Jun 29, 2011

Summer Beers

Something happens to me in the summer. I change in a lot of ways. The way I dresses changes, they way I eat changes, and especially, the beer I drink changes, dramatically.

I spend all Fall, Winter, and some of the Spring (not that we have much of a spring here in Arizona) drinking, dark, heavy, full flavored, high ABV beers, Stouts, Porters, Barrel Aged, Barelywines and the like. However, when the thermometer starts to rise, my beer starts to get lighter, lower in ABV, and in many ways, more drinkable.

I’ve learned however, in the last few years, light, does not mean less. Far from it in fact. There are some amazing “lighter” beers out there, that I find myself enjoying all summer long. I call them beach, or poolside beers, or “lawn mowing” beers. Here are some of my favorite.

A truely exceptional beer!

La Fin De Monde, from Unibroue in Canada. While not a “light” beer, it is a more pale, golden color example of a Belgian Triple (the best example of this style), that isn’t heavy like a stout, or porter. This is one of the best beers in the world in my opinion, and I say that in complete honesty. A golden, straw colored beer, with a light, but powerful (I know, contidictory) flavor. High in ABV (9%) and fairly expensive (about $8 for a 22 oz bottle) this is not a beer you want to buy a ton of and drink all afternoon by the pool. It does make a great dinner beer for a hot outdoor cook out however.

Nice beer, GREAT label!

Sam Adams Summer Ale This is a great example of an American Pale Wheat Beer. A nice light beer, inexpensive, and low in ABV (5.3%) this is a good boat, beach or pool side beer. It also has the best label of the “summer” style beers, a Winslow Homer!

Alaskan Summer Ale, a nice, somewhat light, flavorful Kolsch style beer. This style tends to be crisp, lighter, and easy to drink, and this example is no exception. It has a typical 5.3% ABV, and a light, almost vacant aroma. However, the flavor is a crisp, wheaty, grain taste, with a nice soft hint of lemon. Look for Free Willy on the label!

Bell's Oberon, Sitting on the dock in Bellaire

Nothing to me says summer, or signals the start of summer better then a pint of Bell’s Oberon! The “classic” summer beer to me, and one I have in my fridge all summer (even had a keg of it at our wedding!). Another example of the American Pale Wheat variety (by far the best). This beer is proof you can make a lighter beer that still has a lot of flavor, but still be easy to drink. A slightly higher ABV at 5.8%, and a tad on the more pricey side ($8.99 a six pack) this is not the cheapest option, but always an option I go with when it’s within reach. Every time I have this beer, it takes me back to the dock, on Intermediate Lake, in Bellaire Mich., at sunset, with a fine cigar, and my beautiful wife of 3 days (at the time) on our honeymoon. To this day, one of the most enjoyable, memorable beers I’ve had the pleasure of “experiencing” more than drinking. I love this beer for some many reasons!

So, whatever your mood, grab a 6 pack, or bottle of a great, summer beer, put on some sun screen, and if you can’t be on a beach watching bikini’s run by, you can at least imagine it for a while!