As warmer weather finally approaches, it’s time to ditch those hop-laden double IPAs and boozy 10%-and-above stouts. (Not that there’s anything wrong with ‘em!) Your beach days, barbecues, and nighttime bonfires (hopefully with s’mores) require super drinkable beers. Think along the lines of refreshing session IPAs and pale ales, non-assertive sours, and even a couple of lighter stouts. The following beers are from breweries that you’ve likely heard of and a few others that you need to know about.
Ultra Modern American (American Pale Ale, 5.8%)
Common Roots Brewing Company; South Glen Falls
This list is in no particular order, but I confess to putting this double-dry-hopped gem first because it’s currently my favorite NYS beer. It starts out hoppy, but it’s equally balanced with sweet tropical fruit notes. Even non-hopheads will express how freakin’ tasty it is.
Juice Bomb (New England-style IPA, 6.5%)
Sloop Brewing Co.; Elizaville
The phrase “looks like juice” is dead-on when describing this cloudy, unfiltered Sloop creation. The golden-colored IPA sips as if someone squeezed a couple tangerines in the glass, but it finishes with bitterness.
Rosetta (Belgian Kriek, 5.6%)
Brewery Ommegang; Cooperstown
Tart, sweet, refreshing all describe this bright, palatable cherry brew. When I first got into the sour style, Rosetta (it’s just a touch sour) was my introduction and first sour love.
Mother’s Milk (Milk Stout, 5%)
Keegan Ales; Kingston
Forget that nonsense that winter is stout season. When the sun goes down, break out the dessert, and pair it with this sweet, creamy, milk chocolatey Kingston classic.
PHOTO COURTESY ENORMOUS CREATIVE
Effortless Grapefruit IPA (Session IPA, 4.5%)
Captain Lawrence Brewing Company; Elmsford
For the past few years, CLBC’s Effortless Grapefruit has been one of my go-to local pickups, especially in the summer. Its low ABV and perfect ratio of hops to grapefruit make it an ideal cookout beer that’s suitable for guzzling.
Wrench (American IPA, 6.8%)
Industrial Arts Brewing Company; Garnerville
There’s a reason Wrench sells out fast when beer stores put it out: Its fruity fragrance, combined with juiciness, hops, and haziness, make it a must for lovers of New England-style IPA. Overall, Industrial Arts’ lineup of beers is above average, so a day trip to their Rockland County brewery should be in your plans.
Paramount (American Pale Ale, 5.4%)
Peekskill Brewery; Peekskill
This beer, named after Peekskill’s Paramount Theater, is easily one of the brewery’s best. A reformulated version of the first beer they ever brewed, its citrus, tropical fruit, and floral aromas draw you in, while its crisp, hoppy ending evens it out.
Photo by Andrew Dominick
Bake Sale (Oatmeal Stout Nitro, 5%)
Yonkers Brewing Co.; Yonkers
Is there a more appropriate name for an oatmeal stout? Available at the brewery and in cans, Bake Sale is a nitro, so it’s got a silky mouthfeel that goes well with its subtle sweetness.
Photo by Andrew Dominick
Mise En Place Wit (Belgian-style Witbier, 4.6%)
The Brewery at the CIA; Hyde Park
Reminiscent of Allagash White due to it being brewed with coriander and orange peel, this unfiltered Belgian is a must-get when visiting the Culinary Institute of America. It’s exclusively available on the CIA campus, but that’s not a bad thing: Take a tour, eat, drink, and get a growler to-go.
Lucy’s Sour Strawberry Wheat Ale (American Pale Wheat Ale, 6%)
Broken Bow Brewery; Tuckahoe
This occasionally offered specialty beer is brewed with loads of fresh strawberries that make it tart (but not puckeringly sour). It reminds me of those old-fashioned strawberry candies that your grandparents might keep around.