This article was originally written by Chris Castellani. It has since been updated by an additional contributor.
Summertime is here again and one of the best ways to beat the heat is with an ice cold pint of your favorite local brew. As New Jersey’s craft beer scene expands, NJ natives have more and more options when it comes to sipping on a brand new flavor made just minutes from home. Having trouble choosing just which beer to try this summer? We have a full list of Jersey-brewed beers that go with your summer Fridays, barbecue Saturdays and lazy Sundays.
Cape May Follow the Gull
Style: American India Pale Ale
Availability: Cans and on draft at tap room (Cape May)
Last year, Cape May Brewing Co. was asked to celebrate Cape May County’s 325th anniversary with a commemorative beer…and Follow the Gull was born. Named for the ubiquitous signs that dot the path from Atlantic City to Cape May, this beer is a full-on hop-bomb that is citrusy, tropical and juicy.
Why I like it: Follow the Gull is available in 16-ounce tall boys, because sometimes a 12-ounce can just isn’t enough.
Climax Hoffmann Raspberry Hefeweizen
Availability: Will be available at tap room in June (Roselle Park)
You don’t get to be New Jersey’s oldest microbrewery without having an arsenal of delicious beers. Now celebrating its 22nd year, Climax will be releasing it’s Hoffmann Raspberry Hefeweizen this summer. This cloudy, straw-colored beer has the pronounced flavor and aroma of banana with slight hints of apple, with the subtle taste of raspberry coming at the end.
Why I like it: The more you drink this hefeweizen, the more you will taste the crisp, refreshing raspberry.
Departed Soles Island Gurl Coconut Milkshake IPA
Style: India Pale Ale
Availability: Cans, bottles and on draft at tap room (Jersey City)
Island Gurl is a session India Pale Ale with a bright, hazy orange hue, like the sky on a humid summer morning over Lady Liberty. It boasts rich, tropical aromas of orange and mango, complimented by a sweet, creamy body from a dosage of milk sugar. This limited edition release returns to Departed Soles on June 16, with a special version aged in Caribbean rum barrels that will be sold in bottles.
Why I like it: The hint of coconut on the nose gives it an island feel, so you’ll feel like you have your toes in the sand no matter what the weather!
Cricket Hill Wit and Wild
Style: Belgian Ale
Availability: On draft and growler fills at tap room (Fairfield)
Cricket Hill just celebrated the release of this refreshing, easy drinking ale with a hazy, medium golden body from the barley, white wheat, and flaked oats used in the brew. Enjoy the wonderful citrus flavors and aromas from the coriander, sweet orange peel, lemon peel and fresh ground ginger. The perfect beer to quench your summer-time thirst!
Why I like it: Cricket Hill’s tasting room is now open seven days a week, so you can stop by and try a four-beer flight to find your favorite beer.
Flying Fish Onshore Lager
Availability: Cans at tap room (Somerdale) and in stores
Flying Fish pays homage to New Jersey with a beer that celebrates being surrounded by a breathtaking stretch of ocean and beautiful waterways. Onshore Lager pours a pure, golden color and German-style hops provide a crisp, clean finish. It will be released this June, so don’t miss out!
Why I like it: Flying Fish beers are designed to complement food, not compete with it, making them a great choice to bring along to a summer picnic.
Dark City Summerfield
Style: Berliner Weisse
Availability: Cans in tasting room (Asbury Park) and in stores
Greetings from Asbury Park, now the crown jewel of the Jersey Shore. Dark City‘s seasonal offering Summerfield is a dry-hopped session ale soured in the kettle. It’s unique and memorable, just like the hip people now populating the Asbury Park boardwalk.
Why I like it: This German-style beer is tart and refreshing – just what you want in a summer beer.
Twin Elephant Tongue Tied & Twisted
Style: Wheat beer
Availability: Growler fills at tap room (Chatham)
Tongue Tied & Twisted is a lower ABV wheat beer with notes of hibiscus, coriander and grains of paradise before being conditioned on regular and pink guava. This is another beer that falls into the “refreshing as a cool, summer breeze” category, and it’s only available at Twin Elephant.
Why I like it: Have you seen a prettier beer than this? Imagine the Instagram photos you will take!
Forgotten Boardwalk Funnel Cake
Style: Cream ale
Availability: Cans and growler fills at tap room (Cherry Hill)
There’s nothing that’s more quintessential “Jersey shore summer” than funnel cake at the boardwalk! For Forgotten Boardwalk’s Funnel Cake, however, you only have to travel to Cherry Hill to taste the easy-drinking cream ale made with real Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla beans.
Why I like it: It’s also available in a Nitro version for an even creamer experience, thanks to smaller bubbles in the carbonation process.
Little Dog Local Girl
Style: Blonde Ale
Availability: Growler fills and bottles at tap room (Chatham) and select stores
In the shore town battles between the locals and the vacationers, the locals always have the edge. And so does Little Dog’s summer seasonal, Local Girl. One of the brewery’s most popular offerings, Local Girl is a crisp blonde ale brewed with fresh ginger.
Why I like it: Little Dog is minutes away from the beach, so you can stop there after a day spent splashing in the water – a perfect way to cool off after being in the hot sun.
River Horse Summer Blonde
Style: American Blonde Ale
Availability: Cans, bottles and growler fills at tap room (Ewing Twp.)
Blondes DO have more fun. (Come on, we waited for the last beer on the list to throw that cliche in here!) River Horse‘s wildly popular summer seasonal makes the list for the second straight year because it’s the perfect beer for those who need an introduction to beers that are not macro and don’t rhyme with Mudweiser or Moors. Drink it with cheese, chug with burgers or sip it while catching up on your summer reading list.
Why I like it: It’s light, it’s refreshing and it’s a beer you can drink all day, whether you’re at a cookout or tailgating for a concert.
Don’t forget to check out the entire Brew Jersey series here.