Aahhh. Midsummer: the time when Northern Americans (i.e. those with four distinct seasons) cherish every 80 plus degree day as each one swiftly goes buh-bye. The masses blindly ignore the impending doom of colder weather on the horizon. With fading tans, they wear sandals until they can no longer and their toes turn blue. Midsummer: a time when Southern residents hunker down, put the shutters up, and pray that the next hurricane isn’t named after them. November couldn’t come any sooner to give some relief to the miserable people who complain that the weather stays warm and gets hotter. These are the same folks who in February stick their tongues out and sadistically call their relatives up north when they see subzero temperatures in Wisconsin on the Weather Channel.
Wherever you live, midsummer can be bitter, sweet, or a little of both. For me, it’s a time to enjoy as many outdoor festivals as possible, and prepare myself for the chill in the air and ponder how to procrastinate switching my wardrobe closet. While it’s still hot, after a hard day’s work (often resulting in arriving home in the evening), I change from my ‘business casual’ attire and put on a pair of shorts, slip on the flip flops, and grab a cold one. Nothing satisfies better than a summer ale. I admit, I am a hophead and my faithful friend is a fellow by the name of (first name) India (middle name) Pale (last name) Ale, also known as I.P.A.
As much as I adore I.P.A., sometimes he takes a backseat to the lighter summer ale. I must admit, I haven’t been a big fan of seasonal beers (e.g. Pumpkin spice overkill!). However, there are exceptions. Take for example Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Christmas Ale (especially in cask form if you can get it). Sublime. Another seasonal favorite I have recently discovered is Brooklyn Summer Ale by Brooklyn Brewery. Described on its website as an “English Style Light Dinner Ale,” Brooklyn’s seasonal is light enough to enjoy at the beach on its own, or with a nice summer salad, fish or Pad Thai. The German and American Hops they use for this beer have just the right bite to satisfy my insatiable hoppetite.
I have yet to visit Brooklyn’s finest for some T & T (Touring & Tasting) which I hope to do on my next visit downstate. However, on a pilgrimage (and T & T ) to the F.X. Matt Brewery in Utica, New York, it was interesting to find out that Brooklyn’s 12 ounce bottles are brewed and packaged in Upstate Utica, at the country’s second oldest brewery. Take a look at the label of your next bottle and read the fine print. While some may not be pleased to know that Brooklyn’s bottles aren’t bottled in Brooklyn (say that five times fast!), it doesn’t take away from its’ interesting history about two guys who had a vision to revive Brooklyn brewing, but whose resources limited them to contract brew in upstate New York. If necessity is the mother of invention, then F.X. Matt is the surrogate for Brooklyn. No matter how you slice it, imbibe it, peel off the label, Brooklyn is a true New York beer, and its summer ale has a new fan. I love New York!