“There’s a palate trend forming—people are gravitating towards cider and cider-type flavors,” says Andrew Edmonson, tech adviser at Pour My Beer, a self-serving drink system company. After reviewing statistics compiled by the company’s self-pour software in a number of locations, Edmondson found that ciders were quickly rising in popularity. “Even in places where there were more beer options than cider, it was all the ciders and sours that are killing the rest of the beers.”
A good option is Boston Beer Company’s Angry Orchard Rosé cider, says Cindy Busi, beverage director at national brand Yard House. “Subtle notes of raspberries and a hint of sweetness complement the clean cider profile,” she says of the brew recently added to the restaurant’s national menu.
Every summer, pale ales and their big brother India Pale Ales (ipas) surge in demand. A huge variety of flavors are available—from piney and dank to tropical and juicy—but two quintessential summer brews are the Two Hearted Ale from Bell’s Brewery and Founders Brewing Company’s All Day IPA, which plays off the IPA craze and the trend toward low-ABV offerings. “So often we hear from fans that hate IPAs or other hoppy beers but love Two Hearted,” says Josh Smith, communications manager at Bell’s. “Two Hearted is our best-selling beer.”
Samuel Adams’ new hybrid Sam ‘76 is also “sure to be a great addition to any tap wall this summer,” says James Meadours, restaurant and bar manager of Krause’s Biergarten & Cafe in New Braunfels, Texas.
“Lagers are often forgotten in the mix as a less sexy beer,” says Dave Delaplaine, general manager and beer director of Washington, D.C. taphouse Roofers Union. But beer drinkers are slowly gravitating away from high-ABV brews in favor of lighter, lower alcohol options like session beers, which are generally 5 percent ABV or less.
“Solid Gold [lager] is the latest release to our year-round lineup,” says Francesca Jasinski, communications manager at Founders. With an approachable flavor profile and 4.4 percent ABV, it’s a great beer to pair with sushi, a variety of soft, pungent cheeses, or summery desserts like lemon meringue pie.
Bell’s Oberon Ale, an American wheat ale, is widely available during summer, but remains as in-demand as many rarer releases. “It literally is summer,” Smith says.
Tucker Beglin of Blatt Beer & Table in Omaha, Nebraska and Dallas agrees with Smith’s sentiment. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a better American-style wheat beer for hot summer days than Oberon.”
In this category, Pizzimento of Horseshoe Pub & Restaurant also recommends Harpoon Brewery’s UFO White ale and Paulaner’s Hacker-Pshorr Hefe Weisse as solid picks.