Although summer is more of a formality than an actual seasonal shift for North Texans, the end of school and a national holiday or two offer some unique opportunities for themed beer consumption. While your options might seem simple — lagers, limes, drink, repeat — we like to think that DFW’s breweries offer a broader range of pints for the rites of the season. We’ve paired five of our favorite local beers with five of the most recognizable activities for this time of year — because there ain’t no cure like these summertime brews.
Solidarity with the neighborhood lemonade stand: The Salty Lady (Martin House)
Summertime offers North Texas youths the chance to make a little extra fidget spinner money by setting up shop as the neighborhood lemonade stand. All it takes are a sleeve of Dixie cups and a few scoops of Country Time mix in a pitcher of water to put these elementary school entrepreneurs in business. After you’ve ponied up your 50 cents to support local business, consider grabbing a sixer of Martin House Brewing’s Salty Lady to drink in solidarity with those pint-sized startups.
The Salty Lady is a gose, which, along with the Berliner Weisse, is the most summer-friendly of sour beers. Faithful to traditional recipes, Martin House includes salt and coriander in its brew, but the final result recalls nothing so much as Vietnamese salty lemon soda. It’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s sour, it’s bitter — and, at 5.2 percent alcohol by volume, it won’t slow you down if you're called on for some lemonade stand consultation.
If you love the Salty Lady, you'll especially love Martin House's latest release: the Imperial Salty Lady, which it describes as the "same great beer, just amped up the ABV to 9 percent."
Cuss-free completion of dad jobs: Dadgum IPA (Rahr & Sons)
Father’s Day has just passed, and after receiving a new tie and 24 hours of appreciation, dads will once again be tasked with those thankless household chores. Clearing gutters, edging the yard, taming the chaos of the garage — that’s freaking hard work, man, especially if there are little kids around and Pops is doing his damnedest not to drop some profanity in the process. Give the old man in your life some extra props for carrying off his duties swear-free and pour him a Dadgum IPA from Rahr & Sons, which released this juicy new brew in April.
Rahr bills the Dadgum as its take on a West Coast IPA. This ale delivers the juicy, citrusy hop profile of that style (thanks to a combination of Eureka, Citra and Lemondrop hops) along with a respectable 6.6 percent ABV, but it drinks much more like a mellow session IPA than a Cali palate-wrecker. With the aroma of the pine with which Dad will someday build that deck, Dadgum is the best toast you can offer your favorite paterfamilias.
Hanging out in a body of water: Lakeside Cerveza (Woodcreek Brewing Co.)
While we advise against trying to tube in the Trinity, you can’t beat North Texas’ many man-made bodies of water to keep the heat at bay. Be it kiddie pool or Lake Ray Hubbard, spending hours under the beating sun calls for beers that skew light, low-alcohol and local. Rockwall’s Woodcreek Brewing Co. has crafted the Lakeside Cerveza to satisfy those requirements.
A blond ale billed as a “Mexican-style beer,” the Lakeside Cerveza manages a few curve balls for a poolside chugger. Despite being a crystal-clear pour, the Lakeside has a heftier mouthfeel than other, wispier riffs on Mexican styles. It also presents an unexpected creaminess and a malty oomph that belie its aggressively filtered appearance. Overall, it drinks more like a hearty, refreshing Kellerbier than some macro-micro compromise. Don’t forget your waterproof koozie.
Keeping your sanity on the Fourth of July: Dreamcrusher (Deep Ellum Brewing Co.)
Given our current political climate, the temptation to skip out on the family’s Fourth of July barbecue, hole up with microwaved hot dogs and repeat viewings of Independence Day instead is strong. If that’s not an option, well, it might take some of the strong stuff to get you through any sociopolitical conversations with the fam. We suggest Deep Ellum’s Dreamcrusher.
Dreamcrusher is a double IPA brewed with a dash of rye and some patriotic-sounding hops — Liberty, Apollo, Columbus, Representational Democracy. (We might have misread that last one.) It pours waves-of-grain amber and, at 9.5 percent ABV, drinks with the power of Captain America punching a thousand Hitlers in the face. Sip or shotgun, depending on your situation, and hold out for the desirable kind of fireworks.
If a double IPA is a little too intense for you this summer, check out DEBC's new Summer Mix Pack, a mixed 12-er filled with Dallas Blonde, Deep Ellum Lager, Neato Bandito and the new Deep Summer, an ale made with hibiscus, lemon peel and chamomile flowers that you can only snag in the pack.
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Thermostat at 60 and chill: Black Ale (Tupps Brewery)
Let’s be real: If you’re even remotely close to a sane person, you’ll be spending your days in the iceberg embrace of Texas-strength air conditioning. Perhaps as you point and laugh at the poor, sweaty souls staggering outside from the comfort of your living-room igloo, you will relish the chance to drink something wildly seasonally inappropriate — something like Tupps’ Black Ale.
This sweet stout is equal parts roasty and sweet, like burnt toast soaked in the leftover milk from your Lucky Charms. It’s got a lighter body and lower ABV (just 5.4 percent) than other stouts on the local market — a summer-weight stout, if you will — so you can drink a few over the course of an afternoon-into-evening as you cuddle beneath a blanket and thank your lucky stars for the thermostat. Just don’t chill the glass. That would be overkill.