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Your Beermonger: Fourth of July Beers, 2014 Edition

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Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

What else did you think I’d be writing about this week? The Independence Day holiday falls on a Friday this year; it’s like a perfect storm of reasons to celebrate, and so we shall. Pool parties, cookouts, World Cup watching parties, you name it — there is reason after reason this weekend to crack open some great American beers.

Here are some of the brews that will be in my cooler this Fourth, and some recommendations for great summer party beers:

Three Brothers Drift: Not only is this my favorite new Session Pale (though at 5 percent ABV, it’s not technically a Session Ale), but it may be my favorite new beer of the summer. An abundance of Citra hops makes for a boldly flavored Pale Ale that is also refreshing; seemingly “evaporating” on the palate as my friend at their distributor says. Each swig of Drift invites you to the next, and you’re happy to oblige. It’s delicious, 5 percent, and comes in tallboy cans — I love this beer.

Devils Backbone Gold Leaf Lager: This is the beer to keep around for those friends of yours who say they just want a “beer.” Anyone can pop open a can of Gold Leaf and enjoy it. A light, easy-going malt profile and just enough hops to keep things crisp make Gold Leaf a great option for big crowds who usually drink more “mainstream” beers.

Abita Strawberry Lager: Don’t look at me like that. My love for Strawberry Lager is well-documented, so of course I’ll have some on-hand for the holiday. Bright in feel, with a bittersweet fruit note that never feels artificial or cloying, Abita Strawberry Lager is a mainstay in my fridge for as long as it’s available every year, and especially this Fourth of July.

Sixpoint Rad: This new seasonal from Sixpoint keeps winning me over a little more with each can I open. A riff on Radler, a blend of soda and beer popular in German-speaking countries and beyond, Rad blends a proprietary fruit juice blend rather than a sweeter soda, with interesting results. While my beloved Stiegl Grapefruit Radler is sweeter and easier to plow through, Rad has a tinge of mouth-puckering grapefruity acidity that defines the beer’s finish. Mandarin orange and peach notes dance on the palate, but Rad never loses touch with its acidity. At 3.2 percent ABV, Rad is a great option for a go-to sipper if you’re going to be outside for long stretches. You can also make cool little mimosa-type drinks with it if you have some sparkling wine around.

Hardywood Capital Trail Pale Ale: If you like your Pale Ales on the earthier, hoppier side, this beer is for you. I’ve developed a mild obsession with Capital Trail Pale since its release near the end of April. It’s a perfect (to me) take on the modern American Pale Ale: lots of dry-hopping gives it a touch of resinous, piney character but not so much that you think it might as well be an IPA. Great beer.

Port City Brewing Downright Pils/Derecho Common: No matter which version of Port City’s Pilsner you opt for, you’ve got a great summer beer on your hands. I personally lean toward Downright myself, but Derecho has a smoothness on the palate and a fullness to its hop character that many prefer, and it is a delightful seasonal release.

Founders All Day IPA: It’s hard not to love All Day, especially in its new “Brewer’s Dozen” 15-pack can format. A 15-pack or two (or three) are all you need to make a party happy. The green of the All Day can is becoming immediately recognizable to more and more beer fans every year, and with good reason.

Anderson Valley The Kimmie, The Yink, And The Holy Gose: This is an easy winner for “Least Expected Seasonal Release of the Year”, and a great beer to boot. An early lactic acid addition makes Holy Gose much more tart and intense than a traditional version, but I really like it. This kind of acidity isn’t for everyone, but the low alcohol (4.2 percent ABV) and tart, lemony citrus notes make Holy Gose a winner in my book.

I could go on and on with the great beers that could work for your Independence Day celebrations (Devils Backbone Vienna Lager and Striped Bass Pale Ale; Schlafly Pale Ale, Kolsch; Bell’s Oberon (now in cans!); SweetWater 420, IPA, Blue), but I’ve got a grill to get going. What will you all be enjoying this weekend? Let’s hear about it, and no matter what you’re drinking this weekend, I hope you have a fun and safe Independence Day.

Until next time!

Nick Anderson maintains a blog at, and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings at The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Community discussion guidelines: Our sponsored columns are written by members of the local business community. While we encourage a robust and open discussion, we ask that all reviews of the businesses — good or bad — be directed to another venue, like Yelp. The comments section is intended for a conversation about the topic of the article.

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