Cheers to the lager. Hazy IPAs may be all the rage and sours have become a popular choice among beer drinkers, but the lager has always been there, as a trusted and reliable friend.

Lager is a style that’s ideal for the summer. Plenty of local breweries make them well, and there are scores of variations to choose from. Sample a few of these creative interpretations when you need to clear the haze.

Eastside Dark Lager
Eastside Dark beer bottle

Photo courtesy of Lakefront Brewery

Lakefront Brewery

A full-bodied Bavarian dark lager that is a departure from some of the other golden brews mentioned here and packs a relative punch with a 5.8% ABV. I’m somewhat loyal to the breweries who were a part of some of my early craft beer experiences. The rich, roasted malt flavor of Eastside Dark was a revelation to me nearly two decades ago when I sampled it for the first time.

Jorge Jalapeño Lager

Brewfinity Brewing

Don’t be frightened by the fact that Brewfinity’s popular flagship beer is made with jalapeño peppers. The heat from the spicy addition is muted, but the fresh green pepper flavor offers a refreshing and likable, distinct flavor. Give this brew a try if you’re looking for something different.

City Lights Mexican Lager

Photo courtesy of City Lights Brewing

Mexican Lager

City Lights Brewing

The addition of Motueka hops gives this brew a hint of citrus flavor that goes great with summer. Add a lime if you want, but you really don’t need one to enjoy sipping on this crisp lager.

Special Amber Vienna-Style Lager

Sprecher Brewing

If you’re looking for a more robust flavor, it’s hard to beat Special Amber. Prevalent malts give way to a bit of hop bitterness at the finish of this full-flavored brew. Side note: Special Amber also adds excellent flavor to bratwursts when it’s used in a pre-boil with onions.

Gathering Place beer pint

Photo courtesy of Gathering Place Brewing

Arrivederci Roma Italian Pilsner

Gathering Place Brewing

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The crispness of Italian pilsners makes them ideal for summer sipping, and this one is inspired by the great beers made by Italy’s Birrofico Italiano. Gathering Place’s take includes an aromatic hint of fresh lemon and balances light malt with a touch of hop bitterness.

Poor Farm Pils

Company Brewing

Not really into experimentation? Looking for a more traditional pilsner? Company Brewing’s Poor Farm hits the mark. Milwaukee Magazine beer guru Chris Drosner is a big fan. “I remember it being really delicate, with good hop aroma and still pretty crushable,” he says. “Like, all the things a German pils is supposed to be.”

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