Summertime means long days, heat, and relaxation, and there’s no better accompaniment to these three things than a refreshing brew. Whether it pairs well with a burger and potato salad or stands alone as a beach brewski, these summertime beers will leave you wanting the dog days of summer to never end. Luckily, they sell most of these year round.
Vicki Santillano, Staff Writer
One particularly warm night this April, I found myself at Toronado, a San Francisco bar famous for its staggering selection of beers from around the world. Since I’ve only recently discovered that I actually like beer, this bar has become my go-to spot when I want to figure out what I like. That night, after telling the bartender the different brands that have pleased my palette, he set a golden-hued beverage in front of me and simply said, “Damnation.” Damnation’s a Belgian-style pale ale made by Russian River Brewing Company , which is based in Sonoma County, CA. Upon first sip of the bubbly brew, I knew immediately what I’d be bringing to my next barbecue. The light, fruity (it reminded me of carbonated pears, but more subtly sweet than your average cider) taste seemed the perfect accompaniment to hot days and warm, breezy nights spent outdoors—not that we get to experience either of those in San Francisco, but a girl can dream, right? So though I’ve never previously liked a beer enough to declare one my brewsky of choice, I’m designating Damnation the official beer of Summer 2009. May we create many happy memories together.
Natalie Josef, Managing Editor
I’m not a beer drinker, so I was thrilled to find Lindemans Framboise Lambic . It’s a Belgian ale, but it tastes more like candy soda with some alcohol. It’s raspberry flavored with a frothy head and very sweet, but balanced. Probably not the best thing to get drunk on, but it’s really refreshing on a hot day. Plus, the bottle is cool. People always inquire when I am drinking it. But when I give them a taste, they scrunch up their face due to the sweetness. Oh well, more for me!
Ashley Nelson, Editorial Assistant
I hope I never come to a point in my life where I run out of firsts. We remember first kisses, first apartments, first trips abroad … granted, I’ve checked off a few biggies thus far, but it’s hard to deny the thrill of finding something you love for the very first time.
I realize this is quite a romantic introduction for an opinion on beer, but bear with me. I’ll never forget the first time I sipped a Blue Moon Belgian White  because I was sitting in the stick of the ninety-degree heat under a dark Florentine sky, and citrus and wheat never tasted so good. The summer nights in Italy are some of hottest I’ve witnessed, but I’ve since added Blue Moon to my personal survival kit for hot weather.
Blame association if you want, but now nothing sounds better to me in summer than the cloudy swirl of coriander, malted barely, wheat, and citrus found in a pint of Blue Moon. I think it’s the pronounced citrus flavor that makes it feel so refreshing, or the promise of the orange slice at the end, or perhaps the whirl of unfiltered spices that swish under the foam of the very first sip.
Rebecca Brown, Editor-in-Chief
Maybe it’s the precariously dangling lemon wedge served on the rim of every glass, but all it takes is one whiff of Franziskaner Hefeweizen  to transport me to summer and make me dream of lounging on a balmy, beachside patio while waiting for some exotic fish to finish grilling. Beer aficionados are no doubt shaking their heads in disapproval since this is a German-style wheat beer—and Germany’s not exactly known for its killer beaches. Still, one taste of the banana, clove, and vanilla deliciousness always makes me feel sunny … even if I am smack dab in the middle of Oktoberfest. I recommend the on-tap version; the flavor and fragrance don’t translate well to bottles.
Brie Cadman, Editor
Though I’ve lived most of my life as an IPA drinker, the influx of Belgian-style witbiers (that’s “white beer” for us ’mericans) onto the scene has caused a colossal shift in my beer drinking palette. First it was Hoegaarden, and then I moved on to whatever flavorful and interesting brews the barkeeps could throw my way. Now, especially during the heat of summer, I always look for Allagash White , a Belgian style witbier that is crisp and refreshing but with nice, full-bodied flavor. Like most witbiers, it has aromas of spices, yeast, and citrus, and has a sweet, thirst-quenching mouthfeel. Drinking this beer is the perfect finish to a long summertime hike or bike ride. It also works well as an accompaniment for the hammock.
Allison Ford, Staff Writer
I would estimate that I spend about 65 percent of summer evenings with a Sam Adams Summer Ale  in my hand. This crisp, spicy, and vaguely fruity wheat beer is perfect for enjoying at a party or just relaxing on the patio at home. The best part is that I have yet to find a food that Summer Ale doesn’t compliment. It’s equally great with barbecue, burgers, or burritos. It’s extremely drinkable—on long summer evenings, it’s possible to put away quite a few of these if you’re not careful. It’s deliciously dangerous.