August is a bountiful sort of month and just as the farmers’ markets overfloweth, our beer fridges our currently stocked with an insanely diverse, insanely good selection of beers. Our reviewers leaned into funky flavors, from a brown ale with the soul of a warm, straight-from-the-oven oatmeal cookie to a tiki beer that tastes like a Zombie, but better. As much as we enjoyed these, there’s been a resurgence lately in beers that taste like, well, beer. It’s telling that two of our favorites this month were a premium lager and a pale ale. There’s nary a gimmicky ingredient in either—just classic styles elevated through stellar execution.
86: Santa Fe Brewing’s Social Hour
“While Social Hour may not be a direct flavor descendent of the Zombie, it does embody a few of the tiki classic’s best traits,” says Nathan Mattise of this fruit-forward hazy wit beer brewed with pink guava, pineapple, mint and coriander. “Its overall character is a delightful balance of flavor, booze, and smoothness, without any of the cloying sweetness that one might expect from a tiki-inspired beer. I can only ever get through a single tiki cocktail in a sitting, but I’d gladly have another Social Hour.”
87: WarPigs’ Salmon Pants
“WarPigs has elevated the budget beer to a position of exaltation,” writes Jerard Fagerberg of this premium lager that’s “a middle finger to Coors Light exclusivists who think drinking craft beer is virtue signaling.” Unlike generic macro lagers, there’s a “frothy head,” “strong, persistent aromas of dandelion and melon rind,” and a “near-perfect crispness.” This is a “gothic interpretation” of “a refreshing, accessible, and damn-near-ubiquitous style” that’s anything but boring.
88: Cigar City’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
“They did it: Pure cookie. Grandma’s greatest hit distilled into an eminently drinkable 12-ounce package,” declares Jerard Fagerberg of this brown ale that “pangs at the heartstrings of nostalgia” and smells like a “freshly poured bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.” It hits the nose with its “big, sticky, and boozy raisins fragrance” and the “lactose adds a much needed dose of body.” “Oatmeal Raisin Cookie mangages to masterfully transform a straight-up pub beer into the highlight of the cookie jar.”
92: Jackie O's Scrip
“Scrip is a shining example of an oft-overlooked style—a style that, to me, absolutely deserves more attention in today’s craft landscape,” raves Tucker Anders of this grisette, a “light, tart, and low in alcohol” style originally brewed in France and Belgium “to quench thirst after a long day in the mines.” You don’t need to be familiar with the style to appreciate the aroma, which is an “intoxicating blend of tart fruit and wood” that “smells like an oak-aged chardonnay but sharper, and with a hint of yeasty funk.” There’s “plenty of wine-like character from the time spent aging in wine barrels” and the result is a beer “has almost all the depth and complexity of a full-bodied sour packed into the body of a light, airy Berliner weisse.”
98: Tree House’s Lights Out
“You still have to make the trek in person to the Tree House retail shop to get a taste” of this “turbid and totally opaque” pale ale with a “luxurious, pillowy white head rests on top of that orange juice body,” says Tucker Anders, but it’ll be more than worth the journey for “maybe the juiciest, hoppiest beer I’ve had under 6.0% ABV.” The “stunning” hoppy aroma is “absolutely redolent of citrus and tropical fruits like orange, grapefruit, and mango.” “It brings a wallop of fruit flavor from the insane amount of hops used in brewing this gem. Think about the most citrus-forward IPA you’ve ever had, then double the fruit and halve the bitterness.”