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Friday, April 17, 2009

Summer Beer Project

This post originally appeared on my blog, but I thought I'd reproduce it here...

One of my favorite pastimes of the summer (well, any season really) is the consumption of beer. Each year, I get hooked on a particular beer or other recreational beverage (mojitos come to mind) and am always on the lookout for something to both quench my thirst and lighten my mood.

I was thinking about this summer's drink du jour as the sun decided to visit Misery today. What will be this summer's drink? Will it be an old stand-by or something new. I've decided to explore the possibilities throughout the summer. But before this project begins, let me cover a few favorites or possible winners for the summer.

Cream Ales
This is a style that I barely knew existed. Then my mom delivered some New Glarus this evening, including some of their cream ale Spotted Cow. Cream ales are top-fermented beers that go through an extended period of cold-conditioning or lagering. The Spotted Cow I had tonight was light and refreshing, perfect for summer.

Summer Beer
This one will have beer purists gagging, but it's a good option if you want refreshment and alcohol without the heaviness of several beers. First, you fill a typical pint glass about 2/3 full with an unfiltered wheat beer. Boulevard Wheat works the best for this. Then, pour in a shot of vodka and top it off with lemonade. My friend TJ introduced me to the summer beer a summer or two back. Apparently, it's a big thing in Lawrence, but I won't tell if you won't.

Stout Float
I love ice cream. I love stouts. However, until I came to COMO, I would have never put the two together. Somehow, it makes sense. This is a drink with which I may have to experiment. Should I use dry stouts or over-the-top imperial stouts (like the Dogfish Head World Wide Stout that nearly knocked me on my ass this evening)? This could be either the most fun of the summer drinks or the most disappointing.

Oberon with Orange Slice
Here's another drink that makes beer purists gag, but I swear by this combination. It was customary in Columbus to toss a slice of orange into a wheat beer, but none compare to Bell's Oberon. The best part might be eating the orange slice at the end.

Dogfish Head Festina PĂȘche
This is the first beer that cannot be had in Misery, but a quick trip to Illinois will make this terrible reality go away. This is one of the few beers I've had that is light enough, low enough on the alcohol (4.5% ABV), and features just the right amount of fruit to be a one-and-done summer drink. It has rather complex layers of flavoring with a touch of sourness that satisfies after one bottle. I still have three of my four-pack, waiting for warmer weather.

Negra Modelo with Lime
Mexican drinks are often synonymous with summer. I prefer the darker Negra Modelo with a slice of lime. The trick is to see whether you can properly get your lime from the neck of the bottle to the bottom without spilling it all over the place.

I realize that these drinks are beer-specific, but I write about beer. What are you willing to try? What do you think will be this summer's drink du jour? Let me know if you try any of these suggestions. Leave me something in the comments.

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  • the whole alcohol + dairy products thing has me a bit nervous... i shy away from white russians and bailey's and the like. still, the stout float intrigues me: is this the kind of thing where your tastebuds and brain have to work really, really quickly to make sense of the strange, alien combination (after which, you're all "cool, i can deal with this..."), or is the experience more familiar and natural (i.e. "oh sure, this tastes a lot like X--no need to freak out, gag reflex.")?

    By Blogger iLLiaC, at 8:59 AM  

  • I'm up for 2-6. Perhaps I'll have to make a couple of these summer drinks with the reverend doctor and we'll document them for DV. I have a balcony that boasts a new table and chairs so it's all ready to go for long nights sitting outside with a cold one in soon as the weather cooperates, that is.

    By Blogger abby, at 9:22 AM  

  • Um, I'm not really sure. I just know that I did not like the stout float I had once, but the stout was somewhat light. I really think a chocolate, cherry, or coffee stout would work. The only problem is that it's hard to justify such poor treatment of such strong beers.

    Abby, what do you have against cream ales? Or is it that you can't get New Glarus in your neck of the woods? Just curious. There is nothing like a cold one on the back deck in the middle of July.

    By Blogger comoprozac, at 3:10 PM  

  • Why not brew some of your own?

    By Blogger Idle Crank, at 1:56 AM  

  • I am brewing this Sunday.

    By Blogger comoprozac, at 6:24 AM  

  • Oh I love cream ales!

    By Blogger Ashley, at 10:48 AM  

  • I don't think I've ever had one. I've never heard of New Glarus. I'll have to ask around. It's likely at Jungle Jim's or the liquor store in Hamilton, which has a pretty respectable selection (as far as I can tell). I'm not sure what my problem is, being all anti cream ale and whatnot. Sheesh.

    By Blogger abby, at 7:39 PM  

  • Abby, I'm sorry to inform you, but New Glarus can only be purchased in Wisconsin. There are other cream ales out there, though.

    By Blogger comoprozac, at 8:48 PM  

  • Oh, well damn.

    I just googled Ohio cream ales and guess what came up? LITTLE KINGS! Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Now, that is funny. Did you ever drink LK when you were, er, young and desperate? Jerms can still sing their jingle.

    By Blogger abby, at 10:26 AM  

  • I have had LK. Try this site.

    By Blogger comoprozac, at 10:28 AM  

  • I'll have to make a couple of these summer drinks with the reverend doctor and we'll document them for DV.

    North Sydney Boot Camp

    By Blogger Saad, at 5:02 AM  

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