What’s more American in the summertime than sitting outside with the grill going, the ballgame on and a cold one in your hand?
Luckily, this area is blessed with multiple breweries, which means a variety of beers to sample while grilling out or just relaxing outside at the end of a long workday.
Here are nine recommendations for local beers that are perfect for sipping on the porch.
1. Plum Street Wheat, Christian Moerlein. Color me impressed by this purple, hazy and delicious beverage. Usually, when you put “plum” in anything, my reaction is to politely decline. I couldn’t resist trying this beer, which defies a category. It is wheat without being overpowering, sour without making you pucker, and a bold representative of today’s Moerlein. This beer, plus Marty and the Cowboy on the radio, sunny skies and a warm breeze will color my Sunday plans this summer.
2. Shade, MadTree. Who doesn’t want a little shade during the dog days? I can’t imagine that sitting under the old oak tree was ever as good as this blackberry Gose, though. The color evokes a beach sunrise, the flavor evokes picking berries in the back fields. What, you didn’t grow up with back fields and berries to pick? Then go drink a Shade, and when you get that satisfied smile after the first sip, you’ll understand.
3. Hibiscus Blue, Mt. Carmel. Wow. I was not expecting this beer to be quite as tasty as it was. Blueberry flavors can overwhelm a beer so easily, but the hibiscus notes balance that out smoothly in this Mt. Carmel offering. There was a definite return for seconds on this beer, which I happily then discovered was offered by the six-pack. Pick one up and have it with weekend brunch. It’s the perfect complement to Grandma’s pancakes.
4. Coast to Coast IPA, Fifty West. You have to have at least one IPA on the list, right? There’s nothing middle of the road about this brew, which is named after America’s middle road, Route 50. The taste, as the name implies, changes as you sip, from fruity to resinous. This beer takes you on a journey without you ever having to leave the porch.
5. Storm, Braxton. Summer days are what the Braxton team had in mind when brewing their Cream Ale. Storm is light, refreshing and engaging on the tongue — especially if you swing by the brewery and pick one up on the nitro-tap. This beer is meant to follow grass-cutting or a ballgame — so go work up a sweat and reward yourself with a cool Storm.
6. Cougar, Rhinegeist. This is an American-style blonde, which means it's as sunny as Southern California and clear as the Montana sky. Despite the fierce name, this beer doesn’t bite; it goes down smoothly and lives up to the River Ghost’s motto of “a first sip calls for a third.”
7. Jeanneke, Rivertown. This is the beer that made me a fan of the Lockland brewery. For several years, I would hoard a bottle or two in the back of my refrigerator, knowing that on some snowy or dark and miserable day in the dead of winter, I would find this hidden gem and it would transport me back to warmer, brighter days. It’s now available year-round, and this Belgian-style blonde is just made for a cul-de-sac barbecue or sitting around the campfire.
8. Keypunch, Urban Artifact. It's a Key lime Gose. (How good is Key lime pie in the summertime?) Take that flavor and put it in your favorite pint glass, and you have Keypunch. Urban Artifact has made its name by doing things differently and should be commended for taking that approach when the result is this delicious. This beer easily stands out as a fine summertime offering.
9. Oberhausen, Fibonacci Brewing. Oberhausen is a Kolsch, a German-style light beer that is perfect for summer. The name of the beer comes from the area of Germany where some of Mount Healthy’s earliest families originated. It’s only fitting, therefore, to pair this beer with the grilled brat or mettwurst of your choice — you’ll love the way the two go together.