As the summer hits its stride (AKA when you break a sweat by just stepping outside), it’s time to grab a lawnmower beer to help subdue the heat. If you’ve never heard the term lawnmower beer, all you need to do is sound it out. A lawnmower beer is literally what it says — the kind of light, refreshing brew you crack open when you have to do menial tasks in the hot, hot sun, like, you know, mowing the lawn.
There’s no reason to reach for a heavy beer when it’s warm out. Everyone knows that weight on the stomach makes a hot, summer day in the yard that much sweatier. Thankfully, more breweries have realized the way to beer fans’ hearts during the summer are beers that they’re making light, flavorful, and en masse. Check out the best styles for a lawnmower beer and grab one of the examples to quench your summer thirst.
IPAs are the current lifeblood of craft beer, but admittedly they can get heavy — and that’s not going to keep you light on your toes in the summer heat. In the past few years, breweries have released a bevy of session IPAs, which are normally under 5 percent alcohol by volume, and, if done correctly, will maintain much of the same mouthfeel and character of their big brothers.
Mostly, they also come in cans, so they’re perfect for yard work, hikes, beaches, and backyard parties. Two of the best and most widely available are: Founders Brewing All Day IPA and Firestone Walker Easy Jack, but you should also try these two:
At 3.8 percent, Even Keel comes in well under the ABV of most beers, but it still carries massive hop notes. It also comes in a mango variety.
Oskar Blues became a beer fridge staple with its cans of Dale’s Pale Ale — a perfectly fine lawnmower beer — and keeps it going with many other gems, like Pinner, which is loaded with both malt and hop flavors.
Fruited beers have made waves in the past year or so, be it classic wheat (always around, but catching fire), the slightly tart gose, or other supremely sour options.
Well executed, the fruit won’t be all that intense, but will instead provide a nice, cooling reminder that a ripe fruit is great in the summer. The options are fairly endless now when it comes to fruited beers, with mango, passion fruit, and cherry being among the top fruit additions. Other additions like guava, peach, pineapple, and more can be loads of fun, too.
A Belgian-inspired wheat ale loaded with Michigan cherries, it’s refreshing with a slight tartness from the fruit.
Colorado’s Avery Brewing adds passion fruit to this Witbier, which already has orange peel and coriander. The name’s translation: passion fruit devil.
The craft beer movement largely started as a protest against the mass-produced light lagers that have dominated American beer since, well, forever (you know, like most of these). So for the past 40 years or so, breweries have been not so pushy with their lager offerings. Sierra Nevada has long made Summerfest, which is a perfect transition beer for those used to macro beers, but others are jumping on board.
Now realizing there’s a bigger market to capture with them, you’re seeing them come to the front of portfolios. Whether it’s a Pilsner, Vienna, Helles, Märzen, or Bock, more breweries are starting to serve up lagers and that’s great!
Left Hand is mostly known for its fantastic stouts, namely the Milk Stout, but this pilsner is great for a warm day by the pool.
More malty and hoppier than the macro lagers, this Helles-style beer is bready with nice lemon notes, and at 4.5 percent ABV, it’s great for hot days.
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