Summer has arrived. For many, a cold beer never tastes as good as it does in the summertime. Since it’s Father’s Day weekend, there’s are a lot of articles about what to get dad, or what you can throw on the grill, but what do dads really want? 

Most likely: Peace, quiet, and their favorite beer.

My husband and I love beer. As with food, moderation is important. Health authorities recommend that while binge-drinking (defined as 5 or more drinks on one occasion) is an unhealthy habit, moderate intake (women can have no more than 1 drink per day, and men no more than 2 drinks per day) seems to have no harmful effects. In fact, a moderate intake of alcohol may even have some benefit.

To keep in mind –

  • Guidelines. You may choose to have 3 beers one day when celebrating a special occasion, and not have any on other days, and that’s probably okay. As Captain Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean says, “The code is more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.” 
  • Calories count too. Calories in beer come from its alcohol content, so a higher the alcohol content, yields a higher calorie count. I personally would rather just have one good beer, than three light beers, but that’s up to you. Just don’t overdo it too often.

Sure, I want all dads to be as healthy as they can be, but I also want them to be happy. This means eating food you enjoy, but balancing it out with exercise, and balancing the splurge meals with lighter ones. As you enjoy a healthy spread of food this weekend (perhaps some grilled vegetables and a nice lean steak), allow yourself to enjoy a cold brew or two with it.

Here’s a review of some of my favorite picks (including % abv – alcohol by volume) for adventurous beer drinkers to try out:

  • Sierra Nevada IPA. My husband and I fell in love with this beer in 1991 when we went to visit a friend in Reno, Nevada. Nobody I knew in the East was drinking IPA then. It’s still one of my all-time favorite IPAs. We also love that it comes in cans, which is great for picnics, poolside or boat docks. It’s 5.6% abv.
  • Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA. I’ll admit right now, I’m partial to IPAs. We visited the Dogfish Head pub in Rehoboth Beach around 1999 and have been enjoying this beer ever since. Maybe the 6% abv does it?
  • Founder’s Centennial IPA. Founder’s brews some great beers. This IPA is piney and floral, with a lot of other complex flavors I can’t describe, with a 7.2% abv punch.
  • Fat Point Brewery is worth a stop if you’re anywhere on the Gulf coast of Florida (it’s brewed in Punta Gorda), offering a bunch of great beers that sound great for summertime. I love the Big Boca at 5.1%, and I’m looking forward to trying their Going Mintal – a wheat beer brewed with mint.
  • Southern Tier Goat Boy. Another confession: We’re partial to goats. Sort of. My husband is a cyclist and has competed in triathlons. A few summers ago he was out riding on country roads of Maryland, and a goat ran straight out into the road in front of him, putting him head over tin cup. He got scraped up pretty good, and hurt his shoulder. Ever since, he’s had a love-hate relationship with goats. So we admit, even before tasting a beer called Goat Boy – we liked it (labels can lure you in right? To boot, they put their goat on a bicycle when creating the logo, so what’s not to love?) This is a German style bock beer – an imperial weizenbok. Dark and malty. Fun fact – “Ein bock” is German for billy goat – for that reason bock beers often have goat references.
  • Voodoo Brewery is brewed right in my little Pennsylvania town (but you can find them all over), and their beers are delicious. They have standards, and then brew up specialty craft beers seasonally. Since I’m partial to IPAs, the Hoodoo is a fav, along with the Gran Met (especially lovely in “Met-mosa” form, topped with a big splash of orange mango juice).

I admit, I’m what some folks call a beer snob. Please don’t take offense. I also enjoy some light beers on really hot days, or times when I just wanter a lower alcohol beer (golfing). For those times, these are good summertime picks: 

  • Bud Light Lime. Beer Advocate rates this as “awful”, but if you’re not a serious beer drinker, you don’t like microbrews, and are just looking for something refreshing to drink on a hot day – this may be the beer for you. It’s only 4.2% abv, and has a light hint of lime
  • Amstel Light. This is a light, 100 calorie lager-style beer. 3.5% abv
  • Stella Artois. Belgium beers are really nice in the summertime, and Stella pretty much got the whole “beer can be poured into a cool glass” thing going (The “chalice”). 5.0% abv

Be good to your dad. Drink responsibly, and Happy Father’s Day.