As warm weather approaches, we begin making plans with our friends to spend time outside. We want to soak up some of some much needed vitamin C and celebrate Spring. Outdoor activities come in all forms, but for many legal age drinkers in Charlotte— brewery and bar patios are calling our names. When it’s Winter time, we often turn to darker beers and warmer flavors. However, as those chilly days turn warm— our palates begin to shift. Warm weather beers are typically lighter, more crisp, and a bit more refreshing. While you know you want to turn towards the light— you might not know of any good beers to turn to. In that case, we’re here to help. 

Warm Weather Beers: Lighter, More Crisp, and Cool 

Pilsners, Pale Ales, and Kolsch

When it comes to lighter beers, there are plenty of options. Especially if you want to go local, many breweries focus in on those lighter, hoppy profiles— such as Sycamore. If you look at a beer list and get a bit overwhelmed, look for these few words: pale ale, pilsner, kolsch, and wheat. These are going to be refreshing, mostly light, and the perfect warm weather beers. A few things to keep in mind with each of these: Pale ales and IPA’s are going to be a bit more on the hoppy side, which isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer hops in the warm weather, and some say ‘too bitter and dry’. Furthermore, with wheat beers, many people say that they sit too heavy on their stomach— which is a valid point. Wheat beers are thicker, and do have the tendency to feel heavier. Every person, and palate, is different. 

The color is a good indication 

Not every dark or light beer is going to taste heavy or light. However, it’s a pretty good place to start. Some porters will taste light, just like some IPA’s or wheat beers will sit on your stomach much like a stout. Every beer is different, especially when you’re drinking local. So, while it isn’t always a great tell— start with the color. Understand that typically the darker the beer— the heavier the beer is going to be. Warm weather beers are almost always going to be lighter in color, and flavor.

When in doubt, request a sample 

The beautiful thing about going to a bar or brewery— is that you have the option to try before you buy (when it comes to draft beer only, of course). If you know that the beer you want is on draft, ask for a sample. Most every bartender will happily oblige to a tasting once or twice— just don’t ask to sample the whole tap system… If you think you want a beer, but aren’t quite sure yet, sample it and go from there. You never know, one of those samples might turn out to be your new go-to out of all the warm weather beers.