American beer drinkers have such unwavering love for India Pale Ale (IPA) that for those who don’t, brew choices can sometimes seem slightly one-note.
If you want bold and distinctive beers without getting walloped with bitterness, here are a handful of mostly local beers with lower IBUs (international bitterness units) but with ample quench for summer’s home stretch.
Blind Bat Brewery La Saison du Soleil
This is the quintessence of a hot-weather beer — easy-drinking but spicy, with traces of coriander, black pepper and orange running through a slightly funky, sweet-and-sour saison. Brewer Paul Dlugokencky turns Saison du Soleil out during the summer only inside his Centerport nanobrewery, and sells it at the Babylon and Northport farmers markets for $5 for a 16.9-ounce bottle or $10 for a 750-milliliter bottle. blindbatbrewery.com
Kent Falls Brewing Co. Prickly Pear Gose
This salty gose — or wheat-based sour beer — is brewed at Kent Falls Brewing Co. up in the northwest corner of Connecticut, a farm brewery known for offbeat styles.
Prickly pear purée, added during conditioning, lends the beer a quenching pucker.
Find it at Brew Cheese, the new beer and cheese shop in Northport, for $6 for a 16.9-ounce bottle, kentfallsbrewing.com or at Brew Cheese, 40 Woodbine Ave., Northport, 631-239-1927
Garden of Eve Strong Island Wheat
Garden of Eve is an organic Riverhead farm that also became a licensed farm-brewery last fall, and co-owner and brewer Chris Kaplan-Walbrecht uses almost all New York-grown ingredients to create his beers — as well as raises half the grain himself for this cloudy, coppery brew. With more heft than a typical wheat beer, Strong Island Wheat quenches with a hint of apricot tucked underneath its subtly bitter edge. Find it at the growler bar at the back of the Garden of Eve farm store on Sound Avenue. It’s $13 for a half growler. gardenofevefarm.com
Moustache Brewing Franco ’Murica Saison
This piney, dry-hopped saison falls shy of an IPA in terms of bitter oomph, but finishes with a hoppy tingle.
Brewed at Moustache Brewing Co. in Riverhead, a company run by husband and wife Matthew and Laurie Spitz, it’s $17 for a growler. moustachebrewing.com