Labor Day is always a bittersweet holiday weekend: it marks the end of summer and the beginning of the school year, and even if you’re long out of the classroom, it usually means celebrating the joy of another great summer in the books and the bummer of cooler temperatures and shorter days.
It’s safe to say that this summer, in particular, has been the strangest most of us have experienced. Big travel adventures and big backyard gatherings turned into small nearby strolls and small meet-ups, six feet apart and masked.
For many, it’s also been the hardest summer, and the most challenging year. Labor Day has been honored since the 1890s, in recognition of the “social and economic achievement of American workers.” That acknowledgement feels especially poignant this year, as American workers have demonstrated Herculean efforts keeping our everyday lives going.
That’s why even though this summer has felt like no other, this Labor Day is more meaningful than ever. We hope that whatever your season looked like, you found time for sun, fun, self care, and catching up with family and friends, even if it was on a Zoom call on your porch. Let’s raise a glass, or a can, to the ways that we still made this summer special and ours. Let’s toast American workers and how they are the real superheroes. And let’s give a mighty “cheers” to the fact that we are strong and moving forward.
Because every summer deserves to go out with a big ol’ party, we put together the ultimate variety pack for the occasion. The “party” might not look the same this year, but we know it can feel the same. Good beers, good company, good vibes? Let’s do this Labor Day right!
Our “Work Hard, Play Hard” Variety 18 Pack features two of each nine totally different but totally complementary brews, perfect for sharing, celebrating, and savoring. Here’s the lineup:
EBBS IPA No. 2
To follow up the juicy, floral IPA No. 1, EBBS presents IPA No. 2: “Classic, piney, dank.” There’s no need for over-the-top flavor and aroma descriptors here. This beer is a love letter to the authentic and original IPA in all its glory. Being such a bold and singular example of its style, the IPA No. 2 is a great intro to IPAs, and it’s just as ready to meet the high standards of the sophisticated IPA connoisseur. Longtime IPA fans will love the definitive blast to the simpler West Coast IPA-driven past.
SLO Brew Cali Squeeze Hefeweizen
Although it takes place in Germany, the story of the hefeweizen is perfect for Labor Day: since the Reinheitsgebot beer purity law went into effect in 1516 limiting beer’s ingredients to water, hops, and barley, wheat beers could only be brewed by a few families contracted by the crown. In the mid-19th century, though, Georg Schneider was able to buy the remaining wheat beer operation from the royal family and founded Schneider Weisse, officially making wheat beer for the working people.
Today, breweries like SLO Brew get to add their own spins to the classically crisp and refreshing hefeweizen. The Cali Squeeze is like summer in a can with its blast of blood orange. Its citrusy balance of sweet and tart was made for these still-warm days, and this beer is so worthy of the celebrating that is Labor Day Weekend.
The Virginia Beer Company Liquid Escape Tart Ale
If you closed your eyes right now and imagined your dream summer drink, we promise it would taste something like the Liquid Escape Tart Ale from The Virginia Beer Company. Brewed with lemongrass and Austrian sea salt, this bright and crushable ale offers the best of all worlds with elements of beer, lemonade, and festive margaritas. This style is kettle-soured, meaning the notes of citrusy sweetness and acidity really shine through. It’s a must-have for Labor Day cookouts, as it will cut through rich barbecued meats and compliment lime-spritzed tacos.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company Flyjack Hazy IPA
They said it couldn’t be done (whoever “they” is). And Firestone Walker proved them wrong.
Firestone Walker are master innovators, so it’s no surprise the brewing company was able to unveil a quintessentially juicy, hop-loaded, hazy IPA that clocks in at under 100 calories. At 96 calories and 4% alcohol, the Flyjack Hazy IPA is what so many IPA fans have been waiting for. There’s finally an IPA with all of the flavor that’s still totally sessionable. Hazy IPAs have never been such a go-to for a marathon outdoor hang like Labor Day.
“We wanted to prove that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor for calories,” explained Firestone Walker brewmaster Matt Brynildson. And we’d just like to say, thank you for this gift.
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery 9 Mile IPA
The 9 Mile IPA is smooth and hoppy, a drinkable and refreshing burst of quintessential IPA flavors. A New England style, this juicy delight will satisfy all your needs for citrusy sweetness and tartness as well as a touch of resiny hop-bomb bitterness. Perhaps best of all is how good you’ll feel throwing this one back, because the 9 Mile IPA is a beer with a purpose.
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery is dedicated to philanthropy and especially to clean, sustainable water sources for all. This IPA ties into one of their key projects, which is working with the village known as 9 Mile in Jamaica. For every can sold, a portion of the proceeds goes toward creating access to clean water for this village.
Great South Bay Brewery Miami Sunrise Sour Ale
Most of us didn’t get to go on our summer vacations this year, and Great South Bay Brewery makes us feel seen. The Miami Sunrise Sour Ale is brewed with orange juice and cranberries for a cocktail sensation that immediately transports its lucky imbiber to a lounge chair under a palm tree. Right from that first crack of the can opening, you’ll feel the sand between your toes and hear the waves crashing on the shore. Is that even a sick beat you’re hearing? Go ahead and dance--that’s the beauty of this getaway-in-a-beer. You’re actually in your backyard, and you’re free to bust a move.
Mayflower Brewing Company Summer Belgian Session Ale
This aptly named Summer ale from Mayflower is a Belgian blonde, which brings to mind the inherently easy-drinking and refreshing nature of traditional Belgian beers from blondes to saisons. These light, dry, crisp ales have quenched the thirst of farmers and outdoor laborers for generations--another perfect nod to Labor Day.
Mayflower’s session-ale take on the style may be just the thing on a hot day, but frankly, we’d recommend it all year round. It always refreshes and its versatility means it pairs well with almost any dish, especially a big, lush salad or some sourdough bread and cheeses. Its mix of Belgian yeast, American hops, and rye and wheat malts give a beautifully simple style just the right amount of complexity, and its 3.8% ABV is well-suited to afternoons in the backyard (or on the fire escape).
Wild East Brewing Co. Whither Helles Lager
Wild East is a newer brewing company already making waves for its subtly modern yet pitch-perfect renditions of classic, long-loved beer styles. With a style as understated and straightforward as the helles lager, there’s no room to hide any flaws. Luckily, there are no flaws to hide in the Whither Helles Lager. This brew is a master class in one of beer’s most refreshing offerings. Wild East used traditional European brewing methods to create this lager, a showcase for pilsner malt that’s slightly sweet and grainy with just a hint of bitterness. It’s a treat for you and whoever you celebrate this Labor Day with.
Champion Brewing Company True Love Mexican-Style Lager
Mexican-style lagers are really having a moment and for one thing, that moment is overdue, and for another, we think such a moment should last forever. We challenge you to think of a time a Mexican-style lager isn’t a crushable and thirst-quenching delight--it can’t be done!
Mexican-style lagers derive from Vienna lagers. Mexico saw a wave of immigration from Germany and Austria in the mid-19th century. Austria’s Vienna lager caught on. The style is easy-drinking but malty, its toastiness balanced by a touch of noble-hop bitterness. Mexican brewers began adapting the Vienna lager to their own tradition of lighter, crisper beers. The result is a crowd-pleaser made for leisurely days outside. A collaboration with Cockfight Skateboards, Champion’s True Love is a study in the style: clean, light, and fresh.