Summer is finally here, and so are these crushable, low-ABV beers
A great summer beer needs to be refreshing enough for those sun-soaked afternoons at the cottage—but if it’s too strong, you might not make it to campfire time. To solve that problem, Toronto’s brewers have been hard at work on a variety of seasonal beers that are full of flavour, lighter on alcohol, and miles away from the watery light lagers of yore. Some of these brews are made in small batches—here today, gone tomorrow—but these are six of our favourite thirst quenchers that come in at under 5 per cent ABV.
1. Blood Brothers Brewing’s Blood Light
Ringing in at 4.5 per cent, Blood Light from Geary Avenue’s Blood Brothers Brewing, is the perfect, low-ish ABV beer for crushing at the cottage, and pairs well with everything from Red Hots to rib eyes. It’s just like it’s almost-namesake beer—if that beer was loaded with tropical hops and came in a much better-looking can. 165 Geary Ave., 647-628-6062, bloodbrothersbrewing.com.
2. Rorschach Brewing Co.’s Half Truth
Given just how sturdy it is to sip, it’s almost hard to believe Rorschach’s Half Truth Featherweight IPA could really clock in at a mere 3.8 per cent ABV, which is unusually low for the style. But we’re delighted to ignore what our taste buds want to say about this juicy, potent-seeming pour and have more than one. 1001 Eastern Ave., 416-901-3233, rorschachbrewing.com.
3. Burdock Brewery’s Zesté
Most sour beers can be too mouth-puckering to be refreshing. But this is no ordinary sour. Burdock’s dry-hopped Zesté, loaded with juice and zest from sweet Florida key limes, tastes like all the tart, citrusy summer treats from your youth—lime popsicles, lime freezies, limeade—but at 4.7 ABV, comes with a bit of a buzz. A fresh batch should be ready by the end of July. 1184 Bloor St. W., 416-546-4033, burdockto.com.
4. Left Field Brewery’s Sun Delay
Perfectly sunny days can be fleeting around here, as was this collaboration between Left Field Brewery and London’s Anderson Craft Ales. The citrus-packed grisette clocked in at 4.5 per cent ABV and flew off the shelves. Never fear: Left Field produces several other lower-ABV beers, including their refreshing 4.8 per cent Squeeze Play Black Currant Sour, and the brand-new Beachville Cream Ale,which registers at just 4.2 per cent. 36 Wagstaff Dr., 647-346-5001, leftfieldbrewery.ca.
5. Henderson Brewing Co.’s Picnic
With its low ABV of 3.7 per cent and a sunny Meyer lemon citrus zip, Henderson Brewing’s Picnic table beer (get it?) is the thing to drink in a park on a hot summer’s day. But we’re not allowed to do that. So spread a red-and-white checked tablecloth on your yard (or your patio or your fire escape), crack open a couple of these cans, and call it a picnic. 128A Sterling Rd., 416-535-1212, hendersonbrewing.com.
6. Godspeed Brewery’s Kage
Dark beers aren’t usually top of mind come patio season, but Godspeed’s new “baby stout” is a rare and welcome exception. Full of that crisp roastiness that fans of dark beers crave, it’s called Kage, which translates as “shade” in Japanese—but at a mild 3.5 per cent ABV, the creators surely expect it to be consumed in the sun. 242 Coxwell Ave., 416-551-2282, godspeedbrewery.com.