The Best Summer Beers for 2022, According to a Beer Expert

There's a perfect summer beer to pair with every activity, from beach days to camping nights. Here are the best craft brews for 2022, according to Advanced Cicerone and homebrewer Mandy Naglich.

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Best Beer for a Picnic: Ommegang Hennepin

Saisons have naturally occurring aromas of lemon and white pepper. This saison from Ommegang kicks up the fruitiness with orange peel and coriander. These flavors pair with any food, but work especially well with cheeses and dried fruit. (Here are our favorite ideas for what to put in your picnic basket.)

Plus, if you’re already carrying your picnic supplies, why not bring a fancy wine-bottle-sized beer with a cork you can pop like champagne. This beer is an instant picnic upgrade!

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Best Beer for the Beach: Troegs Sunshine Pilsner

A light pilsner is always the ideal beer for quenching your thirst at the beach. Instead of opting for a widely available mass-market pilsner, support your local brewery. This Sunshine Pilsner from Troegs can be found at beaches up and down the East Coast. Its balance between crackery malt and slightly bitter hops is just what you need on a summer day at the shore.

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Best Beer for Grilling: Jack’s Abby Shipping Out of Boston Amber Lager

We don’t always think of amber-colored beers in summer, but this Amber Lager from Jack’s Abby has the perfect flavors to complement anything coming off your grill this summer.

Subtle notes of caramel and biscuit complement the char flavors from the grill but the zippy, bubbly texture keeps things light, no matter how many hot dogs you eat.

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Best Beer for an Outdoor Concert: Sixpoint Brewery Apollo

When it comes to outdoor concerts, you’re not as active as a beach day, but it’s still too hot to reach for anything remotely heavy. That’s where Sixpoint’s refreshing and distinctive wheat ale, Apollo, comes into the picture.

It’s sparkling and light with scents of clove spice, citrus peel and a touch of sweet banana, a bouquet as interesting as the music you’re jamming to!

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Best Beer for Camping: Allagash River Trip

Allagash River Trip is complex without being distracting. An easy-drinking beer with a soft body but enough carbonation to keep it refreshing, its bright Belgian yeast character lends it to relaxing fireside or toasting your victory after (finally) pitching that tent.

Pack River Trip with your camping supplies, then add a few of our best foods for camping. too.

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Best Beer when You’re Craving Ice Cream: Westbrook Orange Creamsicle Shake IPA

When we were younger, summer meant visits to the ice cream truck. Now, the ice cream truck meets the IPA with Westbrook’s Orange Creamsicle Shake IPA.

This beer is specially made with milk sugar to create a creamy texture, and flavors of vanilla and orange are there to fulfill your summer sweet tooth.

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Best Beer for Stargazing: Firestone Mocha Merlin Stout

Firestone Walker’s Mocha Merlin stout is part luxurious nightcap, part easy-drinking 5.5% stout. It’s not too heavy even for the warmest summer nights, but the notes of chocolate and coffee make it feel like a nighttime treat ready for sipping under the stars. We suggest these s’mores cookies as the accompanying stargazing snack.

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Best Beer for Brunch: Dominga Mimosa Sour

There’s nothing like outdoor brunch to kick off a summer day. New Belgium made the perfect beer to pair with sunny outdoor dining. Dominga has the same balance of sweet, tangy and bubbly as everyone’s favorite brunch cocktail: the mimosa.

This beer has notes of Mexican orange, tangerine and preserved Calamansi fruit, all blended with a base of tart golden ale.

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Best Beer for a Summer Run: Athletic Brewing Co. N/A Upside Dawn

Beer is a great way to recover from a workout, but getting boozy right after meeting a fitness goal doesn’t always make sense. Athletic Brewing’s Upside Dawn nonalcoholic Golden Ale has the biscuity flavors of German malts mixed with earthy hops for the full beer experience but none of the alcohol. See all the nonalcoholic beer options we love.

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Best Beer for Drinking with Seafood: Oxbow Brewing Co. Farmhouse Pale Ale

Whether it’s buttery lobster rolls, spicy shrimp tacos or a zesty ceviche, something about summer calls for seafood. And seafood calls for Oxbow’s farmhouse pale ale!

Bright flavors of lemon zest and white pepper mingle with snappy carbonation to elevate the sweetness of any seafood and energize your palate.

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Best Beer to Drink on a Boat: Victory Easy Ringer Lo-Cal IPA

Victory’s Easy Ringer IPA is light on the calories, without being light on flavor. Its passion fruit hop character is bright and sunny, just like a boat day. Plus, the light body of this IPA won’t weigh you down if you’re swimming off the boat, or just hanging on the dock.

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Best Gluten-Reduced Beer: Stone Delicious IPA

If gluten is a concern, try this Stone Delicious IPA with tangy notes of nectarine and pungent lemongrass. Pair it with one of these gluten-free Mexican dishes for a summer night with plenty of flavor!

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Best Beer for a Pool Day: Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen

Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen is made by blending 50% hefeweizen beer with 50% carbonated grapefruit juice to make a beer that is 100% ready for summer. It takes like sunshine in a bottle, or a can, which makes it ideal for poolside sipping where glass is prohibited.

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Best Overall Beer for Summer: Samuel Adams Summer Ale

There’s something classic about this smooth but light Sam Adams wheat ale. Whether you get it on draft at your local bar, in cans at the baseball game or in a bottle on the boardwalk, this easy-drinking classic pairs with every summer activity…including sitting inside in the air conditioning!

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Mandy Naglich
Mandy is a food and beverage writer with bylines at WNYC, Munchies, Mic and October. She's a Certified Cicerone and award-winning homebrewer living, writing and cooking in New York City.