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Summertime, Sweet Summertime

Though it may not feel like it, summer and warmer weather is coming to New England. Most of you will be out of town for the summer starting new careers or interning between RC and EC. No matter where you find yourself, have a great summer. To send you off, here is a quick survey of the best beers to drink when it’s warm outside.

Many small breweries release summer beers to save you some trouble. Typically they are either in the K”lsch light ale style or some sort of variation on the German or Belgian wheat beer style. Though suitably light and refreshing, they get really boring by the time the summer really gets going. I recommend being your own person and thumbing your nose at what the industry tells you to drink each season by deciding for yourself what a summer beer should be.

Good ole lager.
Brewed at low temperatures to produce a crisp, clean taste, lagers are great thirst quenchers. For a continental thirst, try a helles style lager like Paulaner Original Munich. If you’d prefer to stay closer to home, Canadian lagers can be nice and tasty, with the added benefit of reminding you of our frozen neighbor to the north that is sure to make you shiver. Moosehead or Molson both make fine examples.

Pilsners are golden and crisp lagers with lip smacking hop goodness. Best of all, they can be served pretty cold and not lose much flavor.

Czechvar, or Budweiser Budvar as it is known outside the U.S., is a
world famous Pilsner that had been denied to American drinkers thanks to Anheiser-Busch’s goon squad of a legal team. The similarities in names (Budvar came first and is named for the town it comes from) caused Anheiser-Busch to sue to prevent the beer from being sold in the US. This past year Budvar was made available in the U.S. under the name Czechvar. It’s definitely worth the trouble.

Better drink your wheaties.
Though easiest to find, American wheat beers pale in comparison to their European counterparts, which is unfortunate because the style is so refreshing. For an authentic Hefe-weizen, German-made Julius Echter and Schnieder are best. If you fancy a bit of complexity, Belgian witbierss are in a class of their own. Hoegaarden is the best known and most widely available and is as unusual as it is refreshing. Curacao orange peels and coriander give it brilliant depth and character. In the local market, Sam Adams recently released a German-style wiessbier that’s a good substitute when the Germans are unavailable.

Beers from sunny locales.
When brewing for a target audience, you’re going to consider climate a factor when choosing a brewing style. Hence, if you go to a warm and sunny part of the world, the beer they make there tastes especially good when it’s warm and sunny. Red Stripe and Corona come to mind as prime examples but you can do better than these tourist-targeted cheapos. From Thailand comes Singha, a nice little beer with a perk that goes very nicely with, well, Thai food. Or for a taste of India try a Kingfisher. If you insist on drinking Corona, at least consider El Sol; it tastes like Corona but makes it look like you know something no one else does.

Summer themed beers.
Harpoon IPA is a crisp and refreshing beer with a pretty flower covered label that reminds me of warm summer days. It’s a local standard that quenches a thirst year round. Brooklyn Pennant Pale Ale is dedicated to the ’55 Brooklyn Dodgers who finally won the World Series after so many failed attempts. Baseball means summer and so this qualifies as a summer beer. Bring the TV outside and watch a day game with bottle or two of these for the ultimate lazy afternoon.

Classes are ending and exams will be over before you know it. As you leave campus I bid you to go forth and drink good beer (responsibly of course). To the graduates-raise a glass and congratulate yourselves, you deserve it. Best of luck in your new careers. To the soon to be second years, take a break from cases and cold calls with a case of cold ones. Before you know it the summer will be over-make sure you make the most of it!

May 6, 2002
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