“Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam…”
–The Impressive Clergyman, The Princess Bride
Once again, it’s June, the time when nature and nurture run riot, weddings come fast and furious, and hot starlit nights may result in lives becoming delightfully more complicated. You can keep your February — it’s too darn cold to stargaze, skinny-dip, or run through a field of flowers. There’s a reason Shakespeare didn’t write A Latewinter Night’s Dream.
With that said, this month I want to look at summer bottles to share. More and more, quality beers — especially specialty and limited edition beers — are being bottled and sold in larger bottles. Whether measured at 22 ounces or 750 milliliters, these beers are perfect for sharing with a special someone. So whether it’s the front porch swing or a lawnchair while the kids play in the sprinkler, here are some ideas for your summer quaffing.
If it’s light and fruity you’re looking for, check out Unibroue’s Ephemere. This hot-weather quencher starts out as a wheat beer — then the brewmaster adds apple juice, coriander, and orange peel for a bright, elegant bottle to share. Ephemere has passed through several incarnations in the past — there has also been cassis, raspberry, cranberry, and peach versions. Try it now — who knows what genius might come next?
If you’re looking to spice up your June love life, I would recommend taking that literally and cracking open a bottle of Rogue’s Chipotle Ale. Rogue — who has never been shy about coming up with new and wild beer concepts — infuses a golden ale with rich, spicy chipotle peppers. It’s not over the top, but you will definitely notice the smoke getting in your palate, if not your eyes. Rogue even recommends mixing it with their Chocolate Stout (which is incredible) for a Molé Black and Tan. At the Galleria, we just got our first case of this year’s batch.
Finally, chill out with one of my favorites from Seattle, Pike Brewery’s Naughty Nellie Ale. This is a rich and satisfying session beer (for a definition, see this month’s BVB, below) laced with mild hops and rich golden malts. It’s a perfect summer restorative after you’ve worked up a sweat. (How you work up the sweat is up to you.)
As always, keep your head up, your lace delicate, your malt toasty, and your hops snappy.
THIS MONTH’S BEER VOCABULARY BUILDER (BVB):
Session Beer: British term for beer of moderate alcohol content (up to around 4.5% ABV) suitable for drinking in quantity over long sessions. (Taken from http://www.englishalesbrewery.com/british-brewing-glossary.htm).
Duke’s take: Also known in the US as barbecue beer, tailgate beer, or lawnmower beer. While the Quadruple Imperial Coffee Stouts might get the critical acclaim, session beers are a definite necessity — something to drink with friends or something to enjoy yourself when you just want a cool, tasty drink.