Friday, June 19, 2009

Quitessential Summer Refreshment

Seeing as I live in Florida, it could be argued, justly so, that it is never not summer.

As a native of this tropical palm tree paradise, I have to say “damn straight”. Year in and year out, I listen to people grumble, bitch, moan, and whine like a spoiled toddler who has lost their pacifier about how HOT it is.

Wah. Wah. Wah.

If you don’t like it, then move. It really is that simple.

Or, you can do as I do if that is your choosing and embrace the sunshine and warmth in the best way possible: Summer Beers. Drinking with the seasons is nothing new, and the summer months are especially renowned for their highly refreshing, tasteful beers of appropriate sessionable strength. If you had been forced to hibernate for months amidst bleak freezing weather of grey misery and deadly icicles, embracing the sunshine would be a literal feat if mankind could hug the sun. As Mr. Sun shines merrily upon my face and a worthy thirst starts to swell, I reach into my fridge or flag the nearest bartender for a thirst-quenching, palate-pleasing brew.

“Here’s your *Bleep* Light.”


I want a thirst-quenching and palate-pleasing brew. *Bleep* Light fails the second qualification. If you fail the equally important second qualification, then you have failed both.

*Bleep* Light is nothing you will ever find in my fridge, though it is unfortunately far too prevalent in bars where it looms menacingly over its brothers-in-taps with crushing authority.

So what does every fiber of my being thirst for in the soul-soothing rays of the heat of summer?

Belgian Wit and German Hefeweizen.

Two beer styles of dissimilar origin and taste, yet at their heart, they are long-lost brothers separated by distance but joined forever in spirit. No other beer style, with the exception of Belgian Sour Ales, refreshes and rejuvenates as well as Belgian Wits and German Hefeweizens can and do.

Some personal favorites from abroad and home are:

Belgian Wit:
Blanche de Bruxelles
St. Bernardus Wit
Caracole Troublette
Unibroue Blanche de Chambly
Ommegang Witte
Allagash White

German Hefeweizen:
Paulaner Hefeweizen
Franziskaner Hefeweizen
Ayinger Brau-weisse
Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen
Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat
Sierra Nevada Kellerweisse Hefeweizen

While not related to the Belgian or German family, there are a handful of American Wheat Beers that are simpler but still effectively refreshing with a pleasing palate. The few that have so far impressed me are:

American Wheat:
Bells Oberon
North Coast Blue Star Wheat
Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen
Widmer Hefeweizen

Despite their “hefeweizen” designation, the last two beers do not follow the German Hefeweizen estery palate of pungent cloves, bananas, and yeasty dough. Thus, they are categorized as American Wheat Beers, despite their misleading advertising.

As the summer months persist and the mercury continues its gleefully stubborn rise to fantastic new heights, I’ll be soaking in every moment, Belgian Wit in hand and a German Hefeweizen awaiting her moment in the spotlight. There is no better way to beat the beautiful heat and enjoy it, too.

(an original work written by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

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