In some parts of the country, there's been doubt that summer would actually come this year, but beach season is nearly here — finally. And with the unofficial start to summer upon us, we need to start thinking about the beach — what we'll put in our beach bag, which swimsuit we'll wear, and what beers we'll toss into our beach coolers. Well, we can help you with that last question.

Typical beach-bum beer drinkers go for weak and watery light beers that lack in quality what they also lack in flavor. But we'd encourage you to make a higher quality choice and opt for craft beers that will shake things up on your beach blanket.

In general, we're looking at summery brews. This includes a lot of wheat beers but also pilsner and a collection of lighter ales. Anything you're going to drink for an extended period in the sun should also be relatively low in alcohol to keep you from getting too tipsy to walk in the sand. So we're sticking to beers around 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). We also want to avoid leaving broken glass in our trail so we're going for beers in cans — and there are a lot of great beers available in cans these days.

Given these criteria, here are our top picks for the best beach-ready beers: