Ale? Yeah.

A beer meant for the grilling months

Kölsch may be the beer of summer.

As anyone who's tasted Magnolia's venerable Kalifornia Kölsch knows, this pale, low-alcohol style of ale, which originated in Cologne, is an easygoing companion. It's the kind of guy you sit next to at a party and chat with for the rest of the night.

With more local breweries producing kölsches these days, it's now an even easier beer to spend time with.

Iron Springs' Kent Lake Kölsch ($6 for 22 ounces at Healthy Spirits), named after the Marin lake that provides the water for the beer, may be the most classic local kölsch on the market, with that style's traditional light malts, soft citrus notes and subtle hops.

Mill Valley Beerworks' Sweetwater Kölsch ($6) is the house beer of choice for many diners, owing to the beer's versatility. Its grain-forward aroma and minuscule, fast-rising bubbles pair equally well with the kitchen's grilled Little Gem lettuces and short ribs agrodolce.

Calicraft's Cali Cöast ($6 for 22 ounces at the Franklin Whole Foods), brewed with barley grown near the Sierras, has the crispest edge of the three, with a clean finish that murmurs, "Take me to the beach," even on a foggy day.