Summertime and the Living’s Easy

Story by David Thorp

This summer, consider seasonal beers and ales as your source of hydration. From wheat beers, fruit flavors, crisp lagers to summer ales, the choices are virtually limitless—and the cost is surprisingly affordable.

These five beers were selected by the staff at Flights especially for the Southport and Oak Island summer heat. Flights, a new tapas bar serving wine and craft beer, is now open at 1513-9 N. Howe Street in Southport.

De Brabandere / Brewery Bavik
Bavikhove, Belgium
ABV: 5%
Since 1894, Brewery Bavik, Belgium’s oldest family-owned brewery, has been crafting this delicious wit beer. Using a percentage of oatmeal to skirt the strict 25% wheat requirements of Belgian law, this blend gives an exceptional summer taste. Light hints of orange peel and coriander finish with just a hint of spice. Ideal for light beer drinkers, pair this one at cook outs or just chilling at Caswell Beach. It’s available in a can version, too.

Tangerine Wheat
Lost Coast Brewery
Eureka, California
ABV: 5.5%
The women at Lost Coast Brewery have a solid summer hit. Humboldt County may be better known for other recreational good times than beer but don’t let that discourage you from giving this citrus bombshell a try. Using the novel idea of adding real fruit juice to the brewing process instead of as a garnish, this beer refreshes like few others. Great on its own or paired with any seafood at your next Oak Island cookout.

Ballast Point Pale Ale
Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits
San Diego, California
ABV: 5.2%
San Diego’s other brewery scores big with this misnamed summer favorite. It’s a Kolsch style any way you look at it, with borderline Pilsner qualities. This hybrid uses Munich and American malts to tone down the hops and produces a frothy cross between a warm fermented ale and a cold aged lager. This ale is super easy to like no matter how many times you try it. Recommended as a reward after mowing the lawn in Smithville Woods or downtown Southport.

Hell or High Watermelon
21st Amendment Brewery
San Francisco, California
ABV: 4.9%
This is a real San Francisco treat from 21st Amendment Brewery. As the name implies, this wheat classic has watermelon—lots of it. But the good kind, not the artificial kid-candy type. Light carbonation and slight malting make this appealing to even non-beer drinkers. But people that know 21st Amendment will recognize the quality that goes in all of their products. Back yards on the Big Lake in BSL provide the perfect setting for this watermelon treat.

Dixie Lager
Dixie Brewing Company
New Orleans, Louisiana
(now contract brewed in Wisconsin due to Hurricane Katrina)
ABV: 4.5%
The New Orleans classic is not technically a craft beer. However, its rarity puts it in the running. From hurricanes to brewery management problems, this lager still endures. Classified as an American adjunct lager—a polite way of saying, “They add extra starches for cost containment”—Dixie still has the unique quality of an old-school corn-based lager. Throw in 90 days of aging in 100-year-old cypress barrels and the notion of pre-Katrina Big Easiness—and, well, you get the idea. Pair this lager with any style of shrimp in St. James and you might just hear someone whistling Dixie.

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