It’s terrace, park and pool drinking season, a time when boozy winter warmers give way to session brews and oh-so-many spritzes in stem glasses.
Around Denver, lower alcohol options are here to stay. For breweries, they’re an alternative to those higher alcohol-by-volume (ABV) IPAs or big, barrel-aged stouts and porters.
On cocktail menus, they might get their own menu category, tucked between the high-octane mixed drinks and the no-alcohol virgin options.
And if brew or cocktails aren’t your style, there are besides plenty of lower ABV ciders or pear ciders, besides known as perries.
Here are eight options to order around town to make those summer drinking years last longer:
Whether they call it a shandy (England), a clara (Spain) or a radler (Germany), Europeans — bless them — have banded out how to drink brew all day, every day without ever exhausting. Sometimes their secret, aside from centuries of practice, is a splash of, or up to equal environment of, fruit drink. At Wibby production in Longmont, the Lightshine Radler is a Helles lager mixed with Wibby’s own raspberry fruit drink. And at just 4.5%, it’s a great, American all-day drinking option. 209 mineral St., Longmont, 303-776-4594; wibbybrewing.com
Ivy on 7th in Capitol Hill serves a big, bulbous St-Germain spritz alongside its daily brunch offerings. The elderflower cordial together with sparkling wine, soda water and a squeezed lemon peel is poured over plenty of ice and fancy with aromatic lavender or flower petals. 410 E. 7th Ave., 720-828-8180; ivyon7th.com
At Death & Co.‘s Denver outpost in The Ramble building, the Velvet Buzzsaw is a refreshing spritz twist that starts with yeoman gin, wine and Campari, adds in rhubarb cordial, lemon juice and raspberry, and smooths everything over with some seltzer water. 1280 25th St., 720-330-2660; deathandcompany.com/location/death-and-company-denver
Isabel, the new bar at The Source Market Hall is a tribute to Mexico, with a focus on Latin American liquor. For a lighter start to the day or night, try the Bambu, a fortified wine cocktail with two types of wine, demerara sugar, saline, expressed lemon and liquor. 3350 Brighton Blvd.; isabel.bar
For whisky drinkers, Run for the Roses‘ Akashi Ume Plum whisky mixed drink mixes two ounces of the spirit with Fever Tree soda and a dehydrated lemon wheel. This is a lower alcohol alternative to the new dairy farm farm Block bar’s more booze-forward options. 1801 Blake St.; rftrbar.com
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A perry is a hard cider made from fermented pear rather than apple juice. At Denver’s original urban wine maker, The Infinite Monkey Theorem, the dry-hopped pear cider is a low-ABV counterpart to the brand’s reds, whites, roses and peach Bellinis. It’s made with Citra and Nelson Sauvin hop for a light grapefruit note on top. And it comes in a can for portable summer drinking. 3200 Larimer St., 303-736-8376; theinfinitemonkeytheorem.com
Denver’s heavy metal-loving TRVE production favors session brews and rarely brews them over 5.5% ABV. And piece the plant is experimenting this season with extra-low ABV batches (see if LOWER, a foeder-fermented saison at 2.8%, is available), it will always have the COLD Kellerpils on tap, a best marketer in the bar, at 4.9% alcohol by volume. 227 Broadway, 303-351-1021; trvebrewing.com
Denver’s darling, triumph day spot, Call, makes its own version of this traditional British summer drink. The Call’s Cup starts with a combination of Pimm’s No.1 and Combier Pamplemousse grapefruit liquor and finishes with soda water and fresh-squeezed lime juice. Cucumber, mint and fresh berries top it off. 2845 Larimer St., 303-954-0230; call-denver.com