When we think of summer beers, we tend to think light. Summer beer drinking tends to be all about crisp, refreshing styles, from the easy-to-drink and ubiquitous IPA to the ever-popular pilsner to the delightfully funky sour.
What we don’t think of when we think summer beer is a creamy, heavy porter. Or do we?
Like any good beer geek, I like to make sure I’m always drinking the right beer for the moment.
So it should surprise precisely no one that before I settled in to watch the Golden State Warriors beat Oklahoma City Thunder in game 7 of the NBA Western Conference finals, I wanted to be sure I was drinking the perfect beer.
Side note: If you didn’t watch this basketball game, you missed the Warriors absolutely putting on a clinic and Steph Curry proving once again that he’s the best.
This was a harder choice than you’d think. In my fridge when the game started were: four cans of one of my favorite IPAs – Revolution Brewing’s Anti-Hero, two bottles of what I consider the best beer ever – Bent River Brewing Company’s Uncommon Stout, three bottles of Goose Island Bourbon County and one bomber of Revolution’s Bean Gene. So I had a lot of fantastic beer from which to choose.
Being a good beer geek, I decided to consult other beer geeks (and my dog, Chester, who helps me with many important decisions). And the consensus choice was Anti-Hero. No surprise, right? Anti-Hero epitomizes warm weather beer. So why shouldn’t I down a couple cans as I watched the Warriors teach the Thunder a thing or two?
But as I went to my fridge, I just didn’t feel like an Anti-Hero. I usually love it, but that night, it just wasn’t going to satisfy. Only one beer was going to fit the bill. So I grabbed the bomber of Bean Gene and popped the cap.
And you know what? It was perfect. Despite the fact that the temperature outside was in the upper 70s and my air conditioning was rocking, only a bourbon barrel-aged, coffee-infused porter would do. Not just any bourbon barrel-aged, coffee-infused porter, mind you. Rather, I wanted one of the best bourbon barrel-aged, coffee-infused porters. Yes, folks. I needed the Bean Gene.
A lot of beer geeks like to talk about drinking seasonally. They like to drink only the styles of beer associated with the season. Heavy, creamy beers are for winter drinking. Light and crisp beers are for spring and summer. Spicy and malty beers (and pumpkin beer) are for the fall and early winter.
But that method of choosing beer doesn’t account for the drinker’s desires. Even if you’re the type of beer geek who tries to drink seasonally, you still will occasionally want a high-alcohol imperial porter during the summer or a kolsch in the winter.
And you know what? If you want that beer, you should have it. Nobody should feel like they shouldn’t drink a style of beer because it doesn’t “match” the time of year. You can’t control your desires.
Now, are there reasons to stick to certain styles during certain seasons? Sure. Freshness and selection are the main ones. Brewers tend to (note I said “tend to.” Please don’t give me grief for generalizing. I understand that nothing is true of all brewers) produce crisp, light beers for the warmer months and dark, heavy ones for when it’s colder. So by sticking to seasonal styles, you’re probably going to have a larger selection and that selection likely will be fresher.
But the wonderful thing about today’s beer world is that no matter what you crave and the time of year you crave it, you’re going to be able to find something to satisfy that craving.
And that’s why I don’t drink seasonally. It’s pointless. I want the kind of beer I want when I want it. My desires don’t correspond to seasons or weather (I’m a guy who drinks lots of hot coffee on 100-degree days) and as a result, neither does my beer consumption.
Long story short: drink what you want this summer. As long as you’re enjoying it, you’re doing it right.