A guide to this season’s summer beers at Louisville breweries

3rd Turn Brewing
Fruited Kolsch Swooly
The Fruited Kolsch Swooly is such a spectacular and underrated treasure in our city. With a low IBU of 10 and a 7.1-percent ABV, this beer will give you the warm and fuzzies, with the added glow of the jalapeño gently nipping at the back of your throat, cut ably by the sweetness of the fruits. You’re greeted with a golden and absolutely stunning body capped with a soft foam lace, a nose that is full of citrus, and a juicy finish.  

Against the Grain Brewery
Chasing The Horizon
Darker beer styles get a bad rap in the summer, the opposite of what you might expect for something to quench your thirst. But the Chasing The Horizon, a black Northeastern IPA from Against the Grain is a stone-cold stunner. Featuring a deep-brown body with a heavy foam, this beer has subtle chocolate and citrus notes, cut by a strong IPA presence. At 7.9 percent ABV, it is a heavy hitter, but perfect for sipping in the chilly night air, while posted up on a patio somewhere and shooting the breeze.

Akasha Brewing Co.
Big Time
Another Northeastern IPA, the Big Time is built on Akasha’s Any Time session IPA model. A milkshake IPA, the Big Time is a bit lighter than some of its competitors, with a 6.7-percent ABV. It is summertime take on a stout, with a deep-blonde, remarkable body that is completely opaque when held to the light. Capped with a thick head, this is a viscous beer, but one that balances the hoppy goodness with a juicy citrus pop. 

Apocalypse Brew Works
Watermelon Crack
As with 3rd Turn’s Fruited Kolsch Swooly, it would be criminal to exclude the Watermelon Crack, a welcome addition to virtually every summer drinking experience. The Watermelon Crack has a delightful, strawberry-tinted body, not quite a red, but not mead colored either — more like a delicate rosé color. This is the definition of a sessionable ale at 4.2 percent ABV and 20 IBU, a relaxing beverage for soaking up the shade and dodging the heat. 

Bluegrass Brewing Co.
Dark Cherry Sour
Definitely an oddball on this list, the Dark Cherry Sour is as advertised, a sweet, pastry stout, cut by that vinegary tang that is part and parcel to sours. A thicker beer by far, this is a dessert beer, the kind that you sip on after a fine meal, but one that is far less heavy than you might expect given the viscosity of the body. There is a Guiness-like appearance that is offset by the flavor, and it features a deep black body and soft tannish head, capped with a chocolate and cherry nose. With an only 4.2 percent ABV, this is sessionable and chill, a feat given the style of beer in that it never feels cloying or that it overstays its welcome. 

Donum Dei Brewery
Nebulae
A Northeastern IPA, the Nebulae greets you with a deep-golden body, translucent and shimmering in the sunlight, with virtually no head. There is a hoppy, fruited nose that invites you to savor the moment, not to just drink it down in a flash, but to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Clocking in at 6.3 percent ABV with an IBU 63, this is certainly a relaxing beer, far more than the bitterness units imply, with a flavor palate that yields a little more nuance with each subsequent taste. 

Falls City Brewing Co.
Te Kā
As a base, the IPA style of beers has gone through a number of changes over the years, with the most recent trend leaning into Northeastern or NEIPA-style milkshake IPAs — thick in body, but with a pleasing and fruity taste. The Te Kā moves in a different direction — it is a guava IPA with a burnt auburn-gold body, and 7.2 percent ABV that, while sweet, is unmistakably an IPA first and foremost. Capped with a soft foam lattice and hoppy notes at the nose, the Te Kā features a red color and a delicious front end, cut quickly by a hoppy, but smooth finish, which makes for a slow, but rewarding sipper. 

Flat 12 Bierwerks
Wine Barrel Saison
Unlike the Red Wine Saison at Goodwood, which features a Belgian-esque kick, there is much stronger wine presence on the Wine Barrel Saison. Built on the Flat 12 Spring Loaded base, there is a surprising smokiness that balances well with the sweeter wine overtones and hop forwardness of the base. At 7.6 percent ABV with an IBU 31, this is on the heavier end.

Floyd County Brewing Co.
Juice Box Heroes
A raspberry Hefeweizen with a deep lavender/orange body, the Juice Box Heroes from Floyd County is the beer you want to drink at midday, to get a nice buzz while getting your refreshment on. At 5.2 percent ABV and IBU 12, it offers a sweet and fruity nose, topped off with a creamy foam cap and deeply hued body for a beer that is not as tart or tangy as you’d expect. The raspberry is blunted by the wheaty hefeweizen flavor, making for a drink that is as juicy and easy as you’d expect, and with an equally pleasing aftertaste.

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Goodwood Brewing Co.
El Gozador
The second sour to make the list, the El Gozador is a tequila barrel-aged take on the Goodwood Hemp Gose, a tart and funky brew with enormous personality. At 5.12 percent ABV, there is enough tang to slow you down and savor the process. The El Gozador has an intoxicating, deep metallic gold tint and almost no foam ring, capped with a luscious, tangy nose, making for an especially handsome beer. 

Gravely Brewing Co.
La Bamba
Far and away the best definition of a lawnmower beer on this list, the La Bamba is a no-frills, lager-style beer that adds no adjuncts. This is an honest beer that hides beyond nothing, a light crystal clear body with an incredibly light foam lattice.  At 5 percent ABV and 15 IBU, this is your summer time jam, a crisp and light lager that recalls a domestic, but builds on that to bigger and better.

Great Flood Brewing Co.
Hermès
The house IPA of the Mercury Ballroom and The Louisville Palace, the Hermés IPA by Great Flood is a delectable beer that is refreshing. At 4.8 percent ABV, this is a beer lovers beer, with no tricks or gimmicks to carry it, and it really works. This is very unassuming, but it will exceed your expectations. 

Holsopple Brewing
Manilow’s Milkshake IPA
The spiritual counterpart to a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, The Holsopple Manilow’s Milkshake IPA is a thick beer that is opaque, imbued with a deep yellowish gold, rather than a dark hue. At 8 percent ABV, the Manilow’s Milkshake IPA is heavy in terms of alcohol content, but incredibly juicy, with a heavily fruited nose, and a heavenly hopped aftertaste, cut wonderfully by the citrus. This is an easy beer to drink, which, given the aforementioned, could be dangerous. 

Mile Wide Beer Co.
Brabble
The Mile Wide Brabble shares a lot of traits with the West Sixth Blonde, a crisp and Belgian-esque take on a blonde ale, meant here as a high compliment. This is straightforward with a light translucent blonde body, and capped off with a light head lace. At 4.9 percent ABV, it is as light as it is refreshing, an ideal companion to sitting back and kicking a few with your peeps.

Monnik Beer Co.
Keeping Up With the Droneses
A Belgian Brown Ale, or so it’s advertised, the Keeping up with the Droneses is nothing like what you’d expect. Clocking in at 9.5 percent ABV, this is heavy and pitch black, more like a stout in appearance than anything else. Part of the preparation process includes the introduction of bittering agents, which transforms this beer, almost as if by magic, to something truly transcendent and somewhat difficult to explain. There is a creaminess to the flavor, although the body is relatively thin. This is an incredible drink. 

New Albanian Brewing Company
Bananafish
There is more than a little hint of Franziskaner Hefeweizen in the New Albanian Bananafish, an amber ale that sits at 5.4 percent ABV and IBU 20, with a deep golden body. You can catch distinct banana notes at the head, which are never overwhelming upon first taste. The bananas and malts blend for a creamy body, smooth and easy to go down, making it a low-key citrusy treat to help beat the heat. Despite the creaminess, this isn’t a heavy beer, but one that, while not as thin as a lager, is equally as appealing on warm days.

Old Louisville Brewery
1st Street
Louisville brewers have really stepped up their IPA game this summer, and the Old Louisville Brewery is no exception. At 5.8 percent ABV, their 1st Street IPA is another citrusy and refreshing addition to the hoppy side, with a thick white head, and frothy foam cap. Made from Azacca hops, there are distinct tropical notes that not only yields a sweet taste, but a body that is more like a wit than a typical IPA. 

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