Five light local beers for summer drinking

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By Will McGough Special to Frolic Hawaii

I don’t need a calendar to tell me that hotter days are on the way – all I have to do is listen to what my body is telling me. And right now, I find myself bypassing my usual big, hoppy beer in favor of a light, refreshing one. So much so that last weekend, I did something that would not go over well in a room full of craft brewers: I ordered a Coors Light. For me, the transition into summer means a change in palate, a desire for something a little more drinkable, something that I can gulp when I’m thirsty. And since I wouldn’t advise you to get in the habit of drinking bad light beer, I went ahead and put together a list of beers from our local breweries that pair well with summer’s long, warm days. All are available at their respective brewpubs; the last is also served at Village Bottle Shop & Tasting Room.

Pia Mahi’ai Honey Citrus Saison

Honolulu Beerworks Honolulu Beerworks calls Pia Mahi’ai (Farmer’s Beer) a tribute to the farmers of Hawaii. Brewed with locally grown oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, lemongrass and Big Island honey, it is a tropical take on the Belgian farmhouse ale. Its light body, golden color and refreshing citrus notes are best enjoyed outside. (5.6% ABV, 24 IBU)  

Slow Mow

Aloha Beer Company Brewer Dave Campbell calls the Slow Mow a “lawnmower beer,” which tells you all you need to know about its drinkability – it was specifically made for hot, sunny days in the yard. Brewed with American wheat, it’s unfiltered with local calamansi, lemongrass and honey. (4.8% ABV, 20 IBU)

Hana Hou Hefe

Waikiki Brewing Company This hefeweizen from Waikiki Brewing is equal parts refreshing and relaxing. Cloudy in appearance, it is made with half malted barley and half malted wheat, topped off by orange and strawberry flavors. Despite the clean taste and low bitterness, Hana Hou Hefe still packs a punch at 6.55% ABV, which means you can cool off and ramp up at the same time. (6.55% ABV, 15 IBU)

Makana Island Wheat

Stewbum & Stonewall Makana is a Hawaiian word meaning gift or reward. The proceeds from this Belgian wit ale will be donated to local charities such as the Hawaii Community Foundation. Pick up a growler of this easygoing, beach-worthy wheat and feel good about it. (4.8% ABV, 17 IBU)

Sunshine Wit Haze

Honolulu Beerworks in collaboration with Village Bottle Shop’s Tim Golden This Belgian Wit is a good sign of camaraderie within the beer industry. It features a citrus profile from freshly grated grapefruit zest, grown on Village co-owner Tim Golden's family farm on the North Shore, as well as some local pineapple. The boost of citrus is balanced out by notes of coriander that help the beer finish dry and refreshing. The first batch went fast, so they are currently brewing another, and it should be released in the next two weeks. Keep an eye out for it. (4.7% ABV)