The Men’s Health Guide To The Best Beers Of The Summer

Brewers are cranking out full-flavoured beers with less kilojoules than your usual craft offerings.


Paul Kita & Kelleigh Korevaar |

Brewers are cranking out full-flavoured beers with less kilojoules than your usual craft offerings. So they’re great for any occasion, but especially these cherished summer pastimes. Stock your cooler with a spectrum of  “light” beers that don’t suck. These picks will fuel your day without filling your gut.

Related: 3 Easy Braai Recipes To Try Out This Super Rugby Season

What Is The Best Beer For Different Occasions?

Best Beach-Going Beer: Cape Brewing Co. Pale Ale

This brewery took an easy-drinking 4.8% pale ale and stuffed it silly with hops, lemon and tart granadilla.

Best Post-Work Patio Beer: Riot Brewery Valve IPA

The Valve has strong guava and grapefruit flavours and is a bracing jolt that goes well with a sunset, and silencing your office email account. Plus, it won a gold medal at the 2017 SA National Beer Trophy Awards.

Best Yard-Work Beer: Little Wolf X Stellenbosch Brewing Co. Sorghum Gose

This sweet-sour beer  contains sea salt, which helps after sweating through a thorough weeding. Thanks to its 3.5% ABV, you could go back to working in the yard – or have another.

Best Garden Beer: Flying Fish Chill Lite

Okay, hear us out on this one. This refreshing beer is softly bitter with fresh juicy lemon zest and hints of lemonade. Plus, it’s lighter and  lower in alcohol than its parent (we’re talking 30% fewer kilojoules and 35% less sugar).

Best Seafood-Boil Beer: Darling Brew Sun Gazer

Claw cracking, shell peeling, kob gnawing – there’s no better summer feast than a giant pot o’ shellfish with all the fixings. Enjoy this dry-finished, only slightly hoppy beer.

Related: 6 Low Calorie, No Alcohol Drinks To Try At Your Next Braai

Can You Add Beer to Your Booze?

New-school beers make great mixers straight out of the can or bottle. Carey Jones, co-author of Be Your Own Bartender, has your recipes.

Start with: Nottingham Road Swinging Samango Mango Ale

Pour 90ml beer into a beer glass with ice and 150ml coconut water, 30ml dark  rum and 15ml lime juice.

Garnish it with: a lime wheel and a cocktail umbrella.

And you have:  a MangoNut Punch, which tastes a lot  like lounging poolside at a swanky Camps Bay hotel.

Start with: Woodstock Brewery Acid Queen Granadilla Sour

Pour 120ml beer into a collins glass with ice and 60ml ginger beer (such as Stoney), 15ml lemon juice, and 30ml vodka.

Garnish it with: a big mint  sprig, clapped between your hands to release its aroma.

And you have: a Sour Queen Mother, which is one heck of a  while-you’re-braaing drink.

Start with: Little Wold Kirshe

Pour 1 bottle of beer into a beer glass rimmed with lime juice and salt, plus 45ml blanco tequila,  60ml pomegranate juice, and  a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Garnish it with: a lime wedge.

And you have: a Big Bad Wolf, which goes best with Taco  Tuesday, preferably after a  long run or bike ride.

*Illustrations: The Elephant In The Room

Related: Have The Best Braai: We Show You How To Perfect The 8 Dishes You Always Mess Up

Is There a Smart Way to Day-Drink?

Yes, but heat and water loss pose a challenge says Dr Keith Roach, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Men’s Health advisor. These are his tips:

Tip 1: Stay hydrated. Because you’re likely outside and sweating, you should drink water or sparkling water between beers.

Tip 2: Replace electrolytes. You lose them when you sweat, so make sure you also eat something with salt. Pretzels, anyone?

Tip 3: Heed nature’s call. Ignore the whole “breaking the seal” myth. Frequent urination is a sign that you’re well hydrated. If you can’t remember the last time you peed, it’s time for water (and maybe lay off the booze).

What’s The Best New Cooler of the Summer?

Pelican 19-Litre  Elite Cooler

Overpriced options may come with Bluetooth or bakkie tires, but what matters is how long beer stays cold. Pelican says this box keeps 11.5kgs of icefrozen for up to ten days. If that’s true, who needs a fridge?

Buy Now

R 2 633

Buy Now

How Do I Pack the Perfect Cooler?

The trick is to separate your offerings into thirds.

The First Section: Dedicate the first third to straightforward beers everybody loves; these are your crisp pilsners and classic lagers, says Joe Bisacca, cofounder of Elysian Brewing. Think Corona, Castle Lite, Black Label.

The Second Section: Devote this part to beers for more  adventurous types, but skip nap- inducing double IPAs or anything aged in a bourbon barrel. Instead, go with varieties such as sours, goses and saisons.

The Final Section: This is your party fail-safe. Stock this  portion with non-alcoholic alternatives – your water, sparkling waters and (every-one forgets this last part) a few snacks. Everyone’s happy; no one’s thirsty.

Related: This Is How Drinking Beer Affects Your Muscle And Fitness Gains

Why Do Some Beers List Kilojoules and Others Don’t?

Well, no one forces them to. While many beers are brimming with kilojoules (some stouts can clock in at  1 000kJ), there are no laws requiring brewers to put the counts on the can.  Some breweries publish kilojoule content (Castle Lite, for one) but do so voluntarily. One general rule: the higher the alcohol by volume, the higher the kilojoules.

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