Best Beers for the Summer










Best Beers for the Summer
Take it from the experts, craft beers cool your summer thirst!
STORY & photos BY: James Hobbs,
Owner of The Grape & Ale, 2017 Maggie Winner for best beer selection
Thanks to the constant emerging growth of breweries in North Carolina as well as around the world, today’s beer lover has a broad spectrum of styles to choose from that will satisfy everyone’s personal taste.

Whenever I think of what will quench my thirst on the hot and hazy days to come on Oak Island, I do not think of porters or stouts, although for me, having a small serving of either of those two after dinner is like having a fine port.
Rather, I want something light and cold…say for example a kolsch, pilsner, American Pale Ale, a fruity beer, a gose, a saison, a wheat or wit beer, or a session IPA. Different styles of beers are separated and characterized by the different kinds of yeast used as well as fermentation methods.
Kolsch was born in Cologne Germany and can best be described as light, crisp, and quaffable – always begging for another sip. To experience a broad spectrum of this style, be sure and try Gaffel Kolsch from Germany as well as a couple of our domestic selections such as Gateway Kolsch, and Clown Shoes Mango Kolsch.
American Pale Ales (APA) are clean and less hoppy than an India Pale Ale (IPA) with a nice balance of both malts and hops. The British version of an APA is more malty and buttery. Check out Dale’s Pale Ale by Oskar Blues, or Invasion Pale Ale by Cigar City Session IPAs such as Coastwise by Coronado are less heavy than the traditional IPAs in terms of alcohol content and hoppiness.
A Gose is a style of beer that uses wild yeast and is termed as a “sour beer.” This is a fast growing segment of today’s beer market. In fact, there is a new store in Wilmington called The Sour Barn that specializes in sour beers only. A couple of my favorites are Westbrooks Gose, Westbrooks Key Lime, when available, or Destilh’s Wild Sour Blueberry Gose.
Always and forever popular are the wheat or wit beer styles that include Hefeweizen (“yeast wheat”) or wheat beer in its traditional, unfiltered form. Great combinations of styles of wheat beers include some of the fruity selections such as Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat and Avery’s Haili Kialiki.
One of The Grape & Ale’s best sellers in the summertime is Stiegel Grapefruit Radler. A shandy style beer, this one only has 35 calories per 12 oz serving and is super refreshing.
To wrap this up be aware that bottles are not allowed on the beach on Oak Island. Canned beer is more widely accepted than in years past due to the materials used to produce them. Gone are the sometimes “tinny” tastes on the palate that you got from canned beers. The good news is The Grape & Ale has a wide variety and selection of beer in cans that will quench your summertime thirsts.



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