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Sampling Summer Brews 

While it's not that close to the season yet, some of the bigger craft breweries have already released their summer offerings—and since temperatures have already topped 80 degrees in Boise, what better excuse to give them a try? All three weigh in around 5 percent alcohol by volume, which makes for a nice, sessionable post-lawn mowing reward.

Deschutes Hop Slice Summer Ale, $1.59-$1.89

In the glass, it's a crystal clear, brassy yellow topped by a two-finger head that leaves a sticky lacing. It's from the northwest, so there must be hops and, yes, a big hit of the resiny version comes through on the nose. The hops are a bit more restrained in the mouth, blending with wheat bread, soft malt and citrus. It's an eminently quaffable brew.

Samuel Adams Lemon Wheat Summer Ale, $1.59-$1.89

This one is a hazy lemon yellow topped with the thinnest of porous heads and has sweet citrus, cracked wheat, roasted malt and a touch of spice on the nose. It's a smooth ale, which is lightly carbonated, with ripe lemon and sweet malt flavors dominating, backed by fresh grain and light hops on the finish.

Sierra Nevada Summerfest Crisp Lager, $1.59-$1.89

This one was like stepping into a time machine. It's 1968, the Cubs are on TV, and my cousin-in-law has just cracked open a can of Hamm's—a delicious taste I'll never forget. The Summerfest has hops, lively citrus and fresh mown hay on the nose; toasted grain, lightly sweet malt and a kiss of hops on the palate. Crisp, clean and refreshing, what's not to like?

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