As many know, I take my recovery pretty seriously. That also means I take my post-run beers pretty seriously, and no one can expect you to re-hydrate with the same beers year round. It’s summer, so put down stouts and porters and hopefully by now your local store stopped carrying my recommended holiday beers. No one likes the house with Christmas lights in July either. It’s time to stock up on the lighter side of seasonal beers.
As your resident beer girl, it’s my duty to fill you in on your best hydration practices for the summer. Although I did crowd source a bit, as I’m only one beer drinking woman. We call that being resourceful. It also helps to have friends who drink the beers you don’t like, so no craft pack goes to waste in the back of the fridge (IPA’s in the back of my Frigidaire, I’m looking at you).
Let’s start with the basics.
1. Summer Ales
Need something readily available no matter where you are? Powerhouses like Sam Adams Summer Ale, Brooklyn Summer Ale and Goose Island Summer Ale (5-5.3% ABV) are easy to find and consistently cold and refreshing. A taste you can count on when summer running is treating you well or when you’re ready to knock back a few extra brews to forget the day. Looking for a lesser known summer ale? See if you can find a Flying Dog Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale. This has a bit more hop to it, and it’s definitely a different flavor than the rest of the summery, fruity beers with a slightly higher alcohol content than the others to boot (5.6%).
These are probably my favorite; they’re like the adult version of Kool-Aid on a hot summer night. They’re perfect for when you’re done running, all sweaty, and sitting on the porch putting off a shower. Personally I prefer The Traveler Beer Co. They make lemon and grapefruit flavors, which are equally good in my book. Leinenkugel also makes some great options for you in this area, with its summer shandy, grapefruit, and two more fall-oriented shandies (we’ll get to those in a few more months).
Looking for something a little different?
3. Summer IPAs
Want a little more bite? Maybe a bad run leaves you bitter, or maybe you have a taste for a summer beer that actually boasts an alcohol content above 7%? Crack open a summery IPA. I’m not a big IPA fan, but my best friend is, so I outsourced for this recommendation. She even gave East and West Coasters options! For you Golden State fans still in shock over Game 7 of the NBA Finals, grab a Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin. It offers lots of hops, but finishes with a light fruity taste to help turn your mood around. East Coasters, look no further than Flower Power by Ithaca Brewing Company. This beer gives you those fruity hints, but is dry-hopped five times, ensuring it does the job.
Looking for something on the lighter side? I’d be remiss not to mention Left Hand Brewing’s Good Juju, a spice ale that gives you the flavor of summer without overpowering fruit or flowers. Anderson Valley Summer Solstice is definitely a softer ale with some caramel and spice, but like the Left Hand it’s not your cliche summer fruit beer. Where the shandies are the adults Kool-Aid(™ me), Summer Solstice is actually marketed as the adult cream soda.
But, before we go…
5. Light beer
I’m not talking Corona or Landshark (although, both are nice summer beer by the water options). I’m talking about cheap, watery, good old-fashioned light beer. Insert your favorite Bud, Blue, Coors, whatever light beer here. These are perfect for those super hot days in the post-long run ice bath. After spending hours out in the heat and sun, you want something refreshing, quick, and almost like water. What’s better for that than a cheap 6 pack of ___-lite? You’re feeling tired and blah after the heat and you aren’t tasting the beer so much as pouring it down your throat, so don’t waste a good flavorful expensive beer when a cheapie will do the trick!
What’s your go-to summer beer to help pass the time sweating out the run in an ice bath or cold shower?