5 Great Local Craft Brews For Your Summer Cookout (Expert Picks)

July 9, 2013 8:57 AM

(Photo credit: PABALLO THEKISO/AFP/Getty Images)

Gone are the days of having to serve up mediocre commercial beer at your summer cookout. With some three dozen craft breweries in Massachusetts alone, and many more in neighboring states, there’s really no excuse for not having your cooler stocked with great local brews. In fact, there are so many to choose from, it can be overwhelming.

With that in mind, we tapped an expert in local beer — Drink Craft Beer co-founder Jeff Wharton — for his top 5 picks for your summer cook-out. In return, Drink Craft Beer gave us a list of great local brews that both a craft beer novice and a full-blown beer enthusiast can enjoy.

Note: You can try all of these beers, and 75+ more, at Drink Craft Beer Summerfest: A Celebration of Farmhouse Ale this weekend (Friday, July 12 & Saturday, July 13) at Space 57 in downtown Boston! Get your tickets at drinkcraftbeer.com/Summerfest.

(Photo from Facebook)

(Photo from Facebook)

Notch Brewing

Ipswich, MA
Session Pils

If you have only one beer for your summer cookouts, Notch Session Pils should be it. If you think low alcohol beers and pilsners are boring, and that would make this must be super boring, guess again! Chris Lohring’s Notch Brewing, a leader in the session beer movement, puts out one of the best pilsners you’ll find on this continent or any other. Dry, slightly hoppy, crisp and a bit grainy, this beer will go great with your hamburgers, steak or whatever you’re cooking. Plus, when you’re outside for several hours on a 95°, you’ll learn to appreciate the 4% ABV.

(Photo from Facebook)

(Photo from Facebook)

Downeast Cider

Charlestown, Boston, MA
Original Blend

Want to switch it up a bit? Then you’ve got to try the Downeast Cider Original Blend. These guys only use fresh-pressed apple juice to create a juicy, yet still thirst quenching apple elixir. Your friends who don’t like beer will love this, as will your friends who do like beer. Drink it with a little barbecue-sauced grilled chicken and you’ll be a happy, happy person. (5.1% abv)

(Photo from Facebook)

(Photo from Facebook)

Night Shift Brewing

Everett, MA
Somer Weisse

And now for something completely different! Let’s be honest, sometimes you want to impress friends with a brew straight out of left field. Somer Weisse, from Everett’s Night Shift Brewing, is just that, and it’s perfect for summer! Made with lemongrass and ginger root, it’s tart, crisp, acidic and the definition of refreshing. This is a beer that we could drink all day while out playing Baggo and waiting for burgers to cook. Plus, it comes in a nice 750 ml bottle, so you’re going to look fancy popping this one open. (5.5% abv)

(Photo from Facebook)

(Photo from Facebook)

Trillium Brewing Company

Fort Point, Boston, MA

If you want to be “that guy who knows a ton about beer” at your next cookout, bring a growler of Trillium Brewing. We particularly recommend the flagship Trillium Farmhouse Ale, which has spicy notes from the yeast; it’s light, dry and a bit minerally, which is perfect because it’ll make you just want to take another sip. Saison is the beer that Belgian farmhands used to drink during summer and if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for us! For now, you won’t find Trillium in stores. You have to head down to the Trillium brewery in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood to pick up a growler. You can get a 32 oz or 64 oz growler. Check it out, it’s awesome. (6.4% abv)

(Photo from Foolproof Brewing)

(Photo from Foolproof Brewing)

Foolproof Brewing

Pawtucket, RI
Backyahd IPA

In any list, you’ve got to include the obligatory hoppy brew. No matter the season, no matter the event, we like our hops! Plus, just a look at the name should tell you this brew is made for the “backyard” (or at least the Boston-ized version) right in the name, so it’s perfect for this list. It’s got a solid, balancing malt presence so it won’t destroy your taste buds. But the star of this brew really is the hops. Citrus, resinous pine and black pepper come together to show you that summer can be about hops as well. Whether you’r devouring pepper crusted steak or some hot dogs alongside this brew, either way it will work perfectly. (6% abv)

Like we mentioned earlier, if you want to try all of these beers and 75+ others, Check out Drink Craft Beer Summerfest this weekend, Friday, July 12 and Saturday, July 13! The festival features 25 New England brewers and 80+ summer-friendly beers on tap with unlimited samples. Plus Drink Craft Beer Summerfest has awesome local food vendors including Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Union Square Donuts, Grillo’s Pickles and more! Drink Craft Beer Summerfest is a great place to find your new favorite summer beer.

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