Last week as I was driving on the highway, I noticed a great big billboard for pumpkin ale. And I started screaming.
“PUMPKIN ALE? IT WAS JUST JULY LIKE LAST WEEK, YOU DAMN MARKETING BASTARDS. I WILL NOT BE DRINKING YOUR TERRIBLE PUMPKIN ALE WHEN IT IS 80 DEGREES OUTSIDE. I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU THINK IT IS ALMOST FALL. STUPID PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE MARKETING HYPE!”
Suffice to say, as a resident of one of the coldest states in the country, the oncoming storm of Fall just makes me shiver. Fall is a lovely season, we’ve romanticized the overcast skies, the crisp morning chills, the spicy seasonal flavors and treats, the beautiful blend of colors—ad nauseam. Fall is probably one of the most marketable seasons when we compare actual length of Fall weather to actual length of Fall marketing and income. Fall is great when I’m romanticizing it. But since the marketable, colorful-leaves-let’s-eat-tons-of-apples Fall is only about three weeks long, I tend of find it more heartbreaking than warming.
Let’s hang onto the last bits of summer. Here are my favorite summer beers to combat the onslaught on pumpkin ales and Oktoberfest.
1) Brooklyn Summer Ale
I mean, it’s summer in a can. It is SUMMER IN A CAN. It’s crisp and smooth and wonderful and I want everyone I’ve ever met to have a sip of it when I’m out. “Hi. You just brushed my elbow–care to try my beer?” The color scheme is lovely, the beer is bright and sweet, but not sugary like a shandy. It’s complex, but not overpowering–you can drink several in a row. Brooklyn Summer Ale. Can I date you? I mean, if you’re available and interested, that is. Go get it still if you can!
2) 21st Amendment’s Hell or High Watermelon
Ok, I know, it seems like a girly beer. (Which, is an issue in-and-of itself, but let’s not get me started on that right now.) For the most part, I drink a lot of really heavy beers–when I’m out my first question is “what is your IPA?” 21st Amendment’s Back in Black is beautiful–so I know they are a great brewery. Hell or High Watermelon is a great beer because the watermelon flavor is more of an essence. Again, no extra flavors or sugar like a shandy, just a nice little boost of fresh watermelon in the second round of fermentation. It is refreshing and beautiful and I wish I had had more than two sips of it this summer.
3) Indeed Shenanigans
Minneapolis is home to a plethora of amazing microbreweries. One of my favorites, known for their highly complex beers and strange yet adorable can art, is Indeed Brewing Company. I have loved almost every beer I’ve had from these guys. Their beers are intended more for sipping, hoppy and full-bodied—they are beers that beg to be talked about, to be discussed. When a friend told me they had a summer ale, I doubted Indeed’s ability to compete in the summer circuit. I bought a six pack of their cans and I was unimpressed. Indeed’s fondness for hops overpowered the beer, making it difficult to enjoy as a summer drink. A few weeks later this friend texted me to try it on tap. Somehow, this saved Shenanigans from being a forgettable beer—the tap version greatly surpassed the can version. The hops were toned down, and the citrus had been turned up. Again, like a good summer ale, there was a sweetness to it that made it easy to drink. If you’re out in downtown Minneapolis and you see the Indeed tap, order it. You won’t be disappointed.
4) Bell’s Oberon
I feel like Oberon was Bell’s Brewery’s attempt at making Blue Moon. And they kicked its ass. Again, like all the other beers on our list, Oberon is a great, simple beer. It’s hoppy enough that you don’t feel like you’re drinking flavored water, but calm enough that it isn’t like eating the hops. Oberon is a wonderful standby when you are at a strange bar and have no idea what you should drink. It’s easy to drink, refreshing, and just all around lovely company.
What do you drink in the summer? Have more suggestions? Let me know!