There’s not much as refreshing as a beer on the Fourth of July. (Photo: MikesPhotos, Pixabay)

Summer is about red, white and blue, but also, for many of us, about beer. There’s nothing quite as refreshing on a hot summer’s day as a cold beer, and few things pair better with a hot dog, hamburger or other summer staples, either.

But gone are the days of your only options being Budweiser or Michelob. Craft beer is the rage now, and even many mass producers have introduced more nuanced flavors to keep customers interested and satiated. Here are four such picks for your summer events.

Brooklyn summer ale
This English-style pale ale is light, easy to drink and approachable. It’s 5 percent alcohol by volume and tastes like “summer in a bottle/can.” Produced at Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn summer ale is “100 percent British two-row barley … capped off with German and American hops to provide a snappy, clean bitterness and a bright, floral aroma.”

Price: 6-pack/bottles for less than $10 and 12-pack/bottles for less than $20

Founders PC pils
This take on a pilsner is an American pale lager that is light, crisp and “crushable.” It’s all American in its hops composition: Piney Chinook, Cascade and Centennial. Creators describe it as an “easy drinker with floral hop characteristics.” It’s 5.5 percent ABV.

Price: 6-pack/bottles for about $10 and 12-pack/bottles for less than $20

Sam Adams Boston lager
Sam Adams’ beers are more ubiquitous than the others on this list, but how can a beer produced by a company named after a Founding Father not make a list of beers the Founding Fathers would approve of? The company has been producing this summer classic since 1984. It’s a well-balanced, full-flavored beer that is sure to please all beer lovers. The ABV is 4.9 percent.

Price: 6-pack/bottles for less than $10 and 12-pack/cans for less than $20

Anchor Liberty ale
This American IPA, 5.9 percent ABV, is straightforward and deliciously hoppy. It has an eagle on the label, so how can it not be patriotic? First brewed in 1975 in honor of the bicentennial of Paul Revere’s historic ride, it also has the distinction of being the first American IPA to be brewed after Prohibition.

Price: 6-pack/bottles for less than $10

Jordan McCaygrew up here, lived in Chicago for a year, came back, worked at Earth Fare in East Brainerd flipping pizzas and ended up dabbling in the specialty section-which had a better selection of craft beer than most every grocery store at the time (four years ago). He credits Sam Smith Brewery, specifically their oatmeal stout and fruit ales, for getting him into craft beer, which he is now surrounded by at his job at Riverside Wine & Spirits. He loves how craft beer can bring people together. His motto is, “If I can’t have a beer with you, we probably won’t be the best of friends.”

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