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Beer Guzzler 

Feeling Good About Summer Brews

It's official: the first day of summer has arrived. As the temperature climbs, you may want to reach for a bottle brewed with hot weather consumption in mind. A full compliment of summer seasonals are now in stock, crafted in a wide variety of different styles. New Belgium Brewing in Colorado offers their Skinny Dip, a lightly sweet quaff with aromas of new-mown hay. Clean and refreshing with coffee undertones to the smooth malt flavors, there's just a light kiss of Cascade hops. Finishing with a nice kick of citrus, this is a brew you can feel good about drinking, since by purchasing it, you're supporting an employee-owned venture that relies solely on wind power.

Nestled in the California foothills, Sierra Nevada crafts some of the finest brews in the country. Their Summerfest is a light-hued lager that's ultra smooth and eminently refreshing. Offering a hint of wheat wrapped around its soft malt and light hop profile, it's a light-bodied style that goes down easily, finishing with a touch of orange and spice. And add the folks at Sierra Nevada to the green list. They use hydrogen fuel cells to generate almost all their energy needs along with numerous other conservation practices.

You can always rely on Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, to come up with a worthy brew, and their Twilight Ale is no exception. Similar in style to the Summerfest, but with everything amped up a notch, the Twilight has a bit more color, a richer malt, a bigger bolder hops and a brighter orange on the finish. The name says it all—this would be just the thing as you sit back and watch the day fade into night. Deschutes is a Champion-level participant in Pacific Power's Blue Sky project, which means that some 10 percent of their energy needs are met by wind power.

For a completely different take on the genre, try Anderson Valley Brewing's Summer Solstice Cerveza Creama. A dark copper hue lets you know you've gone beyond the light. This velvety, malt-driven brew with just the barest hint of hops will remind you a little of that summertime frozen favorite on a stick—creamcicles. And this California-based brewery is on the green bandwagon as well, having recently installed a solar array that will provide a big chunk of their annual electricity needs. That makes four brews you can feel good about drinking.

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