The Fourth of July is upon us, the pinnacle of summertime fun. This holiday normally involves gathering with friends and family, barbecuing or hitting the beach, and catching firework displays. Things might be a little different this year. Our festivities may include reflection on what we can do to make this country an even better place, and on how the fact that we can take such actions is part of what makes this country’s birthday worth toasting. Those festivities may also include sticking to our own backyards instead of venturing too far out, and they might involve us only hanging in small, well-spaced groups. We don’t think that should put a damper on the celebrating, though. Taking this day to bask in warm, sunny weather and get a little patriotic with (maybe fewer than usual) loved ones is part of living in America, and you know what else is? Pairing that merry-making with a good beer or two.
We thought a great way to get everyone excited about this Fourth would be to create the perfect mix pack for the revelry. Meandering your way through a lovingly curated variety promises the thrill of discovering new beers, finding favorites, and discussing with pals. Just thinking about it has us looking forward to Independence Day even more, sans beach blowouts and all. Like the United States, the beauty of this mix pack is that it’s a melting pot -- just, you know, of cold brews. If you need any more reason to get excited about celebrating the Fourth, just keep reading to find out how special these beers are.
Springdale Beer Co. Lavenade Tart Ale
The Lavenade is a perfect way to kick off appreciating the ingenuity of American brewers. Springdale took the tried and true tartness, refreshing lightness, and subtle funk of a sour ale and updated the flavor and aroma profile with a combo of lavender and lemon. The result is a thirst quencher that’s floral and bright, with everything we love about a botanical tea and a sour-sweet lemonade. It’s proof in a can that an easy-drinking backyard brew can be a style as interesting and complex as a sour.
Great South Bay Brewery Mango Starfish Summer Ale
The name of this beer says it all: Mango Starfish Summer Ale. This Great South Bay brew was made for embracing the moment on a warm, sunny day, both relaxing and livening up your afternoon or evening all at once. As a summer ale, it’s a light, crisp, easy-drinking showcase for subtle grainy malt sweetness and low-key fruity, botanical hops. Great South Bay could have left this brew there, as a simple, straightforward summer ale, but they upped the ante even more with a burst of mango. That tropical fruitiness really sings here, and this well-balanced beer will instantly transport you from that lawn chair on your stoop to a lounger on a secluded island.
Blue Point Brewing Blueberry Ale
This Blueberry Ale is similar to the Mango Starfish Summer Ale in concept, but is its own magical brew in flavor. Blue Point took a crisp, light and easy ale and turned the volume up with fruit, the ale a beautiful canvas for lots of tartness and sweetness. Each batch has 132 pounds of blueberries -- this ale is like the Veruca Salt of beers and we are all about it. It instantly brings to mind the Americana goodness of blueberry pie. Oh, and the Blueberry Ale is brewed with 100% American ingredients, so it was basically destined to be a Fourth of July must-have.
Dutchess Ales GB Pale Ale
The GB Pale Ale is a craft beer lover’s dream for a laid-back summer celebration. Dutchess Ales has both West Coast and United Kingdom roots, so this pale ale combines the classic malty-hop balance of a British pale ale with West Coast hoppiness that’s a little bitter and a lot bright. It’s fermented cool with Kölsch yeast, so there’s a clean finish to its element of haze and notes of apricot and citrus zest. Basically, this is where complex craft beer meets light and easy session drinking. Fans of IPAs, pale ales, lagers, and pilsners will all love this crowd-pleaser.
Folksbier Brauerai Pilsner
An American purveyor brews up a brilliant example of the classic German pilsner, and the finished product is essential for any barbecue fun. Folksbier makes its pilsner with a step mash that gives it lots of control over the malt flavor -- which, by the way, comes from a fine heirloom German pilsner malt here. They then hop it with Tettnang and Saphir for floral, peppery, perfumey notes. It all comes together in a lovely bouquet of aromas and flavors, just understated enough to blend with the clean character of this sip-all-day brew.
Mayflower Brewing Company Resistance is Fruitile Tropical Fruit Sour Ale
Pop open an exotic getaway with the Resistance is Fruitile Sour Ale from Mayflower. This brew is a kettle sour, meaning it’s soured in a stainless steel mash tun and fermented in a similar vessel, with the bacteria lactobacillus added. Lactobacillus is responsible for giving some of today’s best sours a burst of tart, fruity acidity -- if a brightly hued beer makes you pucker like you’re eating a Warhead, it’s probably a lactobacillus-infused kettle sour. As if that flavor wasn’t enough, Mayflower here added a whopping 500 pounds of tropical fruit, including mango, pineapple, passion fruit, and guava. Tiki drinks can take a backseat to the serious summer vibes of this beer.
Prairie Artisan Ales ‘Merica Farmhouse Ale
‘Merica is a real SMaSH. Which not only means it’s an instant hit, but also that it’s a single-malt and single-hop beer (get it?). SMaSH beers really display the aromas and flavors of the singular malts and hops they use. In this case, Prairie brewed ‘Merica with floor-malted pilsner malt and Nelson Sauvin hops, so you’re going to get crackery, white bready notes with fruity white wine elements. This beer’s farmhouse ale style is the perfect way to let that contrast shine: simple yet complex, flavorful but easy-drinking.
Coronado Brewing Company Leisure Lagoon Hazy Pale Ale
“Leisure Lagoon” sounds like the exact destination we’d like to spend our Fourth of July, so it makes sense that a beer named just that is what we’ll be drinking. Coronado captures the fusion of lazy lounging and rollicking fun that Leisure Lagoon conjures up in this pale ale. It’s got the juicy haze of an East Coast style and the bright, bitter citrus of a West Coaster, all smoothed by the malty-hop balance of a pale ale so it’s super easy-going and refreshing. If you need us, we’ll be tubing down a river with this brew in hand all Independence Day long.
Night Shift Brewing Lime Lite
Sensing a theme? We’ve carefully selected the absolute best of thirst-quenching, sessionable brews for the Fourth of July, because we know whatever your plans are, they probably involve savoring a whole day in the sunshine. The beers in this mix pack prove that “light” doesn’t mean “light on flavor,” and Night Shift’s Lime Lite is a shining example. Night Shift works its craft brewery magic on the straightforward light lager to magnify the subtle aromas and flavors of the easy-drinking beer style. Here, they’ve added a burst of brilliant lime for a finish that toes the line between perfect light beer and perfect beach cocktail. Who could think of a better backyard treat?
Collective Arts Brewing Audio/Visual Lager
We told you crushable lagers could still be packed with flavor, didn’t we? We’d never steer you wrong. And the Audio/Visual Lager from Collective Arts is oh so right. This lager is made with pilsner malt and brown rice for some nice depth to its easy-drinking grain character. Collective Arts added Wai-iti hops for some lime and mandarin citrus, bringing out a zingy punch of tartness and sweetness. Then, this lager was cold-aged for four weeks, so the finish is super clean and crisp. Maybe you should go ahead and pick up some extras of this one for your friends -- because you’re probably not going to want to share (no judgments here).
Industrial Arts Brewing Company Pocket Wrench New England Pale Ale
Indulge in all the juicy, hazy, cloudy, fruity, hoppy goodness of a New England-style IPA, but at the smooth and light pace of a pale ale. The Pocket Wrench from Industrial Arts manages to capture the notes of a tropical smoothie without any of the heaviness. Elements of citrus and spice mingle into a finished product that’s light, drinkable, balanced, and only 4.5% ABV. With this flavor profile, the Pocket Wrench will pair perfectly with some barbecued classics -- like grilled peppers or chicken seasoned with all your favorite herbs -- and some game-changers, like fish tacos with pineapple salsa.
Arrowood Farms Porch Beer
We love a beer that even suggests where it’s best enjoyed -- so helpful. The Porch Beer from Arrowood is a farmhouse ale made with the farm brewery’s own wild yeast and Cascade hops, and is then can-conditioned on maple syrup. That means this sessionable brew treats its lucky imbiber to a bit of funk, a bit of citrusy freshness, and a bit of sweetness. It’s pretty perfectly well-rounded. Sipping it on a porch watching lightning bugs or sparklers sounds like the ultimate Fourth, but we have a feeling that anywhere you drink this brew, you’ll have that warm, fuzzy, all-American feeling.