Ah, summertime. The sun is up, the sunscreen is on and there’s nary a cloud in the sky. Summer has always held a special place in the hearts and minds of most, as it provides them a chance to get back out into the world after being shuttered indoors for months on end. Even springtime provides no relief, with acrid, billowing clouds of yellow pollen spores clinging menacingly to cars, clothes and pets with reckless abandon.
Whether you’re with friends, family or by yourself, summertime tends to be the perfect time to have a brewski. And while the masses might continue to guzzle down that flavorless Budwei— I’m sorry, I meant America, we all know that craft beer has an impressive array of styles that serve as perfect accompaniments to mowing the lawn, grilling burgers or simply enjoying the sultry summer night.
So with Memorial Day coming soon, kick back, relax and sip on this: Our list of the Top 25 Lawnmower Beers!
(Disclaimer: Once again, some of your favorites probably didn’t make the list, but this is based on beers we’ve actually reviewed. Let us know what we forgot in the comments section, and we’ll get them reviewed ASAP!)
25. California Kölsch
Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits
This recently renamed beer was once called Ballast Point Pale Ale in order to appeal to those hop-obsessed West Coasters in Ballast Point's hometown of San Diego. Our list begins with this clean and crisp Kölsch that typifies everything that makes a lawnmower beers so quenching, but with a more hop-forward flavor profile (a Ballast Point trademark).
24. V Twin
Most "lawnmower beer" lists wouldn't include the Vienna Lager style, and instead would focus exclusively on lighter lager styles. But really, what makes a lawnmower beer so appealing is the refreshment they bring on a hot summer's day; something that Vienna Lagers – like this example from Motorworks Brewing – provide in spades.
23. Vunderbar Pilsner
Smuttynose Brewing Company
This unabashedly German Pils layers minty, herbal Czech Saaz hops atop a pleasant honey-like malt middle, before ending with a spicy Saaz-crack. It’s guaranteed to put an exclamation mark on your day!
22. Dortmunder Gold
Great Lakes Brewing Company
Ohio boasts a significant German tradition, and Great Lakes pays a terrific tribute to this historic style which might be described as a “Franken-Lawnmower beer”. It’s sweet but full-bodied, and well-hopped without being bitter.
21. The One They Call Zoe
Hops and Grain Brewery
Named for the brewer's beloved papillon, The One They Call Zoe is a dry-hopped, Czech-style lager for those who like a little extra backbone in their post-mowing brew. Pound it from the can or revel in its heavenly white head, which helps contain the piquant, floral aroma and solid bready base.
20. Carolina Blonde
Foothills describes Carolina Blonde as "the beach in a bottle," and our judge described it as "biscuit malt wrapped in an appetizing blend of pear and pineapple," which should be all the motivation you need to get out and do a circuit with the old push-mower.
19. Hoppy Blonde
New Belgium Brewing Company
Blonde Ales are the lighter-ABV and easier-drinking little brothers of the hoppier American Pale style. This new release from New Belgium bridges the gap between the two styles with a spritzy and herbaceous hop profile coupled with the smooth finish of a Blonde Ale.
18. Calm Before the Storm
Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits
Cream Ales don’t get much love in the craft beer sphere due to their somewhat unassuming flavor profile and generally macro-oriented background. Leave it to Ballast Point to create an extreme version that pushes the boundaries of what can be expected of the style. A cream ale brewed with coffee sounds like a bit of a non-sequitur, but the San Diego-based brewery pulls it off. With a golden color and a perfumy, herbal aroma Calm Before the Storm follows through with a fresh coffee bean flavor and a smooth, creamy texture. A delightful lawnmower brew with a jolt of coffee bitterness.
17. Beerito Mexican Lager
Oskar Blues Brewery
The beauty of lighter beers that don’t abandon intricacy is their ability to incorporate complexity without turning the final product into a double-digit ABV behemoth of molasses-like consistency. Beerito is 4% ABV on the dot, and while the name brings to mind a liquefied Tex-Mex staple, the true nature of the suds is decidedly more complex, featuring layers of malt that combine with the noble hops for flavors ranging from cocoa to honey to plum.
16. Grandpa Tractor
Barley Forge Brewing Co.
Grandpa Tractor is a Dortmunder Export, a seldom-made but easy-drinking style championed by German laborers during the first half of the 20th century. This 5% ABV beauty is like a sweet, refreshing Cheerio in a glass.
15. Samuel Adams Boston Lager
Boston Beer Company
It may not be readily apparent, but the classic Boston Lager is an interpretation of the eminently quaffable Vienna Lager style. Though a bit more full-bodied than most of the others on this list, this beer is well-attenuated and nobly-hopped, making for a clean-drinking lager that would transition well from the yard to the table.
14. Good Chit Pilsner
Rogue Ales & Spirits
In typical Rogue-ish fashion, this beer's name is a play on words. "Chit" refers to the tiny roots that grow during the germination phase of malting, and it also sounds wholly like another word that ends in "h-i-t". A well-made Pilsner with the ingredients sourced exclusively from Rogue Farms.
13. Fancy Lawnmower
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
The beer that gives this list its name is an obvious choice. While the lightness of body and complex but mild flavor of this beer certainly merit its inclusion, the real star is the thirst-quenching finish, which practically begs for another sip as soon as the first one is finished. Perfect for sipping at the beach, the pool or – fittingly – atop a souped-up riding mower, St. Arnold’s Fancy Lawnmower is an archetypal lawnmower beer.
12. Full Sail Pilsner
Full Sail Brewing Company
Full Sail pays tribute to the classic German style while also staying true to its Pacific Northwest roots. The result is a clean backbone of gentle honey sweetness with cracker and hay notes prefaced by the classic Cascade aromas of citrus and pine, and finishing with a pleasantly herbal bitterness.
11. Kolsch Style Ale
Any Kolsch is engineered for post-mowing drinkability, and Breck’s brew is no exception. It’s clean, and swings slightly towards sweetness while remaining balanced with a mild amount of hops, leaving room for light fruity esters to take center stage.