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Beer on ice

Ramona King


Southern Kitchen's 15 favorite juicy, hazy and sessionable beers for day-drinking

We’re kicking off this year's weekday Fourth of July festivities early on in the day, and along with outdoor fun and games, we’ll be celebrating with some of our favorite patriotic drinks. And if you’re anything like us, you’ll be done with your first beer by noon.

There is, of course, an art to day drinking, and if you don’t want to get burnt out before the fireworks, we’ve got the perfect sessionable beers that will keep you happy and on your feet throughout the day. 

We lined up our favorite day-drinking brews in ascending order of alcohol by volume (ABV), so you can make the perfect selection for the level of buzzed bliss you want to achieve. For those who want to stay on the less-intoxicated side, stay towards the top of the list, but if you’re on the more adventurous (a.k.a. not driving) side, we challenge you to sip on the brews towards the bottom of the list. 
Red Hare SPF 50/50 Grapefruit Radler (4.2% ABV)
If you’re wearing SPF 50 you should be drinking this beer from Red Hare in Atlanta. The light and refreshing India Pale/radler hybrid has the perfect mix of citrusy hops and grapefruit that screams summer with each sip. This Southern Kitchen favorite makes an appearance at just about all of our parties, and can even be gussied up, a la Chef Jeffrey Gardner, with a float of port wine. Think of it as a beer-ified, day-drinking version of a New York sour.

Second Self Margarita in Gose (4.3% ABV)
We love a good margarita, but if you want an option that won't leave your head spinning after drink number two, Second Self’s MIG is the way to go. The cocktail-inspired beer is brewed with freshly squeezed lime juice, orange peels and salt to give it the sweet-tart profile of a margarita. Sounds weird, goes down smooth.

Creature Comforts Athena (4.5% ABV)
The love for Creature Comforts can be heard around the South, and, often, in our test kitchen. (Just ask Visual Content Producer Ramona King about her favorite beers.) While Tropicalia is a great beer for outdoor party, Athena, a refreshing Berliner Weisse, is our pick for daytime sips. The beer has a perfect balance of flavor and drinkability, with citrusy, fruity notes reminiscent of cider and sauvignon blanc. 

Dogfish Head Festina Pêche (4.5% ABV)
We’re feeling peachy keen whenever we have this summer sour in our hand. Dogfish Head's “refreshing neo-Berliner Weisse” has all of the characteristics of the classic brew, but with a more intense level of tartness. Instead of softening the sourness with raspberry syrup, which is a more common practice, "the natural peach sugars are eaten by the yeast and the fruit complexity is woven into both the aroma and taste of the beer,” Dogfish described. You’ll taste a little bit of the South’s favorite fruit with each sip. 

Sweetwater Tropical Lover (4.5% ABV)
For 20 years, Atlanta's Sweetwater Brewing has produced some incredible beers, and has become one of the top beer producers in the region. One of its latest creations, Tropical Lover, will make you feel like you’re in paradise, even if you’re just lounging in an inflatable pool in your backyard. The beer is light and slightly sweet-tart, and it sure delivers in the tropical fruit department, with flavors of passion fruit, guava and mango at the forefront.

Tin Roof Brewing's Bayou Bengal Lager (4.5% ABV)
Yes, this beer is definitely for LSU fans, but Alabama, Georgia and Florida fans don’t be put off by the label. The pale lager is crisp and easy to sip with classic flavors of malt, bread and honey that marry together to create the perfect day drinking beer. Southern Kitchen’s Chef Jeffrey Gardner recommends adding a splash of lemon limesoda to create a shandy with this one. 

Monday Night Brewing Han Brolo (4.7% ABV)
This hazy pale ale from Monday Night Brewing will send you into citrus heaven with bursts of tangerine and grapefruit. Monday Night brews Han Brolo with lactose sugar to give the unfiltered ale a silky, full bodied texture with each sip. At 4.7% ABV, you can enjoy this brew all day long without any consequences. Southern Kitchen’s Editor-in-Chief Kate Williams suggests adding a splash of cranberry juice to this beer to create a phenomenal (and super easy) beermosa. 

Tin Roof Brewing's Rosé River (4.7% ABV)
Rosé is all the rage right now (we’re totally on the #roséallday train), but if you’re not feeling like wine, we recommend this beer version that has totally captured the easy-to-drink, fruity quality of rosé.

Terrapin Beer Co. RecreationAle Session IPA (4.7% ABV)
Not all day drinking is done casually. Some day drinkers prefer to consume delicious brews while kayaking or biking. Terrapin’s RecreationAle is a perfect choice for any and all outdoor adventures. In fact, OutdoorHub named RecreationAle as one of the Top 5 Microbrews for Outdoorsmen because “it’s light enough to have a few and still be able to function by the fire long into the night."

Lazy Magnolia Indian Summer (4.8% ABV)
A day filled of drinking Indian Summer is refreshing and full of warmth. The classic wheat ale balances citrus notes from orange peels with warm spices like coriander to create a beautiful flavor profile that is far from overly fruity. 

Dogfish Head Seaquench Ale (4.9% ABV)
This salty session sour from Dogfish Head is surprisingly refreshing. Brewed with sour lime juice, sea salt and black limes, this beer will transport you to the coast. To get an authentic saltwater flavor in this beer, Dogfish partnered with the National Aquarium to replicate sea salt sourced from the Chesapeake Bay and coast of Maine.

Rapturous from Three Taverns Brewing (5% ABV)
You might be surprised by this fruity sour from Three Taverns Brewing. This sour ale is brewed with fresh raspberry puree to give each sip an overwhelming burst of raspberry. If the flavor doesn’t say sun and summer, the brightly colored — almost trippy — beer can design might catch your attention. 

Westbrook White Thai (5% ABV)
Inspired by the flavors of Southeast Asian cuisine, this beer has a complex, but refreshing flavor profile comprised of orange peel, coriander, lemongrass and ginger. Day drinkers will find additional notes of spice, citrus and lemon candy when they drink this Belgian witbier. This beer recommendation comes from Southern Kitchen’s own Editor-in-Chief Kate Williams.

R.J. Rockers Son of a Peach (5.6% ABV)
While the peach on the label might be slightly angry, you won’t be mad drinking this American Wheat Ale from R.J. Rockers. This beer is brewed with South Carolina-grown peaches to get authentic peach flavor into every sip. The resulting beer is smooth, slightly tart, slightly sweet and my personal favorite beer to drink in the summer. 

For any brave day drinking souls, or those who want to take a nap at 1:30 p.m: Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin (7% ABV)
One of the best brunch inventions is the mimosa, and, in my opinion, the best mimosas are made with grapefruit juice. However, it’s not always convenient to pop a bottle of Champagne, and one of the best alternatives is a bottle of Grapefruit Sculpin from Ballast Point. The tart freshness of grapefruit pairs perfectly with the citrusy hops of an IPA, making it an excellent summer beer. Drinkers be warned: If you want to start day drinking with this beer, pace yourself. At least one team member is known to get totally knocked sideways by this one. 

Photo credit (50/50): Red Hare Brewing Company Facebook
Photo credit (Athena): Slideways Facebook
Photo credit (Tropical Lover): Vintage Estate Wine & Beer Facebook
Photo credit (Han Brolo): The Rook & Pawn Facebook
Photo credit (Terrapin): @TerrapinBeerGA Twitter
Photo credit (Seaquench): Papa Joe’s Liquors Facebook
Photo credit (White Thai): SomerVillain BrewCast Facebook
Photo credit (Ballast Point): Ulf Bjorklund Facebook

Author image

Rachel Taylor is a staff writer at Southern Kitchen. She moved to Atlanta earlier this year after graduating college in Maryland, and has been a digital audience specialist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politically Georgia, as well as a freelance writer for publications such as USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She has lived in France and Italy, and loves to travel.