It’s forecast to hit 100 degrees tomorrow here in Chicago. The summer has started out hot and will likely be even hotter before the fall cools us down. To cope with the heat and enjoy all summer has to offer in the world’s best summer city, here are my favorite local beers that I enjoy over these months. Please note that these are not rated by the best to worst; instead, all tasting delicious, I rated them from bitter to sweet.
Ranked, unscientifically, in order from hoppy (bitter) to sweet:
Half Acre’s Daisy Cutter, 5.2% abv. One of my year-round favorites, this beer will also work nicely on a warm summer day. This American Pale Ale is very hoppy and has intense floral aromatics – it reminds me of dandelions. If you are looking to drink something with backbone and bite, this one will work perfectly. Here’s the rating on ratebeer.com.
Goose Island’s Green Line, 5% abv. Another American Pale Ale. To me, it’s less biting than Daisy Cutter and has a smoother, more balanced taste. It’s only available on tap per the environmental friendliness of the beer, so enjoy this one at beer gardens around town. Here’s the rating on ratebeer.com.
Less hoppy or tart:
Three Floyd’s Gumballhead, 5.5% abv. Gumballhead, if you can find it, is the perfect mix between the sweetness of a wheat ale with the nice sharpness of hops. The hop presence here reminds me of grapefruit, making it really refreshing. Unlike a lot of wheat ales, which I find sometimes too sweet, I can drink this again…and again…and again. Here’s the rating on ratebeer.com.
Bell’s Oarsman, 4% abv. If you can’t find Gumbalhead and need a replacement, this crafty brew from our friends across Lake Michigan might do the trick. Oarsman uses techniques used in a Berliner-Weiss, meaning they add a certain bacteria during the brewing process to make it a little sour and balance out the sweetness of wheat. Again, because it’s a bit less sweet than normal wheat beers, I can drink this one in larger quantities. Here’s the rating on ratebeer.com.
Metropolitan’s Krankshaft Kolsch, 5% abv. I drink this one year-round, but this light, effervescent kolsch, with a nice sweetness, really can play well on a nice summer day. Here’s the rating on ratebeer.com.
Goose Island’s 312 Urban Wheat Ale, 4.2% abv. I can’t leave this one off the list. Although, honestly, I prefer the other wheat beers on this list, the iconic 312, named after the area’s main area code, will always have a place in Chicago’s soul. It’s really light, with the same abv as the Miller Lites of the world, and comes in cans, making it super convenient to take to the beach. Here’s the rating on ratebeer.com.
Bell’s Oberon, 5.8% abv. This seasonal beer from Bells is tapped every March for the spring and summer months, causing a rejoice in every Michigander’s heart. The beer is a classic American Wheat Ale in the style of a Blue Moon and other beers of its ilk (but better). Although beer snobs may be offended, adding an orange slice compliments the flavor and adds a nice acidity to cut down on the sweetness. I usually can only have a couple of these at a time, but they are damn delicious. Here’s the rating on ratebeer.com.
Revolution’s Bottom Up Wit, 4.5% abv. Revolution brews a classic Belgian-style ale, spiced with items like coriander and orange peel. The spiciness and sweetness of these beers makes them perfect for summer. And, one of Revolution’s flagships, this is the most widely available Revolution beer on tap around town. Here’s the rating on ratebeer.com.
5 Rabbit’s 5 Lizard, 4.3% abv. 5 Rabbit, the first Latin themed craft brewery in the country and based here in Chicago, adds passion fruit to their wheat ale to make a particularly sweet one. Even more than Oberon, I can only drink a couple of these, but they are delicious. Here’s the rating on ratebeer.com.
Founder’s Cerise, 6.5%. Looking to go even sweeter? Check out this fruit beer from across the lake Grand Rapids Michigan. They add Michigan cherries to their beer to make a sweet, yet tart beer. With high sugars and a high abv, this can be a great wine replacement that you can cool down even more. Here’s the rating on ratebeer.com.
What do you think? Any other beers that you’d like to mention? Let me know and perhaps I’ll throw them on the list. There is certainly no shortage of great summery beers.
Enjoy these and beat the heat with delicious, tasty goodness!