unusual for a craft beer. Pairing fruit flavorings with beer is common, but watermelon beer is a new frontier. This wheat beer blends well with the watermelon flavor, which is pronounced yet not overpowering. This results in a very light, crisp brew that is truly an excellent summer beer.

Leffe Blonde
Leffe Blonde is a macro-brewed Belgian pale ale that tastes like a microbrew. The cloudy beer has a strong floral aroma with pronounced notes of wheat, cereal and banana bread. The thick head has good retention and laces prodigiously. It’s rare to find a mass-produced beer with craft brew quality that is still cheap enough to be an “everyday” beer, but Leffe Blonde fits the bill.

When you’re having some poolside fun in the sun this summer, try some of these brews to elevate your day from good to perfect. They provide a great complement to grilled food and a relief from the hot weather. Please remember to always drink responsibly.

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Wendy Abreu
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