What is a lawnmower beer? You know exactly what it is, sir; you knew the answer to that question the first time you heard the term, I’ll wager. It’s just makes implicit sense: after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day, you want a cool, refreshing beer that’s on the low end calorie wise and won’t see you canceling the rest of the day’s activities based on a high alcohol percentage.
Lawnmower beers are generally light in body and traditionally pretty light on flavor, too, but a crop of new brews that neatly fit the category are bucking that trend. There are also some classic beers that fit the category, boasting plenty of flavor without a heaviness of body or a river of alcohol. So while we hope to introduce you to a few new beers, if you find new love for the stalwarts, that’s just fine, too.
Also, to keep things extra fresh, we’re covering a couple of brews that aren’t beer at all, but that certainly go down smooth after an afternoon of lawn care. Or a game of beach volleyball, a long hike, a grilling session, or … you know, you actually don’t need an excuse to drink these beers. Let’s get to it!
When a beer has the gall to call itself the “Beer of Summer” as this new Mexican-style lager from the K. Spoetzl Brewery does, it damn well better go down smooth after a good lawn mowing. Goods news. It does. Cerveza de Verano features a light citrusy hop profile with flavoring from agave nectar adding a sweetness that brings out the fruity hop character. At 4.5% ABV, it’s the perfect hot-weather session lager or a great choice to safely suck down in about two minutes, as I did after the last mowing.
We’ve covered this light wheat ale before, but it bears a second look in the lawnmower beer category, as — surprise, surprise — a beer brewed specifically for athletes looking to refresh themselves without piling on extra calories goes down just as well after yard work as it does after a distance run. The beer has a light breadiness and gentle orange notes as well as a bit of saltiness, which is just what you want after a good sweat.
I’m not sure if this is a problem or a silver lining, but to get a bottle of Sierra Nevada’s Helles in the Tropics beer, you need to buy a larger mixed pack. Which I tend to do at least monthly, so yeah. Helles-style beers are very mild on the hops and more malt-forward, with a light sweetness and great drinkability. And that’s exactly what you find here, except with a bit more hop than you’d get from a traditional pale German Helles, but that’s what you expect from Sierra Nevada.
A collaboration between Colorado-based New Belgium and Mexican brewery Primus Cerveceria, this beer is bursting with flavor provided by hibiscus, watermelon, lime, and agave nectar, not to mention some malt and hops. It’s made in the style of a refreshing Mexican street beverage, this low ABV beer is a unique, fruity revelation.
Trumer Pils, a classic German/Austrian-style pilsner, has been brewed in Berkeley, California since 2004. But the same recipe has been followed for about 400 years at the Trumer Brauerei in Salzburg, Austria. This multi-award winning beer is crisp and refreshing, with a lively carbonation and an elegant simplicity. The hop profile is nondescript, and the malt even and balanced. The best way to describe this quaffable beer is as … beer. When you think of the taste of a brew, this is a fine standard-bearer.
Yep, another beer from Shiner, because in the past year or so, this brewery has greatly expanded their catalog, and this new brew is a great summer sip. A bit of ginger spice balances the intensely sweet and bitter grapefruit flavors, with a light hop and malt background keeping things beer-y. At just 95 calories and 4% ABV, this is a guilt-free and daytime-safe beer good to have on hand in the garage fridge.
Melvin Brewing, out of Wyoming, is primarily known for huge, amazing, almost dangerous brews up in the 9%-plus ABV arena, and it’s well worth trying their fine, crazy-strong beers. But if it’s the middle of the day and you need flavorful refreshment that won’t lead to nap time, Killer Bees American Blonde Ale is the one to sip. It’s made with actual honey that sweetens up the light bread flavor and mild hops.
The first of our not-technically-beer lawnmower beers, this new cider from Angry Orchard just came out this summer. It’s so light yet delicious it would be a dangerous drink were it not for the low 4% alcohol by volume. Made from French red-flesh apples, it has as much flavor as any cider out there, and can be sucked down right out of the can or enjoyed more slowly over ice. In fact, I’ll wager adding a splash of liquor would make a fine non-lawnmower cocktail.
Made with a blend of cider, sparkling water, and botanical flavoring, this light, easygoing cider just begs to be slurped down fast. And at just 3.8% ABV, you can go ahead and have a second one, too. If you’re looking for a super-safe daytime drink, stock the fridge with Mezzo Spritz. Or use this stuff as the sparkling component in a cocktail to kick the flavor profile up a notch.
If you can get over the fact that it comes in a small can, then a can of Strongbow Dry Pear Hard Cider is a true treat on a hot day. It’s plenty sweet despite the word “dry” in the name, and the small bubbles of the carbonation create a lively mouthfeel and buoy the aftertaste. While a great lawnmower drink, this cider also pairs well with savory foods.
Article originally published August 21, 2017 by Lee Heidel. Last updated July 5, 2019 by Steven John.
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