Our 10 Ultimate Craft Beers (and their matching summer adventure)

It’s American Craft Beer Week. Summer is rolling in fast this year in the Bay Area , with temperatures breaking the 90 degree mark by mid-may. As our thoughts inevitably drift to daytripping , picnics, and, beach trips, it’s important to pair the right beer with the right adventure for maximum summer joy.

We’ve added a new product, the wooden beer tote, which is perfect addition to a any summer adventure. It’s a great gift for beer aficionados, but it would would be all the better if it came loaded with 6 tasty summer beers.

Here’s our rundown of our ten favorite, in case you need a little help navigating the wide world of artisinal beer. You should be able to find these beers in any specialty beverage store.

10. Two Hearted Ale


The Beer: This IPA hails from Michigan. There’s an strong aroma and hint of the taste of grapefruit and pine when you first sip, followed by a  full bodied earthy flavor. This beer is an elegant balance of hop and malt.

The Adventure: We would recommend pairing with a day adventuring through the woods and cliff edges Big Sur (not too to the edge if you’ve had a few) or searching for swimming holes in the Central Valley.


9. Citra DIPA

The Beer: Another IPA, this one from the Golden State. Fruity aromas with a malty, hoppy taste.

The Adventure: Recommend paired with a hammock beneath the stars or a blazing beach bonfire, sitting on a Mexican blanket.


8. Barrel Aged Abraxas

The Beer: This complicated brew won’t fit in the beer tote, since it comes in __, but add it as a side gift and the recipient will surely forgive any spacial complications.  Perennial Brewer’s website says “Imperial Stout aged Twelve months in Rittenhouse Rye barrels with cacao nibs, vanilla beans, ancho chiles & cinnamon sticks”. If that doesn’t make you want to drink it, we can’t help you.

The Adventure: Pour this beer in a tulip glass and pair with a  summer twilight  barbecue in your backyard. The flavor is an adventure enough, so you don’t have to stray to far from home.


7.  Darkness

The Beer: This Russian Imperial Stout looks jet black with a brown head. There’s a lot of flavors happening in this one too. In addition to the toffee, molasses, and vanilla notes,  each label design for the past few years has featured a new monster. This year it’s “Brewcifer”.

The Adventure: Combine this beer with a game of flashlight tag to explore the dark side of summer.


6.  Dreadnaught IPA

The Beer: Dread not– this IPA may be the hop-heads dream brew–but the delicious mango and citrus flavor could win the heart of any beer drinker.

The Adventure: Bring this beer to a jam session on someone’s porch and impress the musicians with your great taste and unmatched tambourine chops.

5.  Lagunitas Daytime

The Beer: This beer has the lowest ABV percent on this list, at about 4.5%. The hop-wizards at Lagunitas call this one a “fractional beer” and specify its great for when you want the full flavor of a cold one, but you have things to do later. Juicy hop aromas converge with malt flavor for a beer that’s light on alcohol but heavy on taste.

The Adventure: A simple, delicious beer, like black pants, goes with pretty much anything. Unlike black pants, it’s a godsend in the high heat, so take this on a soul-searching desert adventure to find your spirit animal. Remember to drink water.

4. Prairie Bomb!

The Beer: Another black beer with a mocha head. This imperial stout has a bit of a bite to it–the beer is aged on coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and ancho chili peppers. It has a milky, dark chocolate taste. 

The Adventure: With a nod to this beer’s name, find a large field and play a giant game of croquet. Play gold-course style with the wickets a few hundred feet apart. Since this beer has 14% ABV, expect for your game to become a free-for-all death match, with every player doing their best to knock the other player’s croquet ball into oblivion.

3. Zombie Dust

The Beer: Orange-golden with citrus-y aromas sweet enough to raise the dead, with a  semi-bitter hoppy taste with orange finish.

The Adventure: This spooky-good beer goes well with exploring your nearest ghost-town. A quick google search can reveal these hidden, creepy gems in your area.


2. Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast

The Beer: This is advertised as a beer that goes well with breakfast, due to the strong oatmeal and coffee notes. Personally I can’t drink at breakfast without falling asleep an hour later, so I can’t speak to that. I do know that this dark, thick stout tastes still tastes great  in the evening.

The Adventure: Take this beer camping with you. In the woods, you can drink beer for breakfast, far from the judging eyes of your boss, spouse, and local baristas.

1.  All-Day IPA

The Beer: The beer’s name tells you just how often and long to drink the stuff. The Founders Brewing website calls it “an all-day IPA naturally brewed with a complex array of malts, grains and hops. Balanced for optimal aromatics and a clean finish. The perfect reward for an honest day’s work and the ultimate companion to celebrate life’s simple pleasures.” As a bonus, it also comes in can form.

The Adventure:  Head out with  to the local park’s duck pond for some fishin’ and drinkin’ on a homemade raft with a cooler full of these. When the police arrive to arrest you, scream that they can’t do anything because you’re in international waters.

Just kidding. Don’t do that.



2 thoughts on “Our 10 Ultimate Craft Beers (and their matching summer adventure)

  1. This is wonderful! My husband is a big IPA fan and he spends time in the garage in the little nanobrewery we have going on in there trying to perfect a few recipes. I have been able to tolerate some mild IPAs, but can’t get down with the very hoppy ones. I laughed when I read your description about the Mikelle beer. Alcohol just makes me sleepy in general, and so do big carb-loaded meals. -Jess L

  2. Jess, Congrats to you for tolerating your hubby’s garage nanobrewery and good for your husband for giving it a shot. We have a friend that has expanded his operations to an actual shop. Exciting.

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