Summer Bourbon

blackberry bourbon fizz

For some reason, as the temperatures rise it seems only natural to switch from darker drinks to lighter. Maybe it is the color or the flavor but this rule applies to beer, wine, and especially to spirits. People associate whiskey with warming you up on a winter evening while white rum and vodka drinks dominate our summer cocktails. But just because the days are getting longer and the pools are opening doesn’t mean you should put your bourbon back on the shelf till fall. Just take a look at this recipe I found on Facebook:

blackberrybourbon

Ok the language may be a little course but it is clear that bourbon can hang with the fruity summer drinks just as well as it’s un-aged cousins. But since the picture is a little vague let me help you out.  Here is a recipe that worked well for me.

Blackberry Bourbon Fizz

4-5 fresh blackberries
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce ginger liqueur
club soda
fresh basil
Muddle the blackberries at the bottom of a glass.
Fill the glass with ice and add the spirits.
Top with club soda and stir well.
Garnish with a fresh piece of basil.

You can also use plain old ginger ale in place of the club soda if you don’t have any ginger liqueur. You can hear me make this drink and get a review of Elmer T. Lee single barrel bourbon on Episode 15 of Bottoms Up. And if listening isn’t enough for you, this is one of the cocktails that I will be demonstrating at the Summer Cocktails class I am teaching June 20th at Cork n Bottle.  Hope to see you there.

Beer Review: Sam Adam’s Summer Ale

Attention all brewers please take note: April is not summer, it is spring. March (when I first spotted this beer as well as Bell’s Oberon) is also not summer, May is kinda summer, June is officially summer. Summer ales belong in summer… However it was over 70 degrees yesterday, and I spent all day doing yard work followed by beer & grilling out… So it’s close enough to summer.

There was a time a few years back when Sam Adam’s Summer Ale was pretty much the only beer I’d drink whenever it was available. I enjoyed a few craft beers but had no “true” idea of what was out there. Like I said that was  a few years back, last year I only had one of these and it was at a bar where the other options were less than “optimal”.

The following is the Sam Adam’s blurb about this brew:

Samuel Adams® Summer Ale is an American wheat ale. This summer seasonal uses malted wheat, lemon zest and Grains of Paradise, a rare pepper from Africa first used as a brewing spice in the 13th century, to create a crisp taste, spicy flavor and medium body. The ale fermentation imparts a background tropical fruit note reminiscent of mangos and peaches. All of these flavors come together to create a thirst quenching, clean finishing beer perfect for those warm summer days.

To me that sounds like a bunch of PR hype. “Grains of Paradise” and “a rare pepper from Africa” seriously??

Brewery: Sam Adams
Beer: Summer Ale
Style: Wheat Ale
ABV: 5.3%
Calories: ~160

A very attractive wheat beer with a nice cloudy orange/yellow color and pure white head.

Smells of lemon and a bit of grass… really not the most appetizing aroma.

Decent, though very light, flavor of mostly lemon mixed with the sweet wheat and some orange-citrus hops. Nothing to get excited about but also nothing to complain about. And there is an intangible taste that just “feels” like “summer”… though this may be part of my memory of this beer more than anything else.

Very light bodied mouth feel with plenty of carbonation.

As I said initially before I truly knew of the world of craft beer I loved this beer and it was “summer” to me. Now I know a good deal better, that doesn’t make it a bad beer it just puts this into perspective a bit. I still enjoy this in warm weather but there are superior summer wheat beers out there like Bell’s Oberon. Though I have come to prefer a nice sessionable IPA or a high quality Helles lager (by Rivertown) over one of these wheat beers… But that’s just me.

Beer Review: 3 Floyd’s Gumball Head

3 Floyd's GumballheadBrewery: 3 Floyds
Beer: Gumball Head
Style: American Pale Wheat Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 5.5%

Pours a super cloudy dirty gold, like something a miner would pull out of a creek in California. Topped off with loads of fluffy white head full of big bubbles. The head is slowly rolling down as the beer continues to roll up.

Very powerful aroma of grapefruit, lemon, and some peach action.

What a great taste, there is a tiny bit of hop bitterness that kinda reminds of Aspirin, which Google tells me comes from the Amarillo hops they used. There is minimal malt presence though, but it actually results in a pretty balanced beer. There is plenty of the wheat zing present here but it isn’t overly sharp like in many wheat beers.

It’s got a super light bodied mouth feel with some slight carbonation.

This is a great sessionable wheat beer (I’d say summer seasonal, but they make it year round). I’m not too crazy about wheat beers overall but I like to have a few of these each summer. Initially I thought that at 5.5% ABV this was gonna be a little to weak to make me happy but it’s a solid strength, especially if you wanted to session this during a hot summer afternoon.

Oh… and this doesn’t remind me of gum, or gumballs, at all. Slightly disappointed there but according to their site it’s named for some cat from some comic I’ve never heard of, which also explains the cat on the logo. That all is my bad for not knowing more initially about this beer, but I assumed (and I imagine others have and will assume) that this beer somehow tastes like gumballs.

Beer Review: Mt. Carmel Summer Wheat Ale

So I reviewed Moerlein’s Saengerfest last time and figured I’d hit up another local brewery to try their summer beer. Unfortunately I am very sad to say that I was not as pleased with this one.

Continue reading “Beer Review: Mt. Carmel Summer Wheat Ale”

Beer Review: Christian Moerlein Saengerfest

Spring is gone and summer is here… well, not for another month but breweries tend to get ahead of the actual seasons.  I don’t even know if this is actually Moerlein’s summer, but it should be.

Continue reading “Beer Review: Christian Moerlein Saengerfest”