NARRAGANSETT (CRANSTON, RI)
Summer Ale (4.2% ABV)
There's a reason why 'Gansett is nestled next to PBR on the short list of beverages that college kids will gladly imbibe themselves stupid on — namely, cost effectiveness. But aside from being a beer that you woefully regret drinking 20 too many of, they've netted themselves a prouder claim to fame with this seasonal offering. This isn't yet another lager; this is a pale ale, and it drinks almost like a light soda. A touch of tropical fruit is prevalent thanks to the citra hops, and the overall sweetness is the defining factor that will have you reaching for another as soon as you finish your first. It's widely available on tap, but a six-pack of tallboys is really the perfect amount of alcohol for an afternoon spent chilling at the beach.
Where to find it: Charlie's Kitchen, 10 Eliot St, Cambridge | 617.492.9646 | charlieskitchen.com
_Michael C. Walsh CISCO BREWERS (NANTUCKET)
The Grey Lady (4.5% ABV); Summer of Lager (5.6% ABV)
Nantucket embodies summer. And so it's only appropriate that the de facto Nantucket brewery boasts not only one, but two choice summer offerings. A nickname for the island itself thanks to the fog that often blankets the area, there's really nothing murky about the Grey Lady. A witbier made with grapefruit, coriander, chamomile, and lemon, it's really the latter of these ingredients that provides the taste. Not in a tangy lemon sense, either. More like a confectionary meringue flavor. As for their other seasonal brew: despite a higher alcohol content, Summer of Lager actually goes down a bit lighter than the Grey Lady, with a crisp wheat flavor giving way to a creeping hint of grape. The fact that it's available in cans makes it a choice selection for beach days, barbecues, and just about any other summer endeavor imaginable.
Where to find it: Sunset Grill & Tap, 130 Brighton Ave, Allston | 617.254.1331 | allstonsfinest.com
_Michael C. Walsh
JACK'S ABBY BREWING (FRAMINGHAM)
Leisure Time Lager (4.8% ABV)
Framingham might not invoke the same surfside imagery as a place like Nantucket, but the folks at Jack's Abby clearly know what people want in a summer beer and deliver it in the form of the Leisure Time Lager. A wheat-based lager, the mountainous imagery on the beer's label is truly befitting of the majesty of what's inside. Though the lemon flavor dominates upon the first sip, this isn't a "fruity" beer. The roughness around that taste is what allows it to really stand out, with spices and a grassy finish providing its stark character. Not as widely available as some of the other selections we've featured here, but most larger liquor stores should carry the 22-ounce bottles, an ideal serving size for this summer quencher.
Where to find it: Deep Ellum, 477 Cambridge St, Allston | 617.787.2337 | deepellum-boston.com
_Michael C. Walsh