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Russell Gardner’s 3 beers to drink this summer

Okay, one’s a hard cider

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Velveteen Rabbit co-owner Pamela Dylag and Southern Wine & Spirits’ Russell Gardner at the bar’s grand opening on July 9, 2013.
Photo: Lucky Wenzel

While celebrating the grand opening of Arts District bar Velveteen Rabbit on July 9, we happened to spot a dapper, mustached fellow known locally as an expert on all things hoppy. It was Russell Gardner, former top beer geek at Block 16, now six weeks into a gig as Southern Wine & Spirits’ director of craft beer.

Naturally, we couldn’t say goodbye without asking him what we should be drinking this summer.

1. Speakeasy Tallulah

Gardner likes this extra pale ale for its hoppy, tropical fruit notes. Think bright flavors like mango and pineapple in this summer seasonal from the San Francisco brewery.

2. Ace Joker Dry Hard Cider

Gardner describes this 8 percent ABV cider as “Champagne-like with a great finish to it.” It’s also gluten free.

3. Big Dog’s Tailwagger Wheat

A Bavarian-style Hef from the local brewery, this brew is great for summer drinking, according to Gardner. German yeast gives the beer hints of banana and clove; 4.9 percent ABV gives you an excuse to have more than one.

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