Labor Day weekend is just around the corner. And for many of us, that means one last barbecue-blowout before cooler temperatures force us to pack up our grilling gear for the coming months.
So, in order to make this year's Labor Day festivities truly memorable, do yourself a favor and stock up on a few six-packs (or several) of the finest, most mouthwatering brews this summer had to offer.
Which brews, you're wondering? Glad you asked.
1. Full Sail Session Watermelon Wheat
Full Sail's Session Watermelon Wheat Ale starts out with a tart and crisp aroma. You may even notice some cucumber notes. The flavor is bright with a juicy burst of watermelon — it's definitely sweet and a little syrupy on the mouth feel, but it's not overbearing. Bring a few on your next beach excursion. This one's a real treat.
2. Goose Island Sofie
Goose Island's Sofie is a very champagne-like beer. Pour it in a glass and its tiny bubbles burst with the smell of spices, and a little bit of a tart finish. Despite this, the beer doesn’t taste sour. In fact, it’s a rather mellow, with a hint of spice and apple. It might even be the perfect refreshing brew to sip at a summer wedding.
3. Devils Backbone Striped Bass Pale Ale
The Striped Bass Pale Ale from Devils Backbone has a light and bready scent with a touch of honeysuckle. The first sip is bright with a mild, hoppy finish. This beer pairs perfectly with seafood, so bring it along to your next fish fry. It’s oh-so-refreshing and a portion of proceeds benefit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation with each beer sold.
4. Anchor Brewing Blood Orange Blonde
The smell of Anchor Brewing's Blood Orange Blonde is very mild and faint, making it very inviting. When you take a sip, you'll also notice a very light body to the beer, but instantly pick up orange notes with a touch of salt. The finish is bright and tart. Take this one to the park.
5. Widmer Brothers Drifter Pale Ale
The Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers is just good. Take our word for it — the beer even smells like brown sugar. The taste is malty, bitter and sweet at the same time, but also a little earthy with a hint of herbal tea. That said, it's very well balanced. Take this beer on a nice, long hike and enjoy with the view.
6. Deschutes Brewery American Wheat
For a wheat beer, the piney, tart smell of Deschutes Brewery's American Wheat was such a surprise. The mild hop flavors gave way to a bitter finish with notes of bright citrus. And like so many of the beers on our list, this one is pretty refreshing. We recommend enjoying after finishing some yard work as a reward for a job well done.
7. Montauk Watermelon Session Ale
The aroma of Montauk's Watermelon Session Ale is mild and bready with a touch of strawberry that tickles your nose. You will definitely taste that watermelon, but the flavor is light and subtle because the fruit flavor feels natural. This watermelon brew is so invigorating — definitely take a few to the pool.
8. SweetWater Mexican Style Lager
SweetWater's Mexican Style Lager was part of their limited Hatchery Series, but if you can still find some, buy it up. This is the ideal craft beer to convert all the non-craft beer drinkers out there. It’s smooth and light with a slightly bitter finish, but it's full of flavore. Basically, it takes what would normally be a boring beer and makes it really interesting. Bring it to your Budweiser-loving buddy's house and make him/her take a sip.
9. Yards Saison
A saison is meant to be refreshing, and Yards achieves near perfection with its simply-named Saison. It's a light, summer wheat beer with surprising notes of banana and spices. We decided we would all enjoy this one as an after-work summer treat.
10. Sam Adams Porch Rocker
If lemonade stands sold beer on the side, this is what you'd expect to find on the menu. The Porch Rocker from Sam Adams is lemony fresh, but we're also getting slight charcoal notes — a little odd, but it works, because who doesn't love the smell of a grill in the summertime? Porch Rocker is a bready BBQ beer. So drink it with a burger or some ribs.
Thomas Cocho, Erik Berte, Nicolette Kearney, Rebecca Simon, and Thomas McLaughlin contributed to this article.