Coming together over craft beer.
I am convinced that the reason we celebrate this day by eating, drinking, and being merry is not out of ignorance of the sacrifices that our brave men and women in uniform have made for our great nation, but rather to celebrate the very freedoms we enjoy because of their commitment to the flag. So when you raise a glass this weekend, think about those who have served, and enjoy every drop. This weekend you are not just drinking a beer, you are drinking a toast to the best our nation has to offer.
This year we are hosting the Memorial Day neighborhood barbecue, so it was my responsibility to select the beer that would be available for drink and toasting. I of course gave this a lot of thought before hand (probably more thought than it warranted) and read countless reviews and lists of summer beers, session beers, and this article from craftbeer.com on something they are calling Imperial Session Ales (ISA). At the end of the day, my selection criteria came down to the following considerations:
Of course, the rough guidelines above hardly reduce the selection much, but they did paint a picture of what I was looking for. So with these things in mind, I headed off one of my local beer stores with a buddy and began strolling the aisle trying the make the perfect decisions. I really like the layout of this store for beer, because the treat the major mass-produced beers like milk. They are in the far back corner, so even if that is all you want, you still must walk past the great selection of crafts to know what you are passing up.
After looking over the brands I knew, reading the labels on the ones I didn’t, and having some spirited conversation with my ‘beer wingman’, here is what made its way into the cart:
21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon: I have seen this beer creeping up all over the place in the last few weeks, and it has been described to me as tasting exactly like a watermelon Jolly Rancher. Worth a shot for those who might otherwise like a wine cooler, or just someone looking for a light and refreshing alternative.
Budweiser: Yea, a six-pack of red, white, and blue Bud cans made it. Somethings defy explanation, but I can assure you they will not make it through the day.
Terrapin Rye Pale Ale: This is one of my personal favorite beers. Along with Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye, one of the best Rye beers out there. I don’t always see it around my area, so this was a selfish grab, but I think it will go over well with the crowd.
Terrapin Treehugger: Despite not having the best rating on Rate Beer, I trust Terrapin, so this light amber ale got a shot.
Sly Fox Phoenix Pale Ale: Not too long ago a friend told me that Sly Fox and Oscar Blues had become his golf course staples. I went with the local brewer this time. I have not had sampled any Sly Fox beer yet, so I grabbed what sounded like the lightest, crisped ale to start with.
Left Hand 800 Pound Gorilla: This was the impulse buy of the ‘beer wingman’. It doesn’t fit neatly into my stated criteria, which makes it all the more interesting. Someone might get a surprise when they open this bottle fermented IPA, especially if they started with a Bud.
Founders Rye P.A.: Beer Advocate ranks this at the top of their rye beer list. I think it is good, but not as good as the Terrapin or the Sierra Nevada. Regardless, a good barbecue rye that will be enjoyed by most.
Yeungling: In our neck of the woods, an old reliable standard. Might be my favorite largely available lager (sorry Sam Adams!).
So there you have it. That is what is on the menu. Sounds like a lot, and I won’t get to sample them all, but they should please the crowd and make for a great day. Happy Memorial Day everyone!
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