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Summer is beer 

Winter is over. We all deserve a drink. To help make the most of the fleeting season ahead, beer enthusiast Whitney Moran pairs summer shenanigans with the best of local brews, from the beach to the BBQ.

click to enlarge LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

① PATIO Tis the Saison

North Brewing Co. Summer Saison (5.5 percent)

French for "season," this style was traditionally brewed at the end of winter and unleashed in the summer. Considered a "farmhouse ale"---North's specialty--- named because of its earthy, rustic character, Saison was kept on hand to quench the thirst of farmhands during the hot summer months. North's take features orange peel and coriander for a light, crisp, spicy character. Refreshing and flavourful, you'll find it an intensely quaffable accessory to your sloth-like grip on the patio this summer. Also try: Garrison Nit Wit Belgian Wheat (4.8 percent) and Propeller Bohemian Style Pilsner (4.8 percent)

② BEACH Perfect your beer body

Garrison Hop Yard Pale Ale (5.3 percent)

For daytime oceanside lounging, you'll need something to wash down all that salt water, and nothing tastes better on sunburnt lips than a crisp, dry-hopped pale ale---except maybe chapstick with SPF, bring some. This medium-bodied west-coast-style brew is my go-to for a blast of citrus that is refreshing yet pleasantly bitter. Also try: Boxing Rock Hunky Dory Pale Ale (5 percent) and Hell Bay Pale Ale (5 percent)

③ FESTIVAL Beer is the plaid of drinks

Boxing Rock Temptation Red Ale (6 percent)

If you're lucky, the festivals you attend this summer will be sponsored by a craft beer (Sappyfest = Picaroons, Evolve = Garrison). But if you need to supply yourself, I recommend keeping it flavourful and lightly hopped, with a splash of the unexpected. Says Ladies' Beer League co-founder and beer connoisseur Pam Crouse, this hoppy red from Shelburne wunderkinds Boxing Rock is "spot on lately," with "full flavour from one hop, and not too heavy for the heat of summer." Also try: Propeller Bitter (5 percent) and Meander River Lunch Box Pale Ale (6.5 percent)

④ BACKYARD BBQ Beer is the new meat

Uncle Leo's Smoked Porter (6.8 percent)

Harness the smoke at your backyard BBQ with a beer that features flame-smoked malt (in this case, beechwood), resulting in a bold, smoky-sweet flavour with little bitterness. Hopheads don't despair: IPAs pair notoriously well with smoked meats, and pale ales with seafood, so whatever your BBQ fare, top it off with citrusy hops or smoked malt. Also try: Propeller Double PA (8.2% percent & Boxing Rock The Vicars Cross Double IPA (8.5 percent)

⑤ CAMPFIRE Sleep under the stars with your brew love

Big Spruce Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout (5.4 percent)

While stout is generally reserved for the colder months, let's be honest: summer nights in Nova Scotia can be brisk---especially if you're planning on hiding out in the woods with friends and booze. And no stout goes down smoother during a s'more session than this organic stout with a dark-chocolate/coffee profile from Cape Breton's finest. Pick up a growler before you hit the Cabot Trail. Also try: Garrison Black IPA (6.2 percent), Granite Peculiar (5.6 percent), Hell Bay Dark Cream Ale (5.2 percent)

⑥ RAINY DAY INSIDE Not every day is sunny, but every day is beer

Rockbottom Fathom IPA

High-alcohol beers have a warming quality. Since summer can be a bit fickle here, so use the rainy days as a chance to spend quality time with beer that knocks a real punch. Greg Nash's brews can be counted on for such knockout qualities, and this west coast-style IPA is no exception: a piney, citrusy, balanced hop-tastic ale that'll see you through the cloudiest days. Also try: BadApple Black & Tackle Russian Imperial Stout (9 percent) and North Strong Dark Belgian Ale (8.5 percent)


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