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Low-alcohol beers perfect for celebrating summer

How better to enjoy the summer solstice than a full day of beer?
Five local craft brews that have great flavor but are low in alcohol

It’s official. The summer solstice is this weekend, and with it comes the longest day of the year. Apart from rituals or festivals, what’s the best way to celebrate the astronomical event? Since the solstice falls on a weekend this year, how about taking advantage of the nearly 14 hours of daylight for a marathon day-drinking session?

Of course, you’ll have to imbibe carefully to avoid burning out too soon -- it’s a long day after all. Beer is a natural companion to a day’s worth of drinking, especially if you choose to fill your glass with one of the high-flavor, low-alcohol brews being made by local craft breweries.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Angel City Brewery: Lo-Lo

The Arts District brewery and public house is actually throwing a Solstice Party on Sunday, and in addition to live music, food trucks and vendors, Angel City is releasing its summer seasonal loquat wheat beer. Lo-Lo uses fresh loquats sourced from Malibu, and it will be pouring alongside a deep lineup of the brewery’s other beers.

Golden Road Brewing: 329 Days of Sun

This golden lager splits the difference between a refreshing helles and the Mexican lagers that are so beloved in Southern California. It’s light and refreshing enough to quench a summer thirst, but flavorful enough for even discerning craft beer geeks. It also comes in 12-packs and is a fitting accompaniment to the weekend’s World Cup action.

Monkish Brewing: Saisonita

Saisons are beers made for day drinking -- literally. The style originated in the farmhouses of France and Belgium as a way to keep farmworkers hydrated and happy in the hot summer months. These rustic ales were catch-alls for ingredients that the farmhouse brewers had lying around, and this new example from Monkish keeps the alcohol low and the finish dry and refreshing.

Smog City: Little Bo Pils

Lager lovers in L.A. are finally starting to catch on to this dry and hoppy Czech-style pilsner from Smog City. Bo Pils is a magic-trick of a beer that satisfies the most discerning craft aficionados with its adroit balance and delicate hop aroma while remaining approachable and unthreatening to palates not yet hooked on pale ales, stouts or sour brews.

Eagle Rock Brewery: Solidarity

Speaking of magic tricks, this black mild from Eagle Rock Brewery makes preconceived notions of color and flavor disappear. One of L.A.’s original session brews, the sub-4% ale is dark in the glass yet light on the tongue. Full of roasted cocoa and coffee flavors, but as refreshing as an icy cold-brew coffee. It is the very definition of easy-drinking, but is still complex enough to not bore you even after two (or three or four) pints.

It’s a wonderful time to delve into low-alcohol brews in Los Angeles, and if you need a few more recommendations try these: a tart Berliner Weisse from Golden Road, the Bruery, Angel City or Strand; Pistol Whip’d Pils from Noble Ale Works; Palo Comado IPA from Ladyface Ale Companie; Saison De Lilah from Monkish Brewing, Torque from Kinetic Brewing in Lancaster; or Alpha Waves from Beachwood Brewing.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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