As the peak of light-beer season starts to vanish faster than the head of Miller 64, and the appeal of Bud Lime-a-Rita sinks even more, it's time to find something very good.

This isn't a rant against light beer. Just some of them. Sam Adams Light and Corona Light refresh. And they're much better than either basic Blue Moon or Keystone.

After more than a few well-spent hours in gastropubs this summer, here are five brews to recommend before Labor Day. They'll be grand afterward, too.

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale comes from a Japanese brewery that started with sake. Creamy, toasty, with a lively hue, it's refreshing and different -- an unusual brew similar to a Belgian ale.

Firestone Walker Wookey Jack is a layered, citrusy, earthy, herbal dark ale with genuine character and a long finish. There are spice notes, too, and superior hoppiness.

Sierra Nevada Harvest Fresh Hop IPA delivers an aromatic, intense, herbaceous and smooth brew made with New Zealand hops, and shows another dimension from this terrific brewery. Sierra Nevada's Summer Lager, of course, also is excellent.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen-Mix is exactly that: a fine wheat beer with the genuine tang of grapefruit juice, from the Frankfurt brewery. You'll want to open this one at the beach.

Coronado Sock Knocker pours bright and gilded, with a little carbonation and a lot of hoppy, citrusy and herbal notes, for a double IPA with flavor and flair, from California.