Last call: We asked Illinois craft-beer professionals and enthusiasts for the summer brews they look forward to most
I’m a huge fan of Art History’s Gravitace. I have been drawn to this beer since I first tasted it a few years back. It is the right mix of malt character with a thirst-quenching hop finish. I used to go to the famous Pilsner Urquel for my top summer beer. Now there is a match for that beer made right here locally.
— Kirk Kilker, Chicagoland Brews Cruise
Phase Three’s Pixel Density Lite is a summer favorite. All of the citrus flavors I love about Pixel Density, but the notch down in ABV makes it much more sessionable in the summer heat.
— Ben Ault
The two of us at Maple Leaf Coffee Roasters love the Summerly from Pollyanna and enjoy it at their Roselle location. It’s been a staple of our summer drinking season every year since it was launched. We’ve been frequenting the Roselare spot since it opened, and the patio upgrades there in the last few years have added to the fun of drinking this sweet, refreshing wheat ale on a hot summer day.
— Alex Behrens from Maple Leaf Coffee Roasters
Phase Three has a summer beer for me called called Orange Chantilly. It’s a cream IPA brewed with citra and simcoe hops with a hint of orange and vanilla. It is great on a hot summer day.
— James Inglis
Our Sandhill lager here at Kishwaukee Brewing Company is always a brewer’s favorite. It’s a dry-hopped 5.5% India pale lager that we have several runs of every year, and we should have a batch on draft through the fall. It’s really nice and fills that niche for the hophead who wants something a little crisper, a little cleaner and more refreshing, but still get that hop profile that’s important.
— Cara Payson, Kishwaukee Brewing Company
“The lemon cream sour from Church Street Brewing is my ride or die until the first leaf falls. The smoothest drinking beer I’ve tasted this season.” — Romeo & Brewliet
Currently, my favorite summer beers are Modelo Especial with a fresh lime wedge, and I’ve also been crushing Beach Blond, brewed by my good friends at Crystal Lake Brewing. They’re both great with most foods on the grill: burgers, brats and tacos, of course. (Yes I cook tacos on the grill) I’ve also been crushing Obscurity Brewing‘s Crazy Soul, our slightly coffee enhanced golden ale. Obscurity’s Nitro Vanilla Doom is also my current banger from my personal selection.
— Carson Souza, head brewer/meadmaker at Obscurity Brewing
With baseball season mid-swing, Brother Chimp Brewing roots for the home team with its clean American pilsner. Homer is pale in color and subtly dry with a low residual sweetness. Pleasantly crisp and refreshing, and with an ABV of 4.1%, this local North Aurora lager is perfect for an afternoon baseball game.
— Jessica Voigt, Brother Chimp Brewing
My go-to during the summer is definitely a lemon shandy or radler-style beer. … Toppling Goliath’s Camp Shandy Shore Lemon is a good one we can get here locally. I’m also a bit partial to the one we brew here at Analytical called Dog Days Shandy. It’s light, refreshing and not too sweet. — Brian Graves
My go-to during the summer is definitely a lemon shandy or radler-style beer. Once the temperatures start to rise, this is refreshing after mowing the yard, sitting on the patio or hanging out around a pool. It’s even great as a “shower beer.” The summer standard is Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. Toppling Goliath’s Camp Shandy Shore Lemon is also a good one we can get here locally. I’m also a bit partial to the one we brew here at Analytical called Dog Days Shandy. It’s light, refreshing and not too sweet.
— Brian Graves, Analytical Brewing
Geo, the Phase Three West Coast pilsner represents a style I’ve been intrigued by. I love hazy IPAs but have been drinking fewer of them and gravitating toward cleaner, crisper beers like West Coast pilsners, West Coast IPAs and cold IPAs. … West Coast pilsners are a refreshing style in the summer for sure.
— Ben Saller, Burnt City Brewing
I tried Tux and Flipper from Exit Strategy two years ago and then I had it again this year — and it tastes even better than I remember. My beer of the summer without question!
— Brewliet from Romeo & Brewliet on Instagram
I am going to go with Rosa, the hibiscus ale by Revolution. And there’s something about Hell or High Watermelon by 21st Amendment that just screams summer to me. — Jeremiah Zimmer, co-founder of Hop Butcher
The lemon cream sour from Church Street is my ride or die until the first leaf falls. The smoothest drinking beer I’ve tasted this season.
— Romeo from Romeo & Brewliet on Instagram
I am going to go with Rosa, the hibiscus ale by Revolution. And there’s something about Hell or High Watermelon by 21st Amendment that just screams summer to me. I don’t mean to be overly fruity with my selections, but those just hit the spot when it’s hot out.
— Jeremiah Zimmer, co-founder of Hop Butcher for the World