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Column: Top 5 Georgia craft beers to drink lakeside this summer
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Boaters cruise around Lake Lanier Sunday, June 30, 2019. - photo by Scott Rogers

Like many beer drinkers, my style preferences change with the season. 

In the fall, I seek out Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers. In the winter I’m on the hunt for dark beers like stouts or barleywine to warm my belly. 

Now that it’s warmer, several light beers have come out of hibernation and moved into my fridge. These are the sort I’d grab before hopping on a boat or sitting outside on the porch with friends. 

If you’re looking for a refreshing beer that’s not high in alcohol content, I’ve got you covered. These top five warm weather brews are crisp, crushable and down to chill by the lake. 

No. 5 Sour Continuum with Pink Guava
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Six Bridges Brewing's Sour Countinuum with Pink Guava - photo by Austin Steele

Brewery: Six Bridges Brewing Co.

Alcohol by volume: 5%

Style: Berliner weisse

Bottom line: A guava-packed tropical summertime beer

To me, a perfect Berliner weisse not only hits you with tart fruit-forwardness, but finishes with a delightful wheat flavor you’d get from fresh sourdough bread. Sour Continuum with Pink Guava passes both of those checkpoints with flying, and very fruity, colors. 

Never fear, this sour doesn’t make your mouth pucker like the guy on WarHeads candy packages. The beer offers a light tartness balanced with refreshing guava, reminding me of one of my favorite vacations spent drinking guava nectar surrounded by lush green mountains on a deserted beach in Hong Kong. 

Trust me, you’ll want to try this one.

No. 4 Roaring Twenties Radler
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Tucker Brewing Co.'s Roaring Twenties Radler offers a refreshing balance of lemonade and helles lager. - photo by Kelsey Podo

Brewery: Tucker Brewing Co.

Alcohol by volume: 4%

Style: Radler

Bottom line: A ridiculously refreshing balance of lemonade and beer

Life gave Tucker Brewing Co. lemons and they made a radler. 

The brewery released the Roaring Twenties Radler before the pandemic hit to welcome in the new year. Operating a commercial-sized juicer like the one Chick-fil-A uses to make its famous lemonade, the brewery’s team juiced enough lemons to fill around 200 gallons. 

Tucker Eagleson, brewmaster of Tucker Brewing, added sugar to the lemon juice to make lemonade, then combined it with a helles lager to create the Roaring Twenties Radler. Around 75% of the drink contains the light beer, and the rest is lemonade. 

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more refreshing beer. 

No. 3 Pure Source IPA
A portion of the proceeds from Left Nut Brewing Co.'s Pure Source IPA goes toward Chattahoochee Riverkeeper's water protection efforts. - photo by Kelsey Podo

Brewery: Left Nut Brewing Co.

Alcohol by volume: 5.5%

Style: IPA

Bottom line: Easy-drinking beer with a hint of scuppernong and bitterness

During the summer of 2020, Left Nut Brewing Co. joined Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s Quality Beer Tour to make a beer that was not only ideal for drinking on Lake Lanier but one that helped protect your source of drinking water. 

Left Nut donated 10% of its sales from Pure Source IPA toward the nonprofit’s four key programs, all of which benefit the overall quality of the Chattahoochee River. 

The hops from this brew offer a fruity flavor reminiscent of scuppernongs, or as some Georgians like to say, “white muscadines.” 

The beer contains a hint of bitterness, but it doesn’t bite. It’s easy drinking without boring your taste buds. 

No. 2 Tritonia
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Creature Comforts Brewing Co.'s Tritonia - photo by Austin Steele

Brewery: Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

Alcohol by volume: 4.5%

Style: Gose

Bottom line: This is the perfect poolside beer

Tritonia from Creature Comforts Brewing Co. is the type of beer that makes you schedule pool days, just to experience its refreshment in an optimal environment. 

The cucumber is the star of the show with this one, offering a cool-as-a-cucumber balance to the tart gose. It’s not one of those vegetable beers that feels as though you’re consuming a liquid garden. 

The beer’s easy-drinking nature nearly makes you hesitate before grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge. 

To bring your Tritonia with cucumber and lime to the next level, add a splash of silver tequila to the mix. You’re welcome.

No. 1 Lay Low
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Monday Night Brewing's Lay Low IPA. KELSEY PODO | The Times - photo by Kelsey Podo

Brewery: Monday Night Brewing 

Alcohol by volume: 3.2%

Style: Low calorie IPA

Bottom line: Utter sorcery

Lay Low, a 90-calorie IPA from Monday Night Brewing, is the most consistent resident in my fridge. 

If you’ve ever tried a beer from this brewery, you’ve probably noticed that they don’t cut corners with their beer. Lay Low is no exception. 

To impart bold flavors, Peter Kiley, Monday Night’s brewmaster, said he aggressively dry-hopped the beer. He packed 3 pounds of Idaho 7, Sultana and Citra hops into each barrel of beer, which is around 31 gallons.

The tropical flavors from the hops truly shine in this beer. As soon as I cracked open the can, I got a strong whiff of pineapple and citrus. 

This aroma alone blew away all of my expectations. Not once has a low calorie beer ever greeted me with any sort of strong scent. I knew from that point that I was dealing with some form of sorcery. 

If you’re looking for a low-calorie flavorful beer, I implore you to give Lay Low a shot.

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