Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Another Score for Summit

While this July 4th marks 230 years of our country's independence from overlords subjecting their views and will on the citizenry--not much has changed--this July also gives cause to celebrate 20 years since the first keg of Summit beer was sold.

Like many great occasions, this one snuck up on me. I remember looking forward to it some months ago, but was pleasantly surprised when someone offered me one of their commemorative brews at a party a few days ago.

ESB, or Extra Special (or Strong) Bitter for the uninitiated, is an English style beer, typically clocking in at about 6% ABV. The trick to an ESB is ensuring a nice balance between hops and malts--think a cross between an American ale and a bock. If I was, er, "trapped" on a tropical island somewhere and had to pick one style of beer to have it would be ESB. Needless to say, I was really excited to learn the 20th anniversary beer from Summit was going to be an ESB.

My plan was to open a bottle and write a review of the beer, from the initial opening, describing the smell and color of the pour, the taste and "mouthfeel," the way it slid down my throat and the aftertaste. But alas the beer I opened (and the one after that) are already gone. I'd open a third, but I do have to work tomorrow, and me thinks the Summit ESB is a tad over 6% ABV.

But damn, are they drinkable. I knew it would be so after the first pour, smelling the malts mix with plenty of hops (fuggle?). I was relieved that the mineral aftertaste quickly dissipated and I found myself taking another sip. That pursued balance found in great ESBs makes it a clever girl--smooth and confident, inviting and longing, especially knowing, at least at this point, that she won't be around for very long. And so she hits you hard, knocks you on your ass after few rounds, and knows you won't forget her when she's gone.

Mark your calendars for September 30, 2006, when Summit celebrates their 20th with the Big Brew at Harriet Island in St. Paul.


Jane said...

Can I come to the Big Brew with you? Can we bring Dylan and Adrian?

Eric said...

If you drive.