Photo by James Dickinson
Tossed in a golf bag or the capper to a well-stocked cooler, a six-pack of push tabs hisses fizz as the chilly, 12-ounce bullet molds to your hand. Hot beaches, glass-free pools and gritty city barbecues alike yield to their icy powers to turn down the sun's voltage. Greener than higher carbon-footprint glass bottles, canned beer is summer cool.
Avery Brewing Co. Ellie's Brown Ale
($5 per can) Nutty, rich and spot on with spicy tacos. The caramel flavors in this brown ale enhance mole sauce and chilis. Crossroads Coffee and Ice Cream South, 3600 Forest Hill Ave., 231-2030 or crossroadsrva.com
21st Amendment Bitter American ($10.50 per six-pack) Its packaging is a pop art masterpiece — 360 degrees of monkeys in space. The taste is love-it-or-leave-it bitter, with a touch of sweet. If you like radicchio and Campari, then you'll enjoy the chamomile and orange bite of this beer. Ellwood Thompson's Local Market, 4 N. Thompson St., 359-7525 or ellwoodthompsons.com
Oskar Blues Brewery Mama's Little Yella Pils ($5 per can) There's a reason this crisp pilsner is named after a habit-forming mood relaxer. Like an exhausted bail jumper at the end of a manhunt, it goes down easy. Crossroads Coffee and Ice Cream South, 3600 Forest Hill Ave., 231-2030 or crossroadsrva.com
Blue Mountain Brewery Full Nelson Virginia Pale Ale ($11 per six-pack)
Alerting all locavore hop heads: Here's an ale made from cascade hops grown in Nelson County. An aggressive, lemony attack tempered by malt-driven sweetness in a can. Once Upon a Vine, 4009 MacArthur Ave., 726-9463; 2817 Hathaway Road, 864-9463 or onceuponavine.us
Center of the Universe Brewing Co. Main St. Virginia Ale ($10 per six-pack).
The Ashland brewery makes "sessionable," aka not high alcohol, canned beer in the German-malt style. It's slightly sweet, with brown-bread flavors. Owner and brewer of COTU, Chris Ray, named the beer Main St. to reflect its less hoppy appeal to craft beer newbies. Corks & Kegs, 7110 Patterson Ave., 288-0816 or corksandkegs.com