Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The perfect summer beer

Counterintuitive is my middle name. (I don't actually have a middle name. My parents could only afford one. Times were hard in the 1930's) Light, pale-coloured beers. That's what are usually seen as perfect for warm weather. But is it true?

Had my family been able to afford three names, perverse would have come after Ronald and Counterintuitive. Ronald Counterintuitive Perverse Pattinson. It as a certain ring to it. (I keep telling Alexei he was lucky I hadn't discovered archives before he was born. Otherwise he'd be answering to the name Barclay.) Stonch has called me perverse for liking U Rotundy. He could be right. That adjective is likely to get thrown around some more when I tell you my perfect summer beer.

It's not only excessive carbonation I don't care for. I dislike all but the most minimal level of carbonation. But that's not what I meant. I don't like my beer chilled, either. My fridge has no beer in it. Except for that bottle of something or other Rosé I put in there 18 months ago. Refreshingly warm and flat is how I like my beer. With one exception.

When the temperature gets too warm for me to feel comfortable (that's 20.1º C), I stick a few bottles my summer beer in the fridge. Arriving home all sweaty from a day at the coalface, I climb into my tin bath and get Dolores to bring me a beer. A nice slightly-below-room-temperature glass of Guinness Special Export.

My Dad really did go down the pit. His side of the family is from the Northeast and many of them were miners. He liked being a collier so much, he went and joined the Royal Navy after a single day. He worked in the stokehold of battleship HMS Rodney. So he still didn't get to see daylight during working hours. But he did at least get to travel.

Continuing the tradition of iced Mild, if there's no Special Export in the fridge, I'll add a few icecubes to my glass. This may sound like sacrilege, but I've even put icecubes in my 1914 SSS.

Guinness Special Export. My perfect summer beer. Black, strong and heavy. It works for me. You may say "A strong Stout - that's a crazy beer to drink in hot weather". That is conventional wisdom. But if strong Stout is so poorly suited to warmer climes, why is Guinness Foreign Extra Stout sold throughout the tropics? Someone must agree with me,

What's your perfect summer beer?


Tandleman said...

Perverse, counter-intuitive bastard!

Elektrolurch said...

spending 2 weeks in burkina faso, i enjoyed guiness foreign extra stout- mainly because its the only beer aviable there that isnt a yellow, fizzy, watery,flavourless "lager". but in germany, i rather enjoy a cold hefeweizen in the summer....not too cold but cold...

Alan said...

I used to make a 1.5% ginger root pale ale. I could drink a gallon of it on a scorcher.

Anonymous said...

Munich-style Dunkel - albeit that i do need it to be at about 8C rather than warm.

Stacey said...

Thank you. I'm one of those who sees the need for dark, warming beers in the winter, but doesn't see why the summer demands the other end of the spectrum. I'd say my favorite summer beer is a nice brown ale (Portsmouth Brewery's Old Brown Dog is pretty high up there).

Andy Holmes said...

My beer of choice for the summer has always been a Yorkshire session bitter not exceeding 3.8%. Ideally this would be drunk following a long walk over a few hills to build up a thirst. These days a Franconian Kellerbier would come a pretty close second.

Of course if you want a perverse answer Ron then an ice cold and very fizzy San Miguel, in a small glass with a view of the Med would also work!

By the way, ditch the rosé from the fridge Ron as you should almost certainly have drunk it within one year of bottling. all those fresh summer flavours will be gone by now.

The Beer Nut said...

Rodenbach for me, I don't mind what size its cru is.

Or if I'm feeling naughty, a severely chilled bottle of Newkie Brown by the neck.

Kristen England said...

If Im mowning the lawn, an ICE ICE ICE cold can of PBR. On the beach, a 'hot' Dragon Stout. Relaxing, copious amounts of Schneider Weiss Original or Ayingers Jahrhundert vom faβ. If Ive had a bad day, St Bernardus Abt (750ml) down the pie hole.

Ron Pattinson said...

Your choices:

1.5% ginger root pale ale
Munich-style Dunkel
Brown Ale
Yorkshire session bitter
PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon)

are reassuringly diverse.

Thank you. It gives me hope.

No other Stout fans, though.

The Beer Nut said...

Oh hell yeah. I mentioned such a pleasure in the last paragraph of this recent ramble.

Ron Pattinson said...

beernut, you total bastard. Bring up a Stout like Wrassler's that I fantasise about drinking.

Did I ever mention my Porter dreams? Last night was scary. I dreamt that I had so many beer books that the floor gave way.

Not quite as weird as the dream where I was in Iran, drinking Mild served by electric pump. The glass horizontal cylinder type. What does that mean?

Anonymous said...

I will drink stout anywhere, anytime!

Once a British friend of mine made fun of me for drinking bitter in the Summer. Being from Southern California, seasons are kind of new to me, but still!

I had a Meantime dark lager at Union, out in the garden there, and it was wonderful, but Andechs dunkel weiss wins out.