Summertime Suds

I drink beer at home, serve it to guests, go on hunts for new brands, and take it on outings. A camping trip means more than a few six packs stowed in the SUV to accommodate me and my friends. There is nothing like a cold beer after a swim in the river. We sit around, almost like kids at a campfire, and tell stories. Out come the sandwiches and chips and we can hang out for hours. It is the epitome of a fun, relaxing day. Beer is the symbol of good times whether you are sitting on a beach chair or are in your own backyard next to the above ground pool.

I have set up a patio that is my weekend destination. I have padded cushions on the chaise lounge and side chairs. There are little glass and wrought iron tables next to each to take care of a glass of beer. When it starts to get hot, my friends and I jump into the pool. We splash about and cause a ruckus before returning to the suds. Since the pool has a detachable table, we often take our beer right into the water. When you are thirsty, you never want to let it go.

Beer is the perfect companion to great grilled food at a cookout. It could be at the park or in your own yard. Just be sure to bring plenty along. When we choose the park, we like to organize a game of baseball. On a hot day, this can take a lot out of you. Guess what? An ice-cold beer will bring your flagging energy back. But above all it is about great taste. I have dozens of favorite brands and someday I will share them with you. There are all kinds of small local breweries in my extended region and I buy a good supply of their offerings. Part of my normal routine is to visit them for a tasting or to have a meal that pairs well with beer. It is an adventure each time I discover a new brewery. There is no need to limit yourself to national brands. While they are fine, and we all have our favorites, there is nothing like a new experience on the tongue.

It is important to keep your beer cold. You can bet that I have a separate refrigerator to house my stash and also an outdoor cooler for the yard when I have barbecues or am at the beach. Beer goes everywhere with me. As much as I buy, I must be keeping the industry in business. Ha! No kidding; I am a real aficionado. Just ask me anything about beer. I know its history and origin, where it is brewed worldwide (more places than you can imagine) and what accounts for the different tastes. No, they do not all have the same ingredients.