|The Beach Shirt|
Baseball, burgers, beaches, and... beer? Summer is a time to enjoy the perfect weather and festivities no matter where you are. Vacations abound, skipping work to catch a ball game- that's summer. So often though people get so caught up in planning their getaway, they forget about the little things. Beer usually is one of those “little things”. So while you spend weeks planning your next move, let me pick the beer.
By the Sea
We see it time and time again in ads- feet in the sand, sun in the sky, mass produced cerveza in hand. This might work for the average college kid on spring break, but not me. Don't sell yourself short either. Many styles work and many brewers provide perfect options.
If you are going to be partaking in any treats on of the deep ( salmon, tuna, lobster) I would go with an American Pale Ale. Great but not overwhelming hop aromas will help counter balance almost any fish. 21st Amendment's Bitter American is a good choice. Also look for Anchor's Liberty Ale and New Belgium's Mighty Arrow.
If you are simply there to enjoy the sunshine and waves, take it easy with a light, creamy wheat (or Wit). These beers also allow for you to top it with a piece of citrus if you are inclined to do when out relaxing in the summer air ( lemon or orange- no lime). Harpoon Brewery out of Boston gives a great offering in their UFO White. If you find yourself on the white sandy beaches of Hawaii, search out Maui Brewing Company's Mana Wheat. My personal favorite is Rvertown Brewing's Wit Ale, but that one may be hard to find outside of the Midwest.
Were decks really designed for anything else? At my house as soon as the temperature reaches 70 degrees we move to a strictly grilled diet. A flaming grill covered with burgers, brats, and dogs while a bottle of beer sweats in the background is something right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.
With a burgers you want your beer to pair well with the cheese as well meat. A Brown Ale may not be what many would go to on a warm day, but don't let the dark malty color trick you in to thinking it will be too heavy. Out through the rich malty base comes a nice spicy blend of hop aromas for a truly smooth and flavored brew. Dogfish Head's Indian Brown Ale is hands down my favorite for this pairing. A little more of that hoppy taste than the rest will have, but the brown sugar finish should balance that out. Other options to with your American icon are He'Brew Messiah Bold from Schmaltz Brewing and Lazy Magnolia's Southern Pecan.
So the next time you are scouting out that palm tree shade or going to town on a neighbor's char-grilled masterpiece, avoid the urge to plunge a lime wedge in a long neck bottle of yuck and go for the good stuff. Why waste perfectly good weather on very imperfect suds? The most picturesque summer afternoon can be profoundly improved by the right brewing selection. Happy drinking!
ESPN Contributor & Beer Enthusiast
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