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Summer sips: Essential San Diego beers for warmer weather

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AleSmith Pale Ale .394, a tribute beer to Tony Gwynn.
(Courtesy photo)

Using Memorial Day as the unofficial start to summer, it’s time to crack open these brews for enjoying the dog days.

While the calendar insists that spring is entitled to another three weeks, the rest of the world has determined that Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer.

That means we’re already four days into the season. Time’s a-wasting! Before we fall further behind, here are six essential beers for your San Diego summer.

At the beach

San Diego is awash in terrific India Pale Ales that perfectly complement the warm sun and salt tang of a day on the shore. A recent standout: Weekend Vibes (6.8% alcohol by volume) from Coronado Brewing balances tropical fruitiness with resiny hop oils and a finish as dry as a new beach towel.

The ballpark

Ballast Point’s Swingin’ Friar Ale (5.5%), which debuted in March as the San Diego Padres’ official beer, is a solid choice. Still, I prefer the fuller body and crisper hops of .394 Pale Ale (6 percent), AleSmith’s tribute to the late, great Tony Gwynn.

Independence Day

Head to Julian for a pint of Warrior Contribution (5%). Sales of Nickel Beer’s golden ale support the Inner North Star PTSD Retreat Center, a Julian haven that provides free services to veterans and first responders.

Over-The-Line

Like this tournament, which will mark its 66th anniversary this July, Second Chance’s Over-The-Line Lager (5.2%) is a blast from the past. A light-bodied German-style brew, it combines Pilsner malts with herbal European hops for a less-filling, tastes-great tour de force.

The track

Seeking a stylish performer that stands out from the pack and is known for its fast finish? Try Domestique (5.6%), Rouleur’s Belgian-style blonde ale. Bread-like malts provide a steady base for lightly spiced hops. Bred to be a winner, Domestique took a bronze medal at the 2018 World Beer Cup.

Heat wave

When the mercury climbs toward the century mark, crack open a low-alcohol refresher. Mikkeller San Diego’s Raspberry Blush (4%) is a quaffable Berliner weisse that takes an unusual, and unusually enjoyable, detour via a dash of Ethiopian coffee.

To read more from Peter Rowe’s column, go here.