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June Pick Six: 6 Beers for the Start of Summer

Here on the J. McLoone blog we’re going to try something a little new. Get ready for the June Pick Six blog! Each month we’re going to give our favorite choices of the month for different beers of the season and present them in conveniently sized six packs! Beer comes in six packs and now so does our blog. Hope you enjoy!

June is the time where we start to move away from the cold rainy weather of spring and move readily and cheerfully into the summer sun with cold refreshing beers in hand. This month we’re focusing on lighter, easier drinking brews that are perfect for summer, but there is one bomb milk stout in the mix that definitely earns its spot in the sixer.

Empty Rowboat IPA – Lake Monster Brewing Company

  • Brewery Location: St Paul, MN
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 6.9%
  • IBU: 80
  • Availability: Year round


June Pick Six: Lake Monster Empty Rowboat IPA

Lake Monster’s brewers go a little overboard with the intense hop character of Empty Rowboat. They have an over-the-top outlook on brewing and it definitely pays off. This beer is packed with flavor and its wallop will knock you right out of your seat. Sitting is no defense against the punch you in the mouth taste. None are safe from the clutches of the Lake Monster, but this is one monster whose clutches you want to be in.

It gains a strong citrus bitterness aroma from the American hops in the brew and bitterness in the taste. Beautifully amber in color this beer is as aesthetically pleasing as the art on the bottle. I’m a firm believer in great beer and great breweries and Lake Monster has a philosophy that’s easy to get behind. There is always more to discover and  it is worth the effort to venture beneath the surface in search of something unknown and extraordinary. Keep exploring and venture out in your beer tastes. You never know what you’ll find.

Purple Haze – Abita Brewing Company

  • Brewery Location: Covington, LA
  • Style: Fruit beer
  • ABV: 4.2%
  • IBU: 13
  • Availability: Year round

June Pick Six: Abita Purple Haze

Usually I steer clear of fruit beers after being conditioned to dislike their cloying sweetness and overpowering fruit flavors that mask any hint mingling malt and hops. One of my first experiences actually drinking beer was back before college making the transition from cheap flavored liquor to cheap flavored beer. My adolescent brain thought this was a pragmatic process, but the outcome wasn’t so great. Drinking sugary Summer Shandys and Berry Weiss’s made me write off fruit beers (Sorry Leinenkugels). So it’s been a long hiatus, but I have found the beer that has changed my mind on fruit beers.

Enter Purple Haze. This is a fruit beer that focuses on the beer first and then the fruit second, as opposed to the other way around. It’s a light lager that greets your nose with sweet raspberry and the taste is sweet, but not so much that it overpowers the other flavors that brewers toiled to include. The fruit shows the beers namesake by clouding the beer and giving it a tinge of a purple hue. Tartness from the raspberries lingers, but not too long which makes you want to go back for another drink.

It was a long explanation, but the gist of it is this: if you have written off fruit beers give them another try. You might be surprised with what you find. Another solid fruit beer that builds on a great wheat beer first is Hinterland’s Cherry Wheat. Crisp wheat with tart cherry. Delicious.

Milk Stache – O’so Brewing Company

  • Brewery Location: Plover, WI
  • Style: Nitro Milk Stout
  • ABV: 6.9%
  • IBU: 15
  • Availability: Year-round
June Pick Six: O'so Milk Stache

Thank you to the lovely Sophie Nelson for the picture at Bier Zot


I apologize for sounding like a super hipster beer snob in advance. This milk stout is so new in O’so Brewing Co.’s lineup that it is not even listed on their website yet. I stumbled upon this gem at the Belgian beer inspired restaurant Bier Zot Beer Cafe in Door County, Wisconsin. Chock full with loons, whales, and other sought after brews Bier Zot has the atmosphere and beer menu that will make you want to stay all day. So if you are ever vacationing in Door County I highly recommend checking it out.

Milk Stache. The name makes you reminisce of younger days when taking a swig of milk gives you a faux mustache. Taking a swig of this lactose sweet stout coats your mouth with roasted flavors and the thick nitro head sticks to your lips giving you a more adult version of the traditional milk mustache.

Replacing Night Train (or Night Rain) as the dark and heavy brew this is a sweet milk stout best enjoyed on nitro. Delightfully creamy with coffee and caramel notes. Nitro gives the glass a thick head and the finish is smooth like it should be. Just downright tasty.

Censored Rich Copper Ale – Lagunitas Brewing Company

  • Brewery Location: Petaluma, CA
  • Style: Amber Ale
  • ABV: 6.7%
  • IBU: 39
  • Availability: Year round

June Pick Six: Lagunitas Censored Rich Copper Ale


Censored a.k.a. the Kronik (you’re welcome, I know you were all dying to know what lied beneath that wretched censor bar). Rated five stars on my Untappd profile, it is definitely a beer to behold. Now, the saying goes that beauty lies within the eye of the beholder and I gave it top marks. Not to say this isn’t a great beer, because it is and it is right up my alley with it’s “amber-esque” style and malty flavors, but I’m not one to give anything five stars due to unreasonably high standards for perfection. So perhaps my beholding ability was altered seeing as this rich copper ale was drank after a few other libations earlier in the night. Nonetheless, this is one of the best amber ales that I have had.

Heavier flavors, like roastiness and chocolate, are usually associated with heavier beers, but this brew is a smooth criminal. It puts on the face of a stout or porter, but finishes smoothly like an amber. It is on the more bitter side as far as amber ales go, but the sweetness from the chocolate malts balance this beer well and give an all around beer experience checking all the right boxes and hitting all the right spots of the palate.


Hop Nosh IPA – Uinta Brewing Co.

  • Brewery Location: Salt Lake City, UT
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 7.3%
  • IBU: 82
  • Availability: Year round

June Pick Six: Uinta Hop Nosh IPA


Hops, hops, hops! Attention hop heads, prepare to get your fix of hops when drinking this brew. Weighing in at a whopping 82 IBU this IPA is a hoppy snack. The moniker comes from Uinta and that is the perfect way to describe it. Yes, it’s hoppy, but don’t let that turn you off if you’re not crazy about the style. Don’t expect its bitterness to scrunch your face or pucker your lips because this is as balanced an IPA as I’ve seen in my admittedly short relationship with the style.

Lemon and citrus greet your nose when you bring Hop Nosh to your lips and the citrus doesn’t stop at just the nose. Each drink treats your mouth with sweetness from the citrus on the front of your tongue and bitterness on the back. The malt profile rounds out each gulp and smooths out the finish so you’re not experiencing that bite of bitterness. Let the wagon in the art be your vehicle to flavor town. God, I love bad metaphors. But all in all, this brew is crushable and an easy drinking IPA.

Outboard Cream Ale – Milwaukee Brewing Co. (MKE)

  • Brewery Location: Milwaukee, WI
  • Style: Cream Ale
  • ABV: 5.0%
  • IBU: 13
  • Availability: Year round

June Pick Six: MKE Outboard Cream Ale


Cream ales are light and can be the perfect transition into craft beer for craft beer newbies wanting to make the move from big beer to craft. However, a lot of cream ales can be a little too watered down and diluted in terms of flavor. Not Outboard. It’s a simple recipe for a simple style, but MKE knocks it out of the park.

It’s not out of this world flavorful, obviously because of the style, but it capitalizes on the flavors of Pilsner and corn malts. It has a creamy mouthfeel that allows it to be decadent without being too sweet. MKE lists it as the perfect pairing in the event that you are post digging, but it’s an exhaustion busting, thirst quenching beer that is the perfect refreshment for those long summer hours. Or you know, it’s great on those off days when you’re on a boat out on a lake of your choosing. Such is the tradition of Wisconsin summers.

There you have it. The first Pick Six blog is in the books! If you have any beers that you love to drink in this transition into summer let me know in the comments!

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