Best Craft Beers for Summer and Where to Get Them in Metro Phoenix
Summer is officially upon us, which means it’s time to break out the light, crisp, summer brews. We’ve rounded up six craft beers that should be in your fridge, cool box, or pint glass right now.
Founders PC Pils
Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids, Michigan
5.5% ABV, 45 IBU
Pleasantly crisp and perfectly clean, PC Pils is an American take on the classic European Pilsner style that replaces traditional floral hop characteristics with a citrus-meets-pine character. While Noble hops of Germany and the Czech Republic have been the preferred choice of Pilsner brewers for centuries, Founders put an American spin on this brew by using some of the most popular American varieties for their blend of piney Chinook, citrusy Cascade,and orange-like Centennial. American hops, by nature, tend to be a little more aggressive with a bigger feel than their European counterparts, and their use in this beer, along with its above average ABV of 5.5%, give it an initial “bigger than pilsner” sensation that quickly fades into the familiar pilsner crisp, clean finish.
Find it in Phoenix: Available in 15 packs, PC Pils is perfect for that weekend outdoor activity and can be found at Total Wine or at any of these craft-centric bottle shops.
Schofferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen
Schofferhofer Brewing Company, Germany
Schofferhofer claims to produce the world’s first hefeweizen grapefruit beer, and we’re not here to argue. Best served cold, it’s a true 50/50 blend of Schofferhofer Hefeweizen and carbonated juice, which results in a low ABV of 2.9%. The grapefruit provides a zesty, tart character that works well with the traditional banana and clove of hefeweizen. This is a refreshing, easy-drinking, lighter-bodied wheat beer that is perfect for sipping throughout a hot, sunny afternoon.
Find it in Phoenix: Find Schofferhofer in many grocery stores; it’s almost always in stock at Sprouts Farmers Markets or grab one at Brat Haus, 3622 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale.
Mexican Amber Lager
Pedal Haus Brewery, Tempe
4.4% ABV, 18 IBU
Also known as an Austrian Vienna lager, a reference to the birthplace of the style, most “Vienna” lagers are now produced in Mexico. As the story goes, when Mexico won its independence, Maximilian proclaimed himself Emperor of Mexico and, like many of the Europeans who had migrated into Mexico, he craved the taste of familiar beers from his homeland, Vienna. This particular lager is made right in Tempe by brewmaster Derek “Doc” Osborne. It is a fantastic beer for hot Arizona summer days, and pairs especially well with food as the hops and carbonation act as a natural palate cleanser making every bite taste like the first. Try it with saucy meat, chicken, and pork, or good old-fashioned red-sauce Italian food.
Find it in Phoenix: Go to the source, Pedal Haus at 730 South Mill Avenue in Tempe.
Phoenix Ale Brewery, Phoenix
4.8% ABV, 20 IBU
Watermelon Ale is an American wheat beer infused with watermelon flavors that are added during conditioning. This process provides a fresh, lingering watermelon finish. Located in the heart of the city, Phoenix Ale Brewery & Kitchen has a full service menu to pair with your refreshing summer ale, which pairs especially well with summertime classic, chicken fried chicken and smashed red bliss potatoes.
Find it in Phoenix: Have a pint of Watermelon ale at the Phoenix Ale Brewery & Kitchen, 3002 East Washington Street.
Huss American Lager
Huss Brewing Company, Tempe
4.7% ABV, 12 IBU
This is one of the finest lagers produced in the state of Arizona. It’s flavorful, refreshing, palate cleansing with a crisp finish. Hopped with German Tradition hops, the pleasant aromatics capture your senses before the glass reaches your lips, and they carry through to the finish. Brewmaster Jeff Huss’ use of authentic pilsner malt provides a soft, grainy flavor and mouthfeel that sits light on the palate. Carbonation is on the high end, which increases the refreshing quality of the beer. This Husstler summer seasonal is available from Memorial Day through the end of September.
Find it in Phoenix: This beer is available from Memorial Day through the end of September at both Huss Brewing locations: 1520 West Mineral Road in Tempe, and the taproom at 100 East Camelback Road. American Lager is also available in cans at many craft beer shops around Metro Phoenix.
This article first appeared in The Phoenix New Times June 20, 2017.