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Best beers for the 4th

The suds you need for Independence Day

Peaks and Pints bartenders Nicole Allen and Barry Williams tend the bar and suggest summer beers to patrons. Photo credit: Christina Butcher

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Fireworks crackling overhead, food sizzling on the grill, and ice-cold beer to cool you off in the summer heat. Most people would agree that no 4th of July celebration is complete without all of these ingredients. And most beer enthusiasts will agree that you can't drink just any beer under the glare of a long, summer day in Washington state. Instead, you need to find the right beer, especially if you're celebrating Independence Day.

"Summer screams for lighter bodied, lighter weight beers with clean, crisp flavors, such as wheat beers, gose, fruit beers and IPAs," explained Ron Swarner, one of the South Puget Sound's leading beer experts and co-owner of Tacoma bottle shop and taproom Peaks and Pints.

Swarner has been writing about beer on almost a daily basis during the last four years, and he gave The Ranger his recommendations for the perfect summer beers to enjoy during this year's 4th of July festivities:

Hefeweissbier (5.4% ABV)

"Weihenstephaner's Hefeweissbier is the gold standard of wheat beers, and it's hard to beat. Weihenstephaner lays claim to being Germany's oldest continuous operating brewery, with evidence in the abbey's records that it was receiving hops, and therefore probably brewing, as early as 768. The Hefeweissbier is unfiltered, giving it a cloudy appearance and a prominent yeastiness that contributes the banana and clove aromas associated with the style."

Water Chopper Gose (4.8% ABV)

"Created by 7 Seas Brewing, Water Chopper is dry, moderately sour and extremely refreshing. For local flavor, 7 Seas Brewing added San Juan Island sea salt and a pinch of coriander, as the Gose-style dictates. It's a funky, tart and in-your-face creation. Gose is an old style of beer that's often overlooked. Traditional versions are quite sour and salty. It has very low hop bitterness."

Windfall Grapefruit IPA (7.7% ABV)

"Bainbridge Island Brewing's best-selling beer, Windfall Grapefruit IPA hits the tongue with grapefruit, grassy hops and malt. The finish is moderately bitter with a fruity hops aftertaste. The beer originated in the winter of 2015, when Bainbridge Island was struck by a furious windstorm that knocked out the brewery's chiller while a tank of IPA was fermenting. The owners couldn't release it as the original beer, but it was delicious, so they hit the beer with pink grapefruit and figured they'd save the batch by releasing it as a special one-off beer in their taproom."

Wild Cherry Ale (5.9% ABV)

If winning the gold medal for best Belgian fruit beer in the 2017 Washington Beer Awards wasn't enough, E9 Brewery's Wild Cherry Ale was also named the 2017 "Best Washington Agricultural Product Inspired Beer. "It smells like boat loads of cherries and tastes the same, with a nice sour balance."

Readers can get their hands on the above beers by visiting some of Swarner's favorite bottle shops and taprooms in Tacoma, including The Copper Door in Stadium District, Edison City Alehouse in South Tacoma, Peaks and Pints in Proctor District, Tacoma Boys on Sixth Avenue and Local Boys Tap Room near the Purdy Bridge.

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