We chose the official first day of summer to conduct our annual summer beer tasting, and it was a scorcher. So much the better--these beers, chilling in the office fridge all day, really tasted great at around 4:30 that afternoon. Find out what the OL editors picked as their favorite beers this year, and tell us about your favorite summer brew. Click here for our last collection of Summer Beers >> Click here to view out list of the 10 Best Bourbons >>.
We’ll start with the Editor-in-Chief, Todd Smith (you should always start with the boss). Todd couldn’t make up his mind, so he brought both Stella and Sam to the party. “Stella’s my go-to beer,” he said. “It’s refreshing and very drinkable, perfect at a barbecue or around an evening campfire. Sam Adams Boston Lager is rich and full-bodied, with a toasty finish. Goes great with rich barbecue food and stands up to stronger fish.”
“I’m generally not a fruit-in-beer kind of guy,” said Senior Editor John Taranto. “But Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy (newly available in a can, my preferred vessel) really scratches my itch on a scalding summer day.”
To be honest, we added Smuttynose IPA to the mix because of the name and the picture of the guys on the label, who look like such OL types. Then we handed it to our summer intern, Alex Robinson, and made him claim it as his favorite. (Interns will do anything…)
From John Burgman, our Assistant Editor and the guy who puts together Snapshots every month: “I’ve always found Schlitz to be the best of the cheap, canned bears. Pabst Blue Ribbon is a little too bland, and Natural Light is too watered down. Schlitz, on the other hand, is pleasantly crisp and strong for the money. Also, as a Midwesterner myself, I appreciate supporting ‘the beer that made Milwaukee famous.’ I don’t expect much from an alcoholic beverage that costs $3 for a six-pack, which is probably why Schlitz has never disappointed.”
That being said, John was tempted by the magnum of Corona someone brought in….
Corona was a popular choice, with three participating staffers choosing it as a favorite.
At Outdoor Life, we don’t mess around when we cut up a lime…
And from the owner of that knife (are you surprised?), OL Art Director Jim Walsh: “Crisp and fruity, light and airy, and with a respectable 5.1 percent alcoholic punch, Ommegang Witte is ‘well worth the wheat’ (says so on the bottle). This delicious brew was served at my recent wedding and goes well with ribs, pulled pork and numerous other things that were on the menu that night. It’s a winner in my book and an excellent brew for summer. “This Cooperstown, N.Y., version of the Belgian Witte is a fantastic example, and should be enjoyed all year long. Belgian styles should truly be celebrated while they still walk the earth, as Belgium practices the oldest brewing styles in Europe and was never tied down by the German Reinheitsgebot Act of 1516, which limited what can be put into a beer recipe…” Okay, thanks, Jim. Shall we move on?
Stella was also the choice of Sr. Admin. Asst. Maribel Martin, here clinking bottles with Managing Editor Camille Rankin, one of the Corona devotees. “I like Corona because it’s light and thirst-quenching, and the lime gives it a nice summer fizz,” said Camille. “But if you must know, my favorite summer beer is a vodka and tonic.”
Sad, but true–man cannot live by brew alone. Lay’s baked potato chips to the rescue…
So, we found this Heineken bottle in the fridge. I’m pretty sure it’s been there since the Christmas party. No problem. Eric Aichele, Online Producer, says he drank a Heineken once.
“I’m not much of a beer drinker these days,” said Asst. ME Margaret Nussey, “but the name ‘Toasted Lager’ just sounded really tasty–and it was. Very refreshing on a steamy summer day.”
Hunting Editor Andrew McKean participated remotely, from his office in Glasgow, Montana. He chose Full Sail Pale Ale. “It’s flavorful and crisp without having too much of the floral taste that seems to be the trend lately in India Pale Ales,” he said. “It’s the perfect punctuation to an afternoon of mowing the lawn. Or branding fifty yearlings.”
Andrew confessed he keeps a mini-fridge stocked with “beverages” in his office. “Most Thursday afternoons a group of hunting buddies and I gather here to tell lies and tip a few beers.” Only on Thursdays, Andrew?
“C’mon…this is Outdoor Life magazine, for chrissakes,” said Deputy Editor/Online Editor Gerry Bethge. “You can’t drink an import…you can’t drink some damn wheat beer and, you know what? BAKED Lay’s chips are out, too. I’ll take a Bud or a Bud Light (depending on what my buddies bring over), and hopefully it’ll be somewhat cold.”
It’s a wrap! Wish every day could end this way. The great thing was, we headed from our beer fest straight to a company party at a nearby sports bar, to drink some more and catch some World Cup action. Not a bad way to start the summer….