Our Picks: San Diego Summer Craft Cans
Summertime is here, and more San Diego breweries than ever are putting their tasty imbibements into aluminum cans. So before summer really heated up, it seemed like a perfect time to highlight some local canned releases we feel are best enjoyed during the summer months.
After all, hot weather calls for refreshing, lighter bodied, low in ABV crushable beer, and that’s what we tried to curate for this list. At the same time, we also looked for some creativity in both variety and style choices. In other words, with San Diego being an IPA town, we really made an effort to select as few as possible of that style.
We’ll let you decide how you want to enjoy your craft cans: camping, hiking, fishing, BBQ, bonfire, biking, or backyard hangout. That’s the beauty of aluminum cans — they go anywhere. These locally canned beers we will be a staple in our fridge (or cooler), and kept in heavy rotation through the dog days of summer. Cheers!
San Diego Craft Cans
- Green Flash Brewing — Passion Fruit Kicker
Specs: 5.5% ABV, 5 IBU
This beer is a fantastic heat-beater that takes you on vacation straight to the tropics! A wheat malt base, with passion fruit added makes for one juicy, refreshing experience. At only 5 IBUs, there is no lingering bitterness to this beer, only a tartness up front that mellows out into tasty passion fruit. If Passion Fruit Kicker doesn’t encompass summer in a can, we don’t know what does.
- Stone Brewing Co — Go To IPA
Specs: 4.8% ABV, 65 IBU
Being unapologetic hop heads, this beer has been our “go to” for a session IPA since it packs one of the hoppiest payloads for the style. With its recent introduction to aluminum, we highly recommend this ale as a key ingredient to your summer plans, whatever they may be. It’s sessionable and satisfying for a lighter ale, with some added maltiness — but most importantly, abundantly hoppy with a finish that leaves most standard IPAs feeling a little inadequate.
- Coronado Brewing Company — Easy Up Pale
Specs: 5.2% ABV, 35 IBU
Easy up, easy down as we like to say, because this just might be the most crushable beer on this list. Easy Up Pale is the newest addition to Coronado Brewing Company’s core line-up, exclusively offered in aluminum, that encourages you to “stay coastal.” It’s a lighter pale ale with crispness up front, and a solid dose of hops that offer a moderately bitter, hoppy finish.
- Latitude 33 — Blood Orange IPA
Specs: 7.2% ABV, 61 IBU
Whether or not you’re into the fruited IPA craze, the numbers don’t lie — as the #2 most locally sought after beer on TapHunter, San Diego is wild for this IPA! Quench your summer thirst with a huge wave of all-natural, juicy blood orange, with some Citra hops thrown in for good measure. This was a bigger ale at 7.2%, but we just couldn’t ignore the refreshability of this orange infused India Pale Ale, or how you can smell its citrusy goodness a mile away.
- Mike Hess Brewing — Open Mike™ Cans
Any of them! Although with summer weather, you should strongly consider their refreshing World Beer Cup gold medal winner, Claritas Kölsch. Open Mikes are the most technologically advanced cans on the market, where the entire lid is removed by pull tab, converting the can into an aluminum “glass.” Now you can see the beer, and smell the beer, along with a bevel-edged rim for easy sipping. The can that’s almost as good as a glass, for when you can’t use a glass…
- Modern Times Beer — Oneida
Specs: 5.2% ABV, 50 IBU
Yes, you could make an argument for any of Modern Times’ core offerings, but why not showcase the sessionability of their special summer release? Oneida is light and crisp, to the point you might think you’re drinking an IPL or hoppy lager. Regardless of how it comes across, you won’t be disappointed in its the floral notes and dry fruitiness the Hallertau Blanc hops deliver. Like it says on the can, best enjoyed fresh.
- Mother Earth Brew Co — Boo Koo
Specs: 6.5% ABV, 65 IBU
We said that we didn’t want to fill this list with IPAs, but we couldn’t help ourselves when it comes to Mother Earth Brew Co’s Boo Koo. We had to include it, since we think it’s the most hop forward IPA canned in San Diego. With a “vigorous hop dosing of Mosaic and Simcoe” how can you go wrong? Summer might be hot, but when you need to mellow out with an evening time serving of satisfying hops in a can look no further.
- Benchmark Brewing Co — Table Beer
Specs: 4.0% ABV
Belgians refer to low in alcohol sessionable ales as “table beer”, and Benchmark is one of a few local breweries to can a Belgian style ale. This ale is an effervescent citrusy thirst quencher with a gentle hint of spice. At 4.0% you can knock these down easily, but it’s better savored, making it a sessionable sipper. So grab a few of these, a table, and some friends.
- Pizza Port Brewing Co — Pick Six Pilsner
Specs: 5.2% ABV
No Ponto!?!? Calm down everyone — this thoroughbred of a hoppy pilsner does just as well in the heat, and remember we were looking for some style diversity. Pick Six is clean, crisp, and dry, with a little extra malt backbone to keep you on pace. Down the stretch look for a tasty burst of floral hop-forwardness as you head into its refreshing finish. An ideal beer for a hot day.
- Karl Strauss — Mosaic Session IPA
Specs: 5.5% ABV, 45 IBU
This Mosaic-laden ale used to be called Mosaic Session Ale, but has since been renamed to include those magical three letters in beer marketing: I – P – A. (Not like this hoppy number needs any help selling itself anyway!) This citrusy session ale is still hefty enough at 5.5%, and pairs well with any activity, although we prefer to enjoy it at a BBQ or backyard hangout. Limited runs will be canned through summer before holiday weekends like 4th of July, and Labor Day. Jump on them, because they sell out FAST!