There are an endless number of reasons to reach for a beer on a steamy summer day in Washington. An equally endless number of craft beers pitch themselves as the perfect thirst-quenching summer ale. With humid temperatures settling in for the next few months and so many options available at your nearest bar or beer store, we asked local beer experts for go-to summer sips that can be found in the D.C. area.
The all-important questions:
• It's a sweltering summer day in D.C. What's the most refreshing beer to look for on a bar's menu, and why?
• You're heading to a friend's cookout on a Saturday afternoon. What beer are you bringing, and why?
• What's your favorite local beer for a hot summer day?
• Where are the best places to buy these beers?
• Where can I buy those cool six-pack and growler caddies for my bike?
It's a sweltering summer day in D.C. What's the most refreshing beer to look for on a bar's menu, and why?
I want something crisp and refreshing, usually a little lower in alcohol. Oxbow Farmhouse Pale Ale and Maine Beer Company's Peeper are both beers I tend to gravitate to. I also love sour beers in this weather, so I'm always on the lookout for Bayerischer Bahnhof Berliner Style Weisse or an Off Color Troublesome Gose. -- Anne Marisic, general manager at Bluejacket
I would look for either a Bold Rock Cider or a radler. I feel that the sugars in these drinks bring me back to life if it's oppressively hot out. -- Gareth Croke, co-owner of Boundary Stone and the forthcoming All Purpose
Narragansett Del's Shandy. Growing up in New England, I always used to beg my grandparents to take me to Del's Italian Ice. It was the perfect summer treat then, and as a beer it's delightfully refreshing. -- Chrystalle Ball, founder of DC Metro Girls Pint Out
Sweltering heat always drives me to Stiegl Radler, perhaps with a shot of Bulleit rye in it. The refreshingly light body and effervescence make it the perfect way to beat the heat, and the added shot gets the ABV up enough to make an impact. -- Dave Coleman, founder of 3 Stars Brewing Company
Look for Ocelot Brewing's Our Elaborate Plans IPA. It's a 7 percent IPA brewed with Citra hops that I think drinks really smooth with a refreshing citrus flavor. It would suit me well on a hot day - or any day really. -- Will Cook, brewer at Fair Winds Brewing
German sours! Leipziger Gose or Professor Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse. Sometimes, for my second glass, I add just a tad of raspberry syrup. -- Dmitri Chekaldin, co-owner of Dacha Beer Garden
I don't really like the heat, because it tends to wear me down, so I like a good IPA to pick me up! A few of my faves are Bell's Two Hearted and Mad Fox's Orange Whip. -- Mari Rodela, president of the D.C. Brewers' Guild
You're heading to a friend's cookout on a Saturday afternoon. What beer are you bringing, and why?
I always bring Flying Dog Dead Rise. It's a perfect summer beer: light, drinkable and leaves you both refreshed and wanting more. It's a great conversation starter as well: "An Old Bay beer?!" -- Chrystalle Ball, founder of DC Metro Girls Pint Out
I'm bringing the Boulevard Lemon Ginger Radler, because I'll be the most popular kid at the cookout when folks taste that easy-drinking goodness. Women and men alike will crown me the king of beers. -- Miles Gray III, president of D.C. Beer Week and owner of Smith Public Trust
I always opt for something with a lower ABV, so that you can have more than a few and not knock yourself out. I sometimes get some grief about this one, but my go-to beer is Busch Light for said occasions. Depending on the crowd, I may opt for Founders All Day IPA or DC Brau El Hefe Speaks. -- Gareth Croke, co-owner of Boundary Stone and the forthcoming All Purpose
I would go for an Port City Optimal Wit. It goes down really crisp and the citrus finish keeps it fresh all the way through, pairing well with anything that's grilling. Plus, it's a good "gateway" beer for those not familiar with the D.C. beer scene. -- Taylor Barnes, co-founder of Denizens Brewing Company
I'm a big fan of introducing people to beers and styles they're unfamiliar with, and Navy Yard's Bluejacket has a reputation for style-bending. A couple of 750 mL bottles from whatever is labeled "Crisp," "Tart & Funky" or "Fruit & Spice" in their case would fit that bill nicely. -- Bill DeBaun, co-editor of DCBeer.com
Either Firestone Walker Pivo Pils or Flying Dog Bloodline IPA. I want something that I know everybody is going to enjoy and yet might not have had a chance to try. -- Josh Fernands, beverage director at Pizzeria Paradiso
Firestone Walker Pivo Pils. They recently started distributing this beer to the East Coast and it's a revelation. The light body and high carbonation make it easy to drink in multiples, which counts for a lot when it's hot out. This is the type of beer that your macro lager-drinking buddy and your beer nerd buddies are going to enjoy equally. -- Ben Wohl, beer director at Grape + Bean
Probably something in a larger-format bottle, mainly for the sharability. In that case, a sour beer is always fun (i.e. New Belgium La Folie, Victory Sour Monkey, Epic Elder Brett, Goose Island Lolita). -- Nahem Simon, beer director at Jack Rose Dining Saloon
What's your favorite local beer for a hot summer day?
For me the winner of the season so far is Union Craft Brewing's Old Pro Gose. It's a style I love and its availability in cans this year made me very happy. I recently got to check out Hellbender, and their Bäre Bönes Kölsch is a great summer beer. Lastly, when I want that perfect West Coast-style IPA, Hardywood Park's The Great Return is fantastic. -- Anne Marisic, general manager at Bluejacket
For its manageable ABV (on a hot day, one or two beers isn't going to cut it) and its refreshing flavor profile, I'll go with Union Old Pro Gose, which is out of Baltimore. -- Bill DeBaun, co-editor of DCBeer.com
I got a chance to try 3 Stars's new Cognitive Dissonance, a Berliner Weisse [brewed] with rye, and I have a feeling that I will be revisiting that often. When I was at Right Proper a couple weeks back, I had Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine . . . that I can't stop thinking about. -- Josh Fernands, beverage director at Pizzeria Paradiso
Union Craft Brewing's Old Pro Gose in the can. Because I can! Dude, it's delicious and made for the summer - or anytime really. -- Mari Rodela, president of the D.C. Brewers' Guild
My favorite local fermented drink is actually a creation by Charm City Meadworks. They make this incredible Basil Lemongrass mead that I absolutely love. If I am pressed to choose a local beer rather than mead, then I would go with 3 Stars Brewing Company Peppercorn Saison. -- Dmitri Chekaldin, owner of Dacha Beer Garden
My favorite local for a hot summer day is the Bluejacket Lost Weekend IPA. The citrus in that thing tastes like summer in a glass. -- Miles Gray III, president of D.C. Beer Week and owner of Smith Public Trust
I've been enjoying Atlas's District Common. It is by far the best California common beer I've had. Now that the weather is warm, the families in our neighborhood sit on the front steps of our townhouses, share a six-pack of this, and watch our kids wreak havoc on the avenue. -- Will Cook, brewer at Fair Winds Brewing
If I'm not reaching for a [3 Stars] Citra Lemon Saison, I'm probably going to get my daily dosage of hops from a Nanticoke Nectar from RAR. The guys up there make some fantastic beers and this one is definitely a standout. -- Dave Coleman, founder of 3 Stars Brewing Company
Port City's rye session IPA Ways and Means packs a lot of flavor and body into 4.5 percent ABV. Centennial hops add a pleasant grapefruit and pine flavor and aroma while rye malt adds substantial body and notes of black pepper. -- Ben Wohl, beer director at Grape + Bean
Here, have another beer: