The 18 Best Canned Beers For Summer

The type of beer we drink changes as the year goes around. With the summer months fast approaching and warm weather and bright sunshine on the horizon, it will soon be time to ditch the stouts, porters, and other beer styles better suited for winter and move onto the crisp, refreshing suds of summer. 

Generally, the qualifications for a summer beer are quite simple: Intense double IPAs, super malt-forward, biscuity brews, and thick barrel-aged behemoths are better left behind while lighter and fruitier options move into our refrigerators. Furthermore, there is no better vessel from which to drink a sun-soaked beer than the classic can. Just the noise of cracking a cold one open is an experience better enjoyed in warm weather.

The beer options you will find when summer rolls in can be overwhelming. So, when you take a trip to the liquor store this summer in search of a crisp and refreshing beer, look out for these cans which are ideal for poolside sipping, backyard barbecues, or just chilling out on a Sunday afternoon.

Samuel Adams Summer Ale

Sam Adams is one of the most iconic American beer brands around. Its classic Boston Lager and seasonal releases can be found in nearly any bar in the country. Once summer rolls in, the Boston-based brewery keeps everyone refreshed with its Summer Ale.

Sam Adam's Summer Ale is an American wheat ale with a very citrus-forward character that is fueled by the peels of oranges, lemons, and limes. This beer has a mild bitterness from noble German hops, which keeps it crisp and bright instead of juicy and oversweet. Sam Adam's Summer Ale contains an ABV of 5.3%, which is a bit higher than many light beers, but its light body and bright character keep it as refreshing and drinkable as any beer out there.

Societe Brewing Company Light Beer

San Diego's Societe Brewing opened in 2012 and remains a standout in the city's crowded field of craft breweries. When the summer rolls in and the temperature rises, the brewery's 4.5% ABV Light Beer will be the one that unites everyone together in refreshment.

This beer is one of many in the Societe catalog, which also includes a range of IPAs, The Harlot blonde ale, and a hefty imperial stout known as The Butcher. It's a far cry from the straightforward and uncomplicated Light Beer which absolutely lives up to its name. This brew is a crisp, refreshing, easy-drinking delight that can be a reliable backbone in your cooler all summer long. There are no bells and whistles to distract from enjoying this simple pleasure.

Lagunitas Daytime IPA

Lagunitas offers some of the most readily available IPAs in stores and bars across the country, and Day Time is among the brewery's most recognizable offerings. This is a session IPA, a distinction simply meaning that it has less alcohol than your typical India Pale Ale. Though the ABV is only 4.0%, its flavor and hop-forward profile may cause a double take. This beer is actually inspired by the northern Californian coast, ripe with citrusy notes, eucalyptus, and mellow tropical flavor.

The Daytime IPA is a perfect summer beer because of its well-rounded flavor that is kept crushable with a light body and low alcohol content. If you prefer a beer that's hop-forward but won't weigh you down in the heat, this can is for you.

Sloop Brewing Co. Sauer Peach

Upstate New York's Sloop Brewing is a popular craft option throughout the Northeast. You can't go wrong with the brand's flagship Juice Bomb, a fruity, tropic hazy "Northeastern" IPA, but Sauer Peach takes the cake in terms of summertime refreshment. For those that tend to stay away from sours because they are too acidic and abrasive, this Berliner Weisse fermented with fresh peaches is far from that (in other words, there is no need to have Tums on hand).   

The mild wheat malt lays a steady foundation on which the stone fruit's tartness and sweetness can shine. It's that perfect balance of sour and sweet which makes this beer so successful. If you are able to find Sloop Brewing Sauer Peach this summer, skip the hard seltzer and grab a six-pack of this.

Founders Brewing Co. All Day IPA

Founders Brewing Co. is among the biggest names in the thriving Midwestern craft beer scene. While the brewery serves up a wide range of beers, its All Day IPA is the one that belongs in your fridge this summer.

This West Coast-style session IPA is brewed with a variety of malts and hops for a perfectly balanced, simple take on the style that will never be too heavy. If you're more bite to your beer than you'll find in a juicy hazy, New England-style IPA, but want to keep that ABV low, you'll want a case of this. The Founders All Day IPA is in fact a beer you can drink all day long, and its availability in 12 ounces, 16 ounces, and 19.2 ounces cans gives even more options for how you want to enjoy it.

Allagash White

Even if you're a casual craft beer drinker, you're probably familiar with Allagash. The brewery was founded in the early 1990s in Portland, Maine, and has become one of the most recognizable brands in the American craft beer industry.

The signature brew by Allagash is its white ale. This smooth, effortless beer is a Belgian-style wheat beer brewed with coriander and orange peels. If you are looking for a summer beer that is more complex and unique than the more simplistic, classic-tasting light beers out there, look no further than this one. Allagash White is bright and citrus-forward with subtle hints of spice layered on top. If you decide to enjoy this out of a cup, you may even be tempted to drop a slice of lemon or orange into it, but one of the brewery's founders swears that there is plenty of flavor and vibrancy in the beer already.

New Belgium Brewing Fat Tire

New Belgium was founded by the husband and wife team of Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch who brought traditional Belgian brewing home with them to Colorado after a cycling trip in Europe. The brewery's signature  Fat Tire is a classic amber ale that is ideal if you'd prefer a beer with a greater depth and body this summer season.

Amber ales typically have more of a malt presence and are medium-bodied, and are a departure from many of the beers on this list which skew lighter and fruitier. However, Fat Tire is just as refreshing. This beer will be instantly recognizable even if you have never had it before. It is brewed with traditional Belgian ale yeast for an inviting profile that is finished off with just the right amount of hop bitterness to cut off the malt. This beer is a keeper year-round and summertime is no exception.

Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing

Sierra Nevada is often credited with pioneering the American craft beer industry when it was founded in the late 1970s. Its signature Pale Ale was among the first of its kind to reach American palates and has inspired countless takes on the style ever since. Sierra Nevada specializes in West Coast-style IPAs, reflective of the environment it is made. Its own unique take on the hazy New England style, however, is just as admirable.

Sierra Nevada's Hazy Little Thing is the perfect IPA in the hot weather but still packs a punch with an ABV of 6.7%. This IPA is kept super crushable and refreshing through a variety of factors, including a combination of oats and wheat, being dry-hopped, and being less filtered. The hop profile that built Sierra Nevada shines bright in this beer, but is kept at ease with a juiciness that makes for a delicious IPA that straddles both coasts.

Brooklyn Summer Ale

This summertime favorite is courtesy of one of the pioneers of the modern craft movement. Brooklyn Brewery's Summer Ale is released and is available every year between March and August. Floral and zesty with a subtle hop profile, it's a great midway point between a light beer and an India Pale Ale. (If you have a friend who's hesitant to try hoppy beers, this would be a good starting point.)

 At 5.0% ABV, this mild pale lands right in the sweet spot when it comes to summer brews. This is another beer that is commonly sold in bottles as well as on draft at many bars that keep Brooklyn beers on rotation. But somehow, it's just more enjoyable out of the can.  

Zero Gravity Brewing Company Green State Lager

Zero Gravity Brewing Company is among the best craft breweries in Vermont which is saying a lot. Green State Lager is one of the brewery's four flagship beers, and while it may be one of the most straightforward brews on this list, that is exactly why it is a great option in the summer.

This beer is crisp and light but is also kept flavorful by the German pilsner malt and a combination of German and Czech hops. Another great aspect of this beer is that is sold in both 16 oz cans and 12 oz cans, so if you want to go for a full pint, you can.

Plus, by trying out Green State Lager directly at Zero Gravity's taproom in Burlington, you are directly supporting a great cause. Every month, the brewery donates one dollar of every Green State Lager sold in its taproom to a different non-profit. In March of 2023, for example, they are donating to Bee the Change, an organization working to restore bee habitats.

Cisco Brewers Whale's Tale Pale Ale

Cisco Brewers was founded in 1995 by native Nantucket islanders, who also wanted to represent their hometown's culture through beer. All of the beers in the Cisco Brewers lineup are inspired by the coastal lifestyle, and the Whale's Tale Pale Ale is the best of them.

What makes this pale ale stand out from others is that it is brewed in the English-style. This means it is made with English hops, East Kent Goldings to be exact, and English malt, in this case, Maris Otter malt. This makes for a beer that is not as common in the U.S. but is sure to get your attention. Whale's Tale is floral and slightly bitter from the hops and the strong malt drives the whole thing forward. This beer's ABV approaches 6.0% at 5.6%, but it remains a drinkable, refreshing beer that packs a slightly bigger punch.

3 Floyd's Brewing Zombie Dust

If you are a passionate hop-head and believe there is no off-season for enjoying hop-forward beers, Zombie Dust by 3 Floyd's Brewing will satisfy that craving. This beer is a pale ale that is bursting with hops and is a firm 6.5% ABV. The Munster, Indiana brewery is keen on its hops, and this beer is available year-round in case you want to get a head start.

All the beers from 3 Floyds, including Zombie Dust, have labels designed by comic artists, a collaboration between the two art forms that is unique, fun, and always eye-catching. The Zombie Dust label, for example, was designed by an artist named Tim Seeley. Zombie Dust is more commonly found in glass bottles, but it is also sold in cans as well.

Live Oak Brewing Company Hefeweizen

This highly-touted hefeweizen is well-deserving of a try this summer, but, unfortunately, you can only do so if you live in Texas. Live Oak is a brewery located in Austin and while it offers plenty of stellar brews, its hefe reigns supreme. Hefeweizens are a traditional German beer characterized by their strong wheat presence, hazy appearance, and effortlessly smooth palatability. This makes for a particularly great beer during the summertime, as their floral character, moderate hops, and citrusy flavor make them a refreshing and crushable brew.

Live Oak's hefeweizen is one of the best expressions of the beer style out there. It is the second highest-rated hefeweizen on Beer Advocate, with an average rating of 4.34 with over 1,800 ratings. If you are a Texas resident or find yourself there this summer in need of a quenching beer, this one is sure to come in handy.

Westbrook Brewing Co Key Lime Pie Gose

Dessert-inspired beers are usually designated to styles like stouts, porters, and milkshake IPAs, but this summer sipper is one that comes in the form of a gose. These traditional German wheat beers is made with coriander and have a certain salinity to them, making them comparable to sours in their sharpness and twang.

Though Westbrook Brewing Co. offers an excellent standard gose, the key lime version is even better. The beer combines key limes, cinnamon, and vanilla, along with the standard combo of salt and coriander. Key lime pie is one of the best desserts to enjoy in the summer, and its bright refreshment is enhanced even more through this beer. Westbrook Brewing only releases Key Lime Pie Gose between March and October, so be sure to take advantage of a six-pack of cans if you are fortunate enough to come across it.

Lawson's Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine

Lawson's Finest Liquids is another staple in the haven of craft breweries that is Vermont. While many of the brewery's offerings are only available locally, Sip of Sunshine thankfully gets distribution throughout the Green Mountain state and beyond. This IPA comes in at a fairly hefty ABV of 8% but remains super juicy, tropical, and easy to quaff.

The beer happens to be a cousin of Lawson's sensational Double Sunshine IPA. If you have been fortunate enough to try both, you will notice differences in the type of hops and malt, but the concept of a vibrant and juicy IPA best enjoyed in the sun is executed to the same great degree. This beer's appearance actually isn't as hazy as you might expect, but its fruitiness and balance of the bold hops make it a great representation of New England brewing.

Firestone Walker Brewing Co Pivo Pils

Pilsners are one of the most popular styles of beer because of their classic taste and easy drinkability. The style belongs to the Czech Republic, but the German take on the pilsner is unique in its own way. German pilsners (or pils) differ by being drier and sharper, and putting more of an emphasis on the hops than on the malt. The malt in a German pils still makes for an easily drinkable beer, which is a combination that makes them so great.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company presents its take on this classic German beer with Pivo Pils which utilizes West Coast hops to dry hop the beer for a great balance of bite and palatability. The mild sharpness and refreshing nature of this 5.3% ABV pilsner is exactly what you want in a summer beer. 

Dogfish Head Seaquench Ale

Dogfish Head is among the biggest names in the craft beer world and Seaquench Ale may just be the unsung hero of the Delaware brewery's lineup. The sour beer takes inspiration from a traditional Kolsch, gose, and Berliner Weisse. The result is a beer that is bright, tart, and completely unique. The well-roundness attained by bridging these three different styles together provides every aspect of a great summer beer in one can. 

The touch of saltiness at the end of each sip will transport you directly to the seaside, the ideal location enjoy this beer by the way. At just 4.9% ABV, you will not have to think twice about putting a couple of these brews back. All you need to focus on is the bounty of flavors and dimensions in every single sip.

Anderson Valley Brewing Company Tropical Hazy Sour Ale

Back when Anderson Valley started operations in 1987, it was one of only 20 craft breweries in the U.S. Over the ensuing decades, new and experimental beers have been the bread and butter of the Northern California stalwart, and its Tropical Hazy Sour is proof positive of that.

Guava and passion fruit are added to the kettle sour during fermentation, and the fruit duo brings this beer to life. Tropical Hazy Sour Ale actually fits the qualifications of a gose, and its hint of salinity on the back palate is just another reason why this brew is so great. It is rich in flavor, hazy and juicy, but still easy to drink at just 4.2%, plus each can only contains 9 carbs and 120 calories. Whether or not you're a fan of sours or not, this one deserves a try.