For PA craft beer lovers, summer is a superb time of year for exploring seasonal releases from local breweries. Inspired by outdoor activities and farmers market produce, breweries across the state spend the summer months create easy-drinking beers across many styles; what unites them is that they’re mean for packing into a cooler and cracking any old time.
Whether you need a few brews for a barbecue, or to enjoy on a picnic at your favorite park, or just for some classic stoop-sitting, here are six Pennsylvania craft beers to help you beat the heat!
Elk Creek Cafe & Aleworks Mills Pills
At Elk Creek Cafe & Aleworks, a Center County-based brewery (not far from State College), classic beer styles dominate the menu. So, in place of wacky milkshake IPAs and face-melting sours, you’ll find familiar, well-crafted ales and lagers. Mills Pills is Elk Creek’s traditional German-style lager, which emphasizes a classic hop character from Tettnager German hops, and a crisp malty finish. Pilsners are quintessential summer beers: light, clean and crisp, perfect for drinking at a softball game, preferably with potato chips or grilled hot dogs. Available in crowlers and growlers. 100 West Main St., Millheim; (814) 349-8850
Erie Brewing Co. Mad Anthony’s American Pale Ale
This balanced, malt-and hop-driven APA from Erie Brewing Co. is named for General Anthony Wayne, Brigadier General of the American Revolutionary War. Legend has it that he was shot many times in the war (his madness is attributed to the lead the bullets left in his body). After his death in 1796, he was buried in Erie, PA and was exhumed by his son and reburied in the family plot. According the rumor, as his son was transporting his remains back to St. David’s Churchyard, many of the General’s bones fell from the wagon and were strewn across various parts of Pennsylvania! How’s that for a little history lesson with your brews? Available in 6-packs of 12-oz. bottles. 6008 Knowledge Pkwy., Erie; (814) 459-7741; 4102 W. Lake Rd., Erie; (814) 651-0611
Ever Grain Brewing Co. Soleado Pale Ale
When it’s hot as heck out there, sometimes you just need a no-nonsense, hyper-refreshing beer. Look no further than Soleado Pale Ale from Ever Grain Brewing Co.. This 5.4% ABV American-style Pale Ale is light-bodied beer, and citrus-driven with bright notes of grapefruit and mandarin orange. Enjoy a frosty pour on draft at Ever Grain’s taproom, or pick up a 4-pack of 16-oz. cans to go! 4444 Carlisle Pike, Camp Hill, PA; (717) 525-8222
Full Pint Beer White Lightning White Ale
Full Pint Beer, a long-established craft brewery on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, is now under new ownership, and has revamped the design of its core line of canned beers! To cool off on a steamy day, our pick is the White Lightening, a brisk Belgian-style white ale. Try it at brunch, on its own, or with a splash of orange juice to make a beer-mosa, or a splash of peach nectar to make a beer-bellini. 16087 Perry Highway, Warrendale; (878) 332-8138
Saucony Creek Brewing Co. Fruit Wagon
One of the highlights of summer in Pennsylvania is the proliferation of cherries and berries — you can find ripe heaps of them at the farmers market, at pick-your-own farms and growing wild in the forest! If you’re lucky, you’ll even find these seasonal fruits in your beer, like in Saucony Creek Brewing Co.‘s most recent Fruit Wagon release, with blackberry and plums. This American sour ale, which rotates its fruit profile depending on the season, is a lovely combination of sweet and tart, a fine choice for more adventurous palates. 15032 Kutztown Rd., Kutztown; (610) 683-3128; 690 Franklin St., Reading; (484) 755-5680
Wawa & 2SP Brewing Co. Sunfest Strawberry Lemonade Shandy
Wawa and 2SP Brewing Co. are at it again with another fun, limited-edition collaboration beer (remember their coffee stout?)! This one, the Sunfest Strawberry Lemonade Shandy, is a crushable light-bodied brew, inspired by Wawa’s fresh strawberry lemonade. We give bonus points for the can design, which includes a silhouette of a person surfing on a hoagie. If you don’t take a few of these with you to the shore this year, you’re doing it wrong! These fruity shandies are available by the six-pack in many Wawa locations, as well as at select beer distributors across the state.
There are so many more Pennsylvania beers that are made for summertime sipping — what are your favorites? We want to know! Chime in via the comments or join the conversation on the PA Eats Facebook page!
- Feature photo: Wawa & 2SP Brewing Co.
- All other photos: From respective breweries