By Caroline Newman
Summertime blues? More like summertime brews. The discerning adult’s guide to the best Missouri beers to enjoy this summer.
Ahh, summer. The most celebrated of seasons. Summer means different things to different people, but there’s one vital summertime ingredient I think we can all agree on: day-drinking. Day-drinking on your roof. Day-drinking at the river. Day-drinking surreptitiously in your summer classes (ok, don’t actually do this).
But what should you drink? Beer. Duh. Dubbed “the cause of- and solution to- all of life’s problems” by Homer Simpson, beer is the perfect beverage. You can pair it with literally anything, from McDoubles to pizza, from heartbreak to joy. But what should you drink, specifically? When should you drink it? Luckily, you have this handy-dandy guide, written by the Miner’s resident beer expert (seriously, I had to take a test).
- Contact High (4 Hands Brewing, Saint Louis). This is, perhaps, my favorite beer of all time. Dry-hopped with orange zest, this refreshing spring/summer seasonal is delicious. Literal joy in a can. 4 Hands is even coming out with a lime variant, which is cause for extra celebration. Where to drink it: Your front porch, your back porch, literally anywhere.. When to drink it: Morning, noon, and night.
- Thorn & Heat (Public House Brewery, Rolla). Just in case anyone was unaware- Rolla has a brewery. One of the best breweries in the state, in fact (I might be biased). Public House’s beloved Strawberry Wheat seasonal is back for 2016, and if you haven’t tried it, you should. Sweet, but not overwhelmingly fruity. Complex, but not too hoppy. This one’s a keeper. Where to drink it: At the pub! When to drink it: While enjoying a sandwich and some live music.
- Yakima Wheat (Schlafly, Saint Louis). This easy-drinking wheat ale is helping make America great again- all of the hops come from the Pacific Northwest. Easy to drink and low in alcohol, this seasonal release is an excellent introduction to the world of canned craft beers. Where to drink it: On the river. When to drink it: On a lazy Sunday afternoon float.
- Suburban Beverage (Perennial Artisan Ales, Saint Louis). When most beer geeks think of Perennial, they think big stouts like Abraxas or 17- but their sours and goses, like Suburban Beverage, are just as delicious. Traditionally, a gose (go-suh) is identified by flavors of salt and coriander, and those are certainly present in Suburban Beverage, but this 4.2% delight also features key lime, orange peel, and lemon flavors. This is a bottle best shared with good friends. Where to drink it: At home, with all the windows open. When to drink it: On a Tuesday evening at sunset, while enjoying pork tacos and listening to Wilco’s “Sky Blue Sky” on vinyl.
- Fantasyland (Urban Chestnut, Saint Louis). This copper-colored hop explosion is perfect for devoted IPA fanatics. A delicious beast coming in at 6.5%, Fantasyland is excellent year-round, but especially enjoyable during warm weather. Where to drink it: At an outdoor concert. When to drink it: When the stars are at their brightest.
- Wheach (O’Fallon Brewery, O’Fallon). In addition to having the cutest beer label of all time, Wheach is a perfectly balanced blend of wheat and peach. Summertime is the best time to enjoy wheat beers, and this is one of the finest. My recommendation: Pour yourself a frosty glass of Wheach and add in a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Where to drink it: On a rooftop, perhaps? When to drink it: After a long hike with friends.
- Ginger Shandy (McCoy’s, Kansas City). The shandy, a blend of lemonade and beer, is indisputably the easiest way to keep a day-drinking marathon going well into the evening. McCoy’s Ginger Shandy is delicious and light, with a ginger bite that keeps you coming back for more. Where to drink it: At the Foundry! When to drink it: During brunch with friends after a long night out exploring KC.
- 80 Acre (Boulevard, Kansas City). This Cascade-hopped wheat beer is one of my favorites. There’s a lot of hops on the nose, but it’s not ultra-bitter, instead letting the wheat flavor shine through. Where to drink it: At home on your couch or even at the Locker Room. When to drink it: While watching a Royals game.
- Cherry Saison (Broadway Brewery, Columbia). Yes, another fruit-tastic beer. The yeast in this particular beer gives it a dry finish and even a slight spicy flavor. Of course, the addition of over 80 pounds of cherries per batch helps balance that out. Clocking in at 6%, this is the perfect beer to kick off a night in downtown Columbia. Where to drink it: On tap at Broadway Brewery! When to drink it: While visiting Columbia for one of the town’s many amazing summer concerts.
- Lil’ Helper (Mother’s, Springfield). Not for the faint of heart, Lil’ Helper’s hop-forward flavor and aromas are intensely delicious. Bitter and citrusy, this is one of the best beers to come out of western Missouri. Where to drink it: At a concert, or in a shady basement bar while you play pool. When to drink it: After midnight, even though you probably have to be at work or in class the next morning. I won’t tell.
No matter what kind of beer you like, there’s a delicious Missouri option for literally everyone. Many Missouri breweries also release ciders, for those of you with aversions to gluten. The important thing is to find what you love, drink a lot of it (within reason), and share it with friends.