Bronx Brewery Pale Ale
Found on tap only since its 2011 debut, this local favorite is now available in pounders (16-ounce cans). A strong backbone of caramel malt gives way to a bitter kick and fades into a dry finish. While the 6.3 percent ABV brew has more heft than your average summer beer, it’s so well-balanced and easy to drink, you’ll want to fill the whole cooler with these suckers on a hot summer day (and keep returning to it until sunset). Available at Astoria Bier & Cheese, 34-14 Broadway between 34th and 35th Sts, Astoria, Queens (718-545-5588, milkandhops.com). One 16oz can $2.99.
Heavy Seas Loose Cannon
Baltimore’s favorite (also: only) pirate-themed brewery hops on the can-wagon this summer with its flagship triple-hopped IPA. Naturally, this is one for the hops-heads, but it’s less bitter than the style would suggest, with plenty of pine and citrus notes and just a touch of malty sweetness breaking through. At 7.24 percent ABV, it’ll hold its own against big, meaty barbecue dishes and spicy wings. Available at First Place Provisions, 414 Court St between 1st and 2nd Pls, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (347-294-4710). Six 12oz cans $12.95.
Tart citrus and fragrant clove dominate Sixpoint’s refreshing Bavarian-style wheat beer, available only from April to September. Those who appreciate a slice of lemon in their beer on a hot day will find these cans almost dangerously easy to knock back. But sit in the sun and sip this one for a while—Apollo is a beautifully balanced brew, rounded out with toasty vanilla and banana undertones. It’s worth taking your time to enjoy. Available at Foragers City Grocer, 56 Adams St between Front and Water Sts, Dumbo, Brooklyn (718-801-8400, foragerscitygrocer.com). Four 16oz cans $12.99.
Sly Fox Royal Weisse Ale
This warm-weather seasonal is a little lighter on the palate than your average German Hefeweizen—but the Deutschland sun doesn’t beat down as heavily as ours, either, so this can is spot-on for a sticky July day in New York. The distinctive fruity flavors, creamy mouthfeel and light hoppiness of a traditional wheat beer are palpable but reined in enough for this 5.4 percent ABV beer to stay highly sessionable. Available at Stinky Bklyn, 215 Smith St between Baltic and Butler Sts, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn (718-596-2873, stinkybklyn.com). One 12oz can $2.50.
Shiner Ruby Redbird
Texas’s Spoetzl Brewery has been producing suds since 1909 (it’s famous for the Shiner brand) and is one of the largest craft beer makers in the country. But its brews only began showing up in NYC this year, much to the relief of homesick Lone Star State expats. Celebrate Shiner’s arrival with a can of its distinctive summer lager, infused with Texas red grapefruit juice and ginger. Like a boozy ginger ale, it’s incredibly refreshing, not too sweet and—dare we say it?—a great gateway for those who think they don’t like beer. Available at First Place Provisions, 414 Court St between 1st and 2nd Pls, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (347-294-4710). Six 12oz cans $12.50.