It's been quite a while since my last beer-related post - other than this frightening thing - so maybe it's time for should say a little something about the beers I've been drinking this summer (before I forget about them altogether).
Harpoon Hibernian Style Ale and Harpoon Summer Beer. And speaking of forgetting about altogether... I got these two at the same time way back in April, so forgive me if I don't remember everything about their taste. Here's what I do remember: I liked the Hibernian (which was being advertised as a springtime brew) much better than the Summer Beer.
The Springtime brew was a Irish Red, and was smooth and full-bodied. It was a nice little break from the hoppier stuff I'd been drinking. The Summer Beer, made in the German Kölsch style, didn't do much for me. To me, summer ales should be on the lighter side - something that goes down easy - but this one's bitterness didn't make for easy drinking. I don't know if it was because of it's style (I prefer saisons in the summer, like Flying Fish's Farmhouse Summer Ale) but it just didn't work for me.
Long Trail Blackbeary Wheat More often than not, I've gotten burned by fruit beers. And yet, I still can't seem to resist them. I'd never seen one made with blackberries before, so - after picking it up and putting it down about ten times - I finally stuck this one in my cart (I was home before I noticed the cutesy way they spell blackberry "blackbeary," which would explain the Yogi-like cartoon bear on the label).
Surprisingly, under that sugary-sweet label was a very good fruit beer. The
blackbearyblackberry wasn't too sweet or too overberryingoverbearing - there's just enough there to give the wheat beer a little something extra. Overall, the beer ended up being a great summer beer - it was light, very drinkable and seemed to go with whatever I was grilling.
Geary's Summer Ale Another Kölsch, and another beer that didn't wow me. It had more flavor than Harpoon's Summer Beer, but after about three-quarters of a bottle I never had much interest in finishing it. Not my idea of a summer brew either - a little too strong and too complex. That might be a good thing during the other seasons, but I don't like being challenged all that much during the summer months.
Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat This was the beer I picked up at the start of our week downtheshore. I remembered loving this stuff years ago, when I was just a wee-little beer snob (and when I still thought that drinking Sam Adams was daring). Well, my palate must have changed quite a bit since then, because I could barely drink it this time around. The cherry flavor is way too sweet and way too pronounced. The worst thing I can say about it is that the missus enjoyed it - it was that un-beer-like. Bleh. By the middle of the week, I went out and got a six of...
Victory Hop Devil IPA Ahhh, this was more like it. I've talked before about how much I love this beer. So flavorful, so complex, and so, so, very good. Yes, I know I said that I like to keep it simple during the summer - especially while I'm on vacation - but I'm willing to make an exception for this one. In fact, I think I'm ready to declare this my absolute all-around favorite beer.
Also during the last few months, I've picked up some beer for my monthly poker night with the
boysmen. A couple of months ago it was a six of Lagunitas Censored Copper Ale, which I did not like at all. A lot of bitterness, but not much flavor - not a combination that keeps me coming back.
Just this week I brought a Red Hook sampler with me. Red Hook's a brewery I've heard a lot about but had never tried. I liked their ESB and IPA just fine, but the Blonde didn't have much character and the summer ale - called Sunrye - seemed to have even less. Not awful, but not enough there to make me want to buy any of it again, either.
Now, my least favorite brewery has to be Miller - I just cannot stomach any of their beers. So, of course, at the last poker night it was my Red Hook and Miller High Life, Miller Light, Miller Genuine Draft and Miller Chill to choose from. That last one is supposedly in the chelada style, with what Miller calls "hints of lime and salt." It got such a bad review from Beer Advocate guys that I just had to try it.
Well, the Beer Advocate guys got it absolutely correct - this is truly a "beer for people who hate beer." I think it's also a drink for people who think wine coolers aren't sweet enough, or who have always wished that they could get drunk off of Sprite (though I would imagine that it would be easier to get a buzz from a few cans of Sprite than from this weak brew). Whatever it is, it ain't beer. Stay lejos, lejos, lejos away from this stuff.
I think that brings me up to the present, where I've recently purchased a six of Brooklyn Brewing Summer Ale (another Blonde ale) and a six of Flying Fish HopFish IPA (as well as my usual case of the very afordable - and quite good - Yuengling Traditional). That ought to get me through the rest of the summer.