95 Beers of Summer: Best and Worst of

I like drinking my beer the same way I like to travel – always seeking out a new adventure. While some people are happy to stay at home or drink the same beer every time, I like to discover new places and new tastes. With that said, here is a look back at the recently completed 95 Beers of Summer series.

The vast majority of the Canadian and US beers I sampled were tasty brews that I’d be more than willing to have again. A few I was sad to only try once, others I wish to never have to suffer through again. Time for some fun, as I recap the best, worst, most surprising and other deserving beers from the past few months, as well as a fun ‘by the numbers’ consumption breakdown!

Total Volume of Featured Beer?

Enjoying a beer at sunset

Enjoying a sunset beer...

Ignoring all the beers that didn’t make it onto the actual 95 Beers of Summer list, and only counting each listed beer once, the total volume of beer enjoyed was: 52,083ml of beer. That is more than 52 litres of beer, or more than 1760 ounces for my US friends.

Average Alcohol % of Featured Beers?

The 95 beers ranged from 4% to 10.5% alcohol and from 275ml to 1L in volume. When the numbers were all crunched,  the average beer consumed came to 5.51% alcohol.

Total Alcohol Consumed?

If I was to remove all the malt, hops, barley, wheat and water from every beer and just drink the pure alcohol, then the 95 Beers of Summer would have been 2870.099ml of alcohol.

That is the equivalent to just over 200 bottles of Coors Light. Fun numbers aside, what were some of the best, worst and most surprising beers of the summer?

Strongest Beer?

The Southern Tier Gemini had the highest reported (by brewer) alcohol content at 10.5%. But the ultra-sophisticated lab at the LCBO lab in Ontario said it was only 9.1%. Since many beers I had were not ‘lab tested’, let’s stick with the 10.5%. Other notables were the Vermonster from Rock Art, Lenny’s Bittersweet R.I.P.A from HeBrew and Adam from Hair of the Dog; which all clocked in at 10% alcohol.

Weakest Beer?

Not surprisingly the summer wheat beers and fruit-flavoured beers were among the weakest on the list. A number of beers tied for weakest beer at 4%, they were: Wellington Silver Wheat, Nickel Brook Green Apple Pilsener and Mike Duggan Sorachi lager.

Most Unique Beer?

There were some odd beers that made it on the list as well, but for uniqueness of taste and ingredients the choice was obvious. It was a beer I expected little from, but delivered big time. Pangaea from Dogfish Head. A beer brewed with ingredients from all 7 continents, pretty cool.

Best Beer Surprise?

Two beers that stood out as over-delivering on expectations were the Double Wide IPA from Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City and the Kellerbier from Creemore Springs in Ontario.

Biggest Beer Disappointment?

There were a few bad beers out there. While I believe some of them – like the Southern Tier 2xIPA – were just bad bottles and not bad beers, others had no chance. The Green Apple Pilsner from Nickel Brook really needs to be re-labelled as a cider, not a beer. The Coeur Brise from Montreal was the worst fruit beer, while Garde Dog from Flying Dog and English Bay Pale Ale from Granville Island were both a pure waste for the tastebuds.

Best Smelling Beer?

The guys at Three Floyds win this battle. Their Dreadnaught blasts you with an aroma of intense pine unlike any other IPA, imperial IPA or Double IPA beer I’ve tried. It was a real treat that I hope to have again one day.

Most Refreshing Beer?

Ok, this was a summer beer list so what was the most refreshing beer of the 95 chosen brews? This one was actually a stand out and wasn’t a wheat beer. It was the Waterloo Radlermass. An intricate blend of beer and lemonade that worked great.

Best Wheat Beer?

Almost as refreshing as the Radlermass, but more enjoyable for a longer drinking session was Denison’s Weissbier. This was tops when it came to wheat beers, narrowly beating out the Unibroue Blanche de Chambly.

Best Fruit Beer?

Sticking to the easy-drinking theme the beer that best blended a crisp refreshing wheat beer with a taste of fruit came from St. Ambroise. They delivered where so many other fruit beers fail – on flavour. The Apricot Wheat beer from them is superb.

Best Summer Sipping Beer?

On the other end of the spectrum, the big, heavy beers made some appearances. For those cooler summer nights or times when you want to savour a beer slowly. The winner for best sipping summer beer? Three Philosophers from Ommegang Brewing in Cooperstown, NY.

There you have it, a few of the best, worst and most surprising beers of summer. With Autumn here, go out and try some Pumpkin beers. I hate pumpkin pie, but love pumpkin beers, try one – you might be surprised!


About Red Hunt

A former journalist and business analyst that now works in the world of travel marketing. Based in Toronto, Red Hunt has travelled to more than 40 countries over the past 10 years. You can follow Red on Twitter @redhunttravel.