1. Ommegang Hennepin Farmhouse Saison (Cooperstown, NY), $8.49/25.4 oz.: Historically speaking, saison is a perfect summer beer, a Belgian style traditionally brewed in the winter to be enjoyed by farmhands during harvest months. This crisp, effervescent Hennepin pops on the palate with a flavor featuring honey, citrus, spiciness, and the earthy taste of Belgian yeasts. Drink it as cold as possible.
2. Coast HopArt IPA (North Charleston, SC) $7.69/22 oz.: HopArt is one of the brewery’s flagships, and for good reason. This hazy orange drink expertly balances the citrusy, slightly piney flavor of West Coast hops with a solid backbone of toasty, caramel malt. A slight alcohol presence is noticeable in this higher-potency brew, so enjoy in moderation and pair it with spicy foods like chicken wings, barbecue, or curry.
3. Sierra Nevada Kellerweis (Chico, CA) $1.49/12 oz.: Long known for its prowess in the pale ale category, Sierra Nevada hit a home run with this rendition of a classic German wheat beer. Skillfully showcasing the style appropriate flavors of banana and cloves, with hints of bread and bubblegum, this cloudy golden ale gives most imported examples a run for their money. Pair Kellerweis with lighter entrées like salads, sushi, and citrusy seafood dishes.
4. Full Sail Session Lager (Hood River, OR), $1.39/12 oz.: Craft beers mild enough to be enjoyed in quantity are collectively called “session beers,” and this one definitely lives up to its name. This American lager is brewed with all malt, which means that it’s a lot more flavorful than its mass-produced counterparts that use additives like corn and rice, and it offers a clean, crisp, and balanced flavor. Consider it a refined version of your standard canned fare. Pair it with just about anything, and expect the retro bottles to be a conversation starter.
5. Westbrook White Thai (Mount Pleasant, SC), $1.91/12 oz.: Westbrook Brewing Company has been churning out this local variation of the classic Belgian witbier since day one. Healthy doses of ginger, fresh lemongrass, and an unusually lemony variety of hop result in a light, refreshing brew with a truly unique flavor. This Westbrook staple is sold canned and makes an easy beach or picnic companion, but when you’re on the town, pair it with—you guessed it—Thai dishes.