Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Summer Beer Project

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 Pêche
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.


Jamie said...

Maybe I'm a beer purist/snob, but I will not order any sort of fruit with my beer - I've sent beers back before at restaurants when they come out with a lemon or lime already in the beer. I’m fine with beers that were brewed with fruit or another adjunct, but I’m guessing that the brewer did not make the beer with the intention of someone later adding fruit to it post fermentation. I also cringed when I saw you mention World Wide and float in the same paragraph...that beer should be savored not poured on ice cream (served alongside ice cream however would be nice). All of the beers you mentioned are solid summer beers (except for the WWS – definitely for cold nights), but NONE in my opinion need anything added to them for full enjoyment.

comoprozac said...

Jamie, you make fine points. I am often torn with the fruit-in-beer controversy. However, I only have lemon or lime slices in beers that are not particularly great on their own like Mexican beers and Boulevard Wheat.

The Oberon thing is unique in that I love the orange slice soaked in beer at the end of my glass. There's also a little nostalgia going on there.

As far as the stout float, I would never waste a World Wide Stout on ice cream. A super chocolaty or most likely cheap stout would work best in a float. I guess that part wasn't clear. I simply name-dropped the WWS b/c it knocked me on my ass last night. Don't worry. I know how to enjoy a stout like that.

Telebastard said...

Oberon with Orange Slice looks like one of Jupiter's moons!

Katrina said...

Honored, very honored, to have the summer beer mentioned on Misery. Katrina and I are enjoying a few of them this very evening. (T.J. writing here, just had to log in as Katrina to post.)