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The 10 Best Summer Beers to Buy at Trader Joe's

When temps hit the triple digits and venturing outdoors feels like an extraterrestrial traverse across Venus, there’s nothing quite like cracking open a cold one. But with tens of thousands of unique brews, choosing the perfect summer beer isn’t easy. That’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting — or, in this case, heavy drinking — for you. 


In just one night, we tested 24 of Trader Joe’s most promising summer beers, rating them for their sessionability, refreshment, and flavor to bring you the supermarket chain’s top 10 heat-wave-ready brews. Beer heads beware: These aren’t the best beers; they’re Trader Joe’s best easy-drinking brews that we could knock back all day.


Our (Nerdy) Scoring Criteria

After browsing Trader Joe’s inventory and settling on 24 top contenders, we rated each beer based on three criteria: sessionability, refreshment, and flavor. 


Rather than simply averaging the three scores, we attributed greater weight to the beer’s flavor, while the beer’s sessionability and refreshment numbers were weighted identically. That’s how Stone Brewing’s IPA — which wasn’t very sessionable or refreshing — still managed to score high on our list. On the other hand, beers that aren’t flavorful (Corona, for example) still made the list because of their high sessionability and refreshment scores.


Check out the chart below to get the basics on all 10 beers and jump to each one for more details. (Note: Ratings are based on a maximum score of 5.)


Trader Joe's Beers at a Glance


Beer
ABV / IBU
Ratings: Sessionability / Refreshment / Flavor
Overall Rating
Fort Point KSA
4.6% / 17
4 / 3 / 3
3.3
805
4.7% / 20
4 / 3 / 3
3.3
Oranjeboom
5% / 19
4 / 4 / 3
3.5
Blue Moon Belgian White
5.4% / 9
4 / 4 / 3
3.5
Farmer’s Light
4.1% / 12
4 / 4 / 3
3.5
Peter’s Brand Classics
5% / unknown
4 / 4 / 3
3.5
Corona Extra
4.5% / 18
5 / 5 / 2
3.6
Enjoy By: Tangerine & Pineapple IPA
9% / 90
2 / 3 / 5
3.6
Modelo Especial
4.9% / 17
5 / 5 / 3
4.1
Hell or High Watermelon
4.9% / 17
5 / 5 / 4
4.5

A collection of summer beers sold at Trader Joe'sPhoto credit: Maxwell Shukuya/Cheapism

Fort Point KSA

Fort Point KSA
ABV (alcohol by volume): 4.6%

IBU (international bitterness unit): 17

Sessionability: 4/5

Refreshment: 3/5

Flavor: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3.3/5


This kölsch-style ale is Fort Point Beer Company’s take on a Rhineland classic. While it can’t compare to true kölsch, which must be brewed within sight of Cologne’s towering Gothic cathedral, Fort Point KSA’s low ABV and crisp, grainy flavor make it a good choice for a hot summer day.


805

Firestone Walker Brewing Co.’s 805 Beer
ABV: 4.7%

IBU: 20

Sessionability: 4/5

Refreshment: 3/5

Flavor: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3.3/5


Firestone Walker Brewing Co.’s easy-drinking blonde ale has a malt-forward taste and a hint of hops. That’s nothing to write home about, but 805 is an affordable, refreshing brew that goes down easy, making it an excellent summer beer.


Oranjeboom

Oranjeboom Beer
ABV: 5%

IBU: 19

Sessionability: 4/5

Refreshment: 4/5

Flavor: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3.5/5


Oranjeboom is a dry, Dutch lager that scores points for being eminently sessionable and refreshing. Better than its more popular cousin, Heineken, you should taste a hint of grass and citrus. It's inoffensive, light, and a tad too vegetal.


Blue Moon Belgian White

Blue Moon Belgian White BeerPhoto credit: Wikimedia Commons
ABV: 5.4%

IBU: 9

Sessionability: 4/5

Refreshment: 4/5

Flavor: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3.5/5


Mass-produced, ubiquitous, and owned by MillerCoors, this Belgian-style white beer is surprisingly tasty. It starts smooth before you get a few hints of orange, spice, and wheat, though the citrus notes taste a bit artificial.


Farmer’s Light

Farmer’s Light Lager Beer
ABV: 4.1%

IBU: 12

Sessionability: 4/5

Refreshment: 4/5

Flavor: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3.5/5


Farmer’s Brewing Co. says this beer was “brewed for refreshment,” and we see why. Thanks to its low ABV and IBUs and its unremarkable flavor, you can put these back like, well, water. So as long as you know what you’re drinking — a 99-calorie light beer — you won’t be disappointed by Farmer’s Light.


Peter’s Brand Classics Lager Beer
Peter’s Brand Classics

ABV: 5%

IBU: Unknown

Sessionability: 4/5

Refreshment: 4/5

Flavor: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3.5/5


A Dutch-style Pilsner brewed in Germany, this beer could use a little more oomph in the carbonation department. But that flatness, paired with this beer’s mild, yeasty flavor, means that you can drink a few pint-size cans of these before feeling too bloated or tipsy. And budget-minded shoppers will be pleased to know it’s $1.09 a can.


Corona Extra

Corona Extra BeerPhoto credit: MEGA
ABV: 4.5%

IBU: 18

Sessionability: 5/5

Refreshment: 5/5

Flavor: 2/5

Overall Rating: 3.6/5


Corona’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness: It doesn’t taste like anything. But don’t be intimidated by self-important beer snobs. If you shove a slice of lime in the neck, this has most of the attributes of a good summer beer.


Enjoy By: Tangerine & Pineapple IPA

Enjoy By Tangerine & Pineapple IPA
ABV: 9%

IBU: 90

Sessionability: 2/5

Refreshment: 3/5

Flavor: 5/5

Overall Rating: 3.6/5


Strong, bitter, and extremely alcoholic, it’s a wonder that this double IPA made the list at all. But it makes up for all that with its juicy tropical flavors and dank hoppiness, which manage to be refreshing despite the beer’s high IBU score. Unfortunately, this beer is a limited-release seasonal beer, though we can imagine Stone Brewing’s other brews, like its Tangerine Express, make great summer IPAs, too.


Modelo Especial

Modelo Beer
ABV: 4.9%

IBU: 17

Sessionability: 5/5

Refreshment: 5/5

Flavor: 3/5

Overall Rating: 4.1/5


When its gilded foil neck catches the light, it’s hard to resist opening one of these, especially on a sweltering summer day. But Modelo Especial isn’t just pretty to look at. It’s the quintessential sessionable beer thanks to its low ABV and clean, crisp flavor that has mass appeal. Unlike Corona Extra, it’s got an almost creamy body that would pair nicely with spicy food. 


Hell or High Watermelon

Hell or High Watermelon Beer
ABV: 4.9%

IBU: 17

Sessionability: 5/5

Refreshment: 5/5

Flavor: 4/5

Overall Rating: 4.5/5


Crisp, dry, and brewed with 100% watermelon puree, 21st Amendment Brewery has concocted an ideal summer beer, which manages to be refreshing and fruity without overwhelming the beverage’s slightly sweet wheatiness. As the brewery’s website promises, it is “summer in a can.” Fittingly, this seasonal brew is only available between April through September, so get your hands on a six-pack, put on some sunnies, and crack a cold one of these with your best buds this summer.


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