Surfing sells. Brewmasters know this and style some of their beers accordingly, but how do the surf-themed suds go down after a long session? I decided to take one for the team and engage in a personal tasting of a smorgasbord of beers, all of which had surfy names, or pictures of surfboards on the label, or some other means of cozying up to surfing’s marketability. These five were the champions of my grueling taste test. Fair warning: Great Lakes Brewing is not available in California, so unless you’re on the East Coast, actually live in Cleveland, or have industry contacts, you aren’t gonna find it. And you’ll have to visit the Surf Brewery in Ventura to sample Oil Piers Porter, but that’s good news, because they have many other fine surf beer choices on tap.
Port Brewing “Wipeout” IPA. San Marcos, CA
If you find yourself getting drilled like the guy on the label, a strong (7% ABV) IPA like this would help ease the pain. It’s not really the kind of beer you want to drink on the beach though. Too rich and hoppy for that. What you want is a nice pierside or beachside bar with a patio and a big plate of fish tacos. Drown your sorrows, squirt some lime from the tacos on your reef cuts, and imagine what that barrel would have been like had you not blown the drop. Kook.
Kona Brewing “Longboard Lager” Kailua Kona, HI
Now this is the beer you want on a hot beach day. Smooth, refreshing, uncomplicated. It’s the old-fashioned single-fin longboard of beers; user friendly, but extremely hard to do properly at a world-class level. This would actually be a fine beer to drink while riding a longboard. It comes in cans too, so you could stuff one in the wax pocket of your trunks, crack it open after takeoff, and just stand there with your beer. God, that would be cool.