BROOKLYN BREWERY: Summer Ale
Brooklyn's summer beer, now in its third year, grows out of the English tradition of "light dinner ales," and as such it's not as heavy as most of its Brooklyn Brewery beer peers. Still, it's hoppy and bready, as well as vaguely citrusy.
Ideal Summertime Situation During Which to Drink It: While drying off after a dip in the Gowanus canal, to celebrate your survival.
HEARTLAND BREWERY: Summertime Apricot Ale
Heartland's first seasonal beer this summer is their Apricot Ale, an unfiltered wheat beer whose recipe calls for honest-to-goodness apricots, to distinguish it from every other brewery's "hint of orange and lemon" summer beers.
Ideal Summertime Situation During Which to Drink It: Waiting for your tourist relatives to get out of Billy Elliot so you can safely escort them back to their hotel.
CHELSEA BREWING CO.: Summer Solstice Wheat
Chelsea's summer wheat beer uses little hops, leaving a sharp yeasty, malty flavor. It's made in the American style — which half of us at The L prefer, and half of us don't. During a recent office beer tasting, we had a sophisticated discussion about the merits and demerits of American beer, of which we were proud. Though we might just have been drunk.
Ideal Summertime Situation During Which to Drink It: Solstice, duh.
From the company that brews Coney Island Lager and He'Brew beers comes Rejewvenator: half dubbel — a Belgian style of dark-colored beer invented by monks — and half dopplebock—another dark-colored monk-born beer, this one Bavarian — made from dates. It tastes like wine-flavored beer, and it got us tipsy.
Ideal Summertime Situation During Which to Drink It: Shavuot, in late May, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the end of the barley harvest and the start of the wheat harvest. You can make beer from all those things!
Summertime is the right time for wheat beers because they're tart and low in alcohol, meaning you can down them all day and night. So crisp, fruity and wheaty is a good witte, in fact, that Ommegang's hurt our teeth, which we attribute to poor dentistry performed back when we had health insurance.
Ideal Summertime Situation During Which to Drink It: Mark Asch's U.S.S. Indianapolis Memorial Party
HORSEHEADS BREWERY: Lackawanna Steam Lager
From this 2-year-old brewery in Horseheads, NY — just north of Elmira — comes this malty lager named in honor of the Lackawanna Railroad, which connected Pennsylvania coal country to upstate NY and probably means something to upstate residents.
Ideal Summertime Situation During Which to Drink It: Riding a hometown train — say, the Stillwell-bound F, en route to visit the ruins that Thor still calls Coney.
BLUE POINT BREWERY: Summer Ale
This summer ale is a light and tart addition to the landscape from Long Island's version of the Brooklyn Brewery. Ordering it in a bar is like wearing an "I [heart] LI" t-shirt, or so we remind everyone in the bar toward the end of the night.
Ideal Summertime Situation During Which to Drink It: Visiting relatives (or, God forbid, friends) who live out on "The Island," under coercion.
BLIND BAT: Old Smoked Walt Wit
This Centerpoint brewery is a labor of love for Paul Dlugokencky, who runs the small-time operation — "one of the (if not the) smallest commercial breweries on the planet." This summer, he's making a wheat beer from wheat he smokes himself over mesquite, named in honor of "Long Island's Walt Whitman". Proud Brooklynites might not want to admit it, but technically their borough is a part of Long Island. (Same to you, Queens!)
Ideal Summertime Situation During Which to Drink It: Afternoons spent wandering Green-wood Cemetery, looking for Walt Whitman's grave before giving up because it's actually in NJ somewhere.
FLYING FISH: Farmhouse Summer Ale
This spicy, malty, wheaty beer is yet another tribute to drinkable traditional Belgian beers. Who knew something as wonderful as summer beer could come out of Europe's punchline?
Ideal Summertime Situation During Which to Drink It: Paying respects at Walt Whitman's actual grave in Camden, several miles west of Flying Fish's Cherry Hill brewery.
YARDS BREWING: Saison
This PA brewery makes its saison in the old tradition, when it was brewed in Belgian farmhouses to sate sweaty harvesters. Today, it's brewed for air-conditioned hipsters.
Ideal Summertime Situation During Which to Drink It: Cheering on your roof as a portable AM radio informs you that the Mets beat the Phillies, which is bound to happen at least once this summer.
Cathy Erway's seven steps to a restaurant-free week. Seriously, you should stay in tonight.
May 27, 2009
From farm to table: the path your spuds take is a long one indeed.
May 27, 2009
Now that you've eaten your fill, it's time to fake your way to a beach-ready body in three short weeks.
May 27, 2009