A review of the new summer brews

Last night I attended a craft-beer tasting at Cork N Barrel, with my partner in delicious brew tasting Cuz N’ Ron.

Those who may not be aware, Ron runs a pretty hip joint down in Ypsilanti which recently remodeled. The Cuz is also a connoisseur of fine beers, something I’m learning to enjoy.

The only notes I took rest in my brain and Cuz isn’t here but I’ll do my best.

Pale ales where one of the most popular types of brews up for tasting, but not just your regular pale ale, but India Pale Ale and even an American Pale Ale.

These bitter beers can be something as mellow as a Mirror Pond Pale Ale from Oregon which was smooth and easy compared to an all out hop-bomb like the 11th Hour from Crow Peaks Brewing Company, in South Dakota, where most people would have trouble enjoying a sip of the bitter beauty.

Cuz and I agreed on the Sweet Grass American Pale Ale from Grand Teton Brewing Company based in Wyoming. It wasn’t bland, but not overly in your face with hops, plus it came on the pallet strong and left a nice taste.

Sam Adams, as always has great brews but they never rank in the top two during these tastings, and therefore don’t merit a purchase. However the Sam Adams Latitude 48, although not as strong as the Imperial Series also from Sam Adams, was a tasty brew. While I may not buy Sam Adams Noble Pils at Cork N Barrel, a few places in town offer it on tap, which is better anyways.

There were a few porters and stouts to try. But something about drinking a beer that pours like motor oil while sitting outside and enjoying it doesn’t sound flattering to me.

But there was a stunning vanilla porter that was the exact opposite of a muddy one called Pile of Dirt. Sorry not so much info on those darker heavier beers, they just taste better in the winter time.

There were plenty of summer beers to try and most involved an addition of some sort of fruit. Everyone seems to be selling a lime beer and the only one I felt like trying was the Labatt Blue Light with Lime. It tasted exactly like it sounds — light beer with a lime.
Leinenkugel’s from Wisconsin has its summer brew Summer Shandy, which I didn’t bother trying because, it’s lemonade and beer. To each their own, I guess.

Blue Moon based in Colorado really surprised me with its Summer Honey Wheat, too bad the only blue moon anyone buys is the flagship Belgian White. But keep your eyes peeled if you want to try a complex summer beer.

But nothing was as surprising as Shiner’s Ruby Red from the heart of Texas. I’ve tasted all sorts of fruits and spices and seasonings in my beer, but the grapefruit with what I believe was a hint of ginger really caught me off guard. It’s a nice blend and unlike Summer Shandy’s straight forward taste, Ruby Red is a drinkable brew with serious almost as complex of the Summer Honey Wheat.

My thanks goes out to Cork N Barrel for hosting the shindig and providing amazing burgers, you know to cleanse the pallet. Also we’ll miss ya Jim, good luck in Minnesota and please chime in with new delicious beers to try.

Craft beer is an exploding industry right now, the combinations small breweries are putting out are nearly limitless and all brews have some respectable qualities. Do yourself a favor and try something other than a bottle of Budweiser.

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