A quick Google search shows me that we live in a country with just fewer than 2,000 craft breweries. That’s, uh, a lot of beer. Luckily, we here at Fork in the Road have enough time on our hands to drink as much of that beer as humanly possible, so that’s our new mission. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Beer UP.
Every week, Beer UP will perform a detailed examination of one beer from one of the many fine craft breweries located across the country. The rubric will have four simple categories, which if you’re familiar with the beer-reviewing community, are considered the standard: appearance, aroma, mouthfeel, and overall experience. Keep in mind that this is an opportunity to comment on the vast world of craft beers, and hopefully, with the help of you, create a discussion about what makes a good beer, why that’s important, and what it all means, man.
To start, I went the easy route and chose a local seasonal favorite, Brooklyn Brewery’s Summer Ale, which has been around for a couple years (but only canned since 2011!). I found a pint glass of it at a new bar in Greenpoint called Beloved for $6. Below are my findings:
Appearance: The Summer Ale pours a pale, blondish color that looks like a heftier version of your standard light beer, but gives off a welcoming, somewhat shiny reflection, as if to say: “Drink me! You must drink me!”
Aroma: Its distinct aroma smells tangy, almost citrus-like. Dare I say like an orange? Yes. It smells kind of like an orange. There’s also a hearty wheat scent that lingers when you hold your nose over it for a while, but who does that?
Mouthfeel: It’s a pretty easy drink. There’s not a tremendous amount of carbonation, and the taste is similar to the aroma–hops-y, almost fruity. And even if you let it sit a little too long while you attempt to flirt with that much-more-attractive-than-you person who’s waiting for his or her cocktail to be made (something, honey, I definitely didn’t do the other night), it manages to hold its flavor.
Overall Experience: The bartender at Beloved told me that the Summer Ale is Brooklyn Brewery’s second most popular beer in terms of sales, behind only its flagship brew, the Brooklyn Lager. The kicker is because it’s a seasonal, it’s only available four months out of the year. And after having a handful of Summer Ales, I see why this is the case. It not only goes down smooth, but its tangy, somewhat spicy taste makes it just, frankly, an overall feel-good and enjoyable experience, even if you’re not a big beer person. I recommend you get yourself a pint, or pick up a six-pack, or bring it to your next barbecue (and invite me!), because I foresee myself losing count of the number of these I consume on a hot day this coming summer.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 17, 2012