Temperatures are soaring and we’re feeling thirsty. Lucky for us, last month saw the arrival of some knock-out beers, including a trio of golden, tropical IPAs that stand a cut above the deluge of ho-hum hazy numbers. There’s also a stout that’s rife with all the luscious, roasty notes you’d expect, but without the boozy wallop of a Russian imperial that’ll knock you over in the July heat. On the whole, our reviewers were drawn exceptional versions of archetypal styles. These breweries haven’t tried to invent the wheel on saisons and stouts—they’re just doing damn near perfect versions of them.
85: Anchor Brewing’s San Franpsycho IPA
“To Anchor, I have to say: well done,” writes Jesse Bussard of this “crazy good” “juicy, fruity haze bomb” that is “unique, well-balanced, and delightfully enjoyable.” “Out of the can, the beer pours a hazy, golden orange color with a pillowy, cream-colored full foam” with “strong aromas of peach, pineapple, and mango” and “light notes of bready malt and a slight hop dankness” that make it stand out from the “indistinguishable sea of haze bombs being produced today.”
85: Threes Brewing’s Logical Conclusion
“If I didn’t know better, I would have thought this was a beermosa at first sip. Juicy and smooth, robust fruity flavors of ripe peaches, orange, and tangerine come through as I drink. A sweet bready malt backbone rounds out the palate and creates a nice, medium-bodied mouthfeel,” says Jesse Bussard of this “phenomenal hazy IPA” brewed with Citra, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops.
94: Zero Gravity’s Conehead IPA
“One word: Amazing,” raves Jesse Bussard of this wheat IPA brewed exclusively with Citra hops that “pours a hazy, beautiful straw-colored, lemony gold with a creamy foam that lasts” and has “strong aromas of mango, papaya, orange, and sweet flora.” The flavor profile is dominated by “tropical fruit notes of mango, papaya, and orange” and “finishes clean with a full, creamy mouthful” followed by a “light tinge of citrus and herbal bitterness.”
97: Fair State’s Giantsbane
“Giantsbane is tamer than its namesake. It’s a sweet, congenial beer that has come to make peace,” says Jerard Fagerberg of this 8% ABV double stout named in honor of everyone’s favorite Game of Thrones Wildling (sorry, Ygritte). Pouring out this heady stuff is “like opening the door to a cafe that specializes in mochas and cappuccinos. Aromas of chocolate and brown sugar mix in with the coffee, a surefire indicator that you’re getting into something delectable.” “There’s no overt booziness” but it’s still “rich and roasty.”
98: Blackberry Farm Brewery’s Classic Saison
“It’s simply stunning. In comparison, most American-made saisons taste like rainwater strained through an old horse blanket, says Tucker Anders of this Belgian-style saison that scored the gold medal in the French and Belgian-Style Saison category in its first entry at the World Beer Cup. “Everything is in absolute harmony with every bit of the yeast, spice, pepper, and grass from the aroma along for the ride. Sweet and soft banana and citrus float through, crafting a new wave of flavor that is balanced by all the spicy pepper and coriander.” The aroma “smells like walking into an old farm brewery in Europe,” complete with a whiff of “barnyard funk” in this beer that stays “true to its farm roots—no flash, just perfect execution.”