Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Beers for P-Mart

I got an email today from P-Mart today.

I need to find some good beers for quantity drinking. 2 pale ales or IPA's are about all I'm good for now. Bring on summer!

He also linked up a bunch of ESB reviews from the New York Times. I'm not real big on ESBs. There might be better ESBs than Goose Island's Honker's Ale, like the anniversary versions of ESB they make, but this one is fine. It's a beer-beer.

Here are some recommendations for summer drinking. Some are good for sippin', others for large quantity consumption. Make sure you designate a driver if doing the latter, or just consume at home with your spouse or room mates.

Clipper City Heavy Seas Red Sky at Night

Saison ales are nice. This is a decent example of one. Golden in color, a little tart, with a dry finish. This one has an ABV of 8%, so you don't need to quaf too many. P-Mart may want to see if he can get Boulevard's Saison, since it's in his backyard. Try out the George Brett as well, if you can get that one, it's a little less of a head-cleaner at 6.5%, but still very nice.

Another good style of beer to try in the summertime is Koelsch, or Kolsch with umlauts over the "o" for all you Deutsche Sprachers. This is usually a lighter, cleaner style of ale made originally around Cologne (Koeln, again, for you Deutsche Sprachers). Snubbed by most of the snobs on, this is a pretty simple beer to make, and quite honestly, is the closest thing to light American beer as you can get without actually drinking something owned by Bud/Miller/Coors. I had a Groovy Brew by Pioneer Brewing Company out of Black River Falls, Wisconsin. It wasn't bad. Just a smooth beer. Very quaffable.

Czechvar (Budvar Budweiser)

You want a nice, clean beer with a fruity yeast and a nice hop profile? You can't go wrong with the original Budweiser, from the Czech Republic, not St. Louis. Thanks to the largest brewer in the world, the original brewers had to change the name to get it sold in the U.S. So look for the Czechvar label, and try to get the brown bottle, because green bottles let green rays of light in, and that "skunks" the beer. You get this with clear bottles, blue bottles, every bottle except brown bottles. Another of my favorite Pilsners, Pilsner Urquell, comes in a green bottle. It tastes way better on tap. It tastes even better on tap in Europe. Anyway, go with a Czech pilsner if you can get it.

Finally, for summer drinking, for something different, try the often misunderstood American wheat beer. I am beginning to understand and enjoy American wheat beers a little more now that I understand they are not a straight across the board Weizen beer. If you're looking for that same bubblegum smell and banana-ester essence in an American wheat, you're likely going to be disappointed. The best American wheat beer, however, that I have had, does have a bubblegum smell. Hello, Gumball Head wheat ale, from Three Floyds. This is like a thirst quenching IPA. You can drink several at a time, and they are well worth every enjoyable sip. You should give Magic Hat's Circus Boy a try as well as Boulder Brewing's Sweaty Betty. I had some Sweaty Betty last fall, and here's what I wrote about it:

12 oz bottle. Pours straw-yellow, typical looking American Wheat. Smelled of toast, with peanut butter??? Yeasty. Tasted the same. I think I’m starting to get a flavor for what American Wheats are all about. Definitely not a Weizen. Taste reminded me of the Magic Hat Circus Boy.

So there you have it; some suggestions for some good summer style beers. If the evenings are still cool in your area, I also recommend a decent Belgian, or Belgian-style beer. The blue Chimay is excellent, as is Goose Island's Pere Jacques, and for that single sippin' beer experience, I totally recommend Unibroue's La Fin Du Monde.

No comments: