Negra Modelo Price per six-pack: $6.99 BeerAdvocate rating: 3.38 out of 5 Rate Beer rating: 2.71 out of 5
Every summer, there's a drinker out there who decides that this is the year to tackle a Mexican beer. Every summer, someone walks away disappointed from a bottle with a beer-soaked lime in it. There's no need for it. Negro Modelo is in the same Constellation Brands ( STZ) family as Corona and Pacifico, but packs a lot more punch at 6% ABV an a whole lot more flavor into its brown, Vienna-style lager. Its not as light as some of its Mexican cohorts, but it is similarly priced and has a slight caramel flavor that doesn't need a sad little piece of fruit to carry it. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Price per six-pack: $6.99 BeerAdvocate rating: 4.07 out of 5 Rate Beer rating: 3.62 out of 5
It should be noted that Sierra Nevada has a summer seasonal - Summerfest lager - but it is nowhere near as refreshing as its original-recipe flagship brew and is about a buck more expensive. This hazy pale ale is distinctly hoppy, but not overly heavy at 5.6% ABV. It's fragrant, it's spicy and, best of all, it's also available in cans for summer sipping. Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale Price per six-pack: $7.99 BeerAdvocate rating: 3.96 out of 5 Rate Beer rating: 3.72 out of 5
Speaking of cans, Colorado's Oskar Blues has been putting its beer exclusively in cans since 2002 and isn't afraid to put a big brew into its small packages. Dale's Pale Ale is a nice balance of malt and hops, but the hop flavor is a bit more bold than the average pale ale. That could have something to do with its 6.5% ABV, which will come as quite a surprise to someone reaching into the cooler for something that looks like it originated from a 30-pack. Enjoy with caution. Newcastle Summer Ale Price per six-pack: $7.99 BeerAdvocate rating: 3.01 out of 5 Rate Beer rating: 2.71 out of 5
Newcastle's patent company, Scottish & Newcastle, was taken over by Heineken about four years ago. While that takes away some of Newcastle's street cred, it also means that Newcastle and its seasonal brand is available just about anywhere. This mild mix of hops and malt has just a hint of lemon and goes down just as smooth as Newcastle's flaghship brown ale. At 4.4% ABV, it's also mild enough to enjoy a few of them during a summer vacation.