Summer Beers For The Miserable Nashville Heat

I was browsing through all my posts and realized that I give lots of attention to high gravity beers. Rest assured, I do enjoy lighter beer styles. Summer is upon us are upon us and I bet you all get invited to cookouts, especially with the 4th of July approaching. My problem is that many of the hosts provide a cooler full of crappy beer. Instead of bringing a food dish, I bring my own cooler and use the occasion to introduce people to better beer. Some people will enjoy them, and others will want to stick with their "ice cold smooth beer with no aftertaste." Here are my suggestions of locally available bottled beers, ideal for those summertime cookouts. I will break it down by styles. Grab a seat, this blog post is longer than usual:

Hefeweizen (serve at 39-45 degrees)
I love "hefes" and I will drink them year around, but their refreshing character make them ideal summer beer. The key is to try and get a fresh bottle, as these beers do not age well and there are some old bottles sitting on the shelves ( I just had one). Some people like putting a lemon wedge in the beer (I choose not to), which is sometimes frowned upon by beer geeks. To me, it's just a matter of preference, just like adding spice to your food. I always roll the bottle and pour the yeast sediment at the bottom into the glass. There are lots of nuances in this style and each one carries varying degrees of phenols and esters such as banana, bubble gum, clove, and vanilla. Nashville has a decent a selection , so here are my picks:

German Imports (in no order as they are all good examples of the style)-
  • Ayinger Brau Weisse
  • Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier
  • Paulaner Hefeweissbier
  • Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier
  • Hacker Pschorr Hefe Weisse
  • Schneider Weisse Original

Domestic Hefeweizens:

  • Sierra Nevada Kellerwies - Brand new beer to their product line and one of the best Hefeweizens I have had in a very long time. They nailed it. Highly recommended.
  • Yazoo Hefeweizen- local beer that is available all year round. A tad thinner than the German examples, but still full of the Hefeweizen phenols and esters.
  • Victory Sunrise Weissbier- New to town and definitely worth trying.

Wit Beer (serve 39-45 degress)
This style shares similar characteristics to Hefeweizens, and are brewed with coriander and orange peel. The following are some locally available suggestions, listed in my order of preference:
  • Hoegaarden - Benchmark for the style, although it was better before the InBev takeover
  • Victory Whirlwind Wit- New to Nashville and welcome in my beer fridge anytime
  • Boulevard Zon- Solid and priced just right
  • New Belgium Mothership Wit- Organic and brewed with wind-produced energy.
  • Wittekerke- Wit beer in a can! Beware of old cans on the shelves
  • Sam Adams White Ale- Easy to find seasonal
  • North Coast Great White- Not as good as the ones above, but still worth a try
  • Blue Moon (Coors)- Perhaps my snobbery is surfacing here, but c'mon. You can get this beer EVERYWHERE. Branch out a little. There are better examples of the style.
  • Blanche De Bruxelles- A tad too thin for me, but this also has a slight herbal mintiness
  • Shock Top (Anheuser-Busch)- WARNING- I highly recommend you skip this one.
Lagers and Pilseners (serve at around 45 degrees)
Approximately 96% of US beer sales are macro brewed products. Of that 96%, the largest portion belongs to light lagers. No problem. Our job is to introduce friends and family to something better and ween them off the industrial-made swill. It still amazes me that people have loyalty and brand affinity with such crappy beer. The following are on the Nashville shelves and will hit the spot on those 90+ degree afternoons by the grill.
  • Victory Prima Pils- New to town and an excellent domestic Pilsener. This has extra spicy European hop bitterness, which may be too assertive for the pedestrian palate.
  • Brooklyn Lager- Also new to town, this is a great Vienna lager with a nice balance between the pale malts and european hops. Not quite as bold as Prima Pils.
  • Pilsener Urquell- A benchmark for the style, this is a real Pilsener. Miller Lite is not.
  • North Coast Scrimshaw-A balanced Pilsener from a great CA brewery.
  • Victory V Lager- A nice clean Dortmunder/Helles that won't bombard your palate. Great with sushi.
  • Starr Hill Jomo Lager- Somewhat new to town and brewed in VA. Balanced and clean.
  • Bitburger- Try giving this to the Heineken, Bud, Coors, and Miller loyalists. This tastes better because the Germans don't load their lagers with adjuncts. Serve at 40 degrees
Saison (serve at 50-55 degrees)
For beer geeks and those with casual beer drinkers with the adventurous palate, you can't let the summer go by with out drinking a saison. The origins of this style go back to Belgium where it was brewed for farm workers to consume during the late summer harvest. As far as I am concerned, the best Saison you can get in Nashville is Saison Dupont. I have tried about 40 saisons, and this one is my favorite. Pair this beer with some grilled wild caught salmon and you won't be sorry. However, Victory V Saison is a new arrival to town and is worth seeking out.


Miscellaneous styles that you can throw into the cooler for some variety. Serve the Berliner Weisse and Kolsch at 39-45 degrees. The others should be at 45-50 degrees:
  • Anchor Steam- a California Common (lager fermented at ale temperates) and a classic
  • New Belgium Skinny Dip- low alcohol and low carb Ale with kaffir lime leaves. Introduce this to Michelob Ultra drinkers. If they stick with Ultra, then they are a lost cause.
  • Dogfish Head Festina Peche- A Berliner Weisse, which is a rare style in the US. Brewed with peaches, this is acidic and mildly sour. Strangely addictive.
  • New Belgium Fat Tire- An Amber Ale with a huge cult following. A good gateway beer
  • Schlafly Summer Kolsch- Kolsch is a great style for summer, and this is a solid example.
  • Terrapin SunRay- A regional unfiltered German style wheat ale brewed with honey
  • Brooklyn Summer Ale- A simple, straight forward Blonde Ale. Not too bold on the palate
  • Sam Adams Summer Ale - Easy to find spiced Wheat Ale when you can't run to the beer store. Seasonal.

That's it for now folks. Have fun over the 4th of July and don't set your neighbor's house on fire with those roman candles. And remember that "tasting the cold" is a marketing slogan for stupid beer drinkers. Cold temperatures numb the taste receptors. Take the beers out of the cooler and serve them at the proper temperature. If you convert anyone to craft beer, feel free to tell them about my blog. Heh heh. Don't forget that Blackstone and Boscos usually have good summer beers on tap.


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