What I Drank on My Summer Vacation

Ahhhh, summer vacation. That's the time of year when most of us
get to stop doing the things we need to do and for a week or two get
to do the things we like to do. For my wife and I that means going
down to Ocean City Maryland and staying in a condo on the beach.
It also means being a little freer with what we eat and drink. And, in
this case, what we drank is what I'd like to discuss.

In planning for a 2 week trip to the ocean bringing a supply of easy
drinking beer with us is an important consideration. The beers that fit
our requirements for this group should have 2 prerequisites. First
and most importantly the beer must be an easily drinkable and thirst
quenching beer. This beer will be consumed as soon as we return
from the beach at the end of each day. It must taste good cold,
quickly cool the mouth and throat and, quickly remove that lingering
saltwater taste and dryness from a hard day of lying around on the
beach. Alright, it's not that hard.... The second desirable quality has
nothing to do with actually drinking it. If you have been to a shore
town you may have experienced a situation that requires a little
planning. If you bring beer with you and wish to get more of it while
you are there the beer you bring can't be too exotic. It has been my
experience that most shore town purveyors of beer and such
generally are limited to the beers consumed by the masses - B,C,
and M. So, I tried to pick a few beers that are a little out of the
ordinary yet can be obtained again if desired.

The beers I choose to bring with us were: Magic Hat - Circus Boy,
Land Shark, and River Horse - Summer Blonde. Magic Hat's Circus
Boy is modeled after the Hefe Weise style. It is not as heavy or
complex as one you might get from Germany. It is just a step up from
lager yet with just enough additional taste to make it of interest while
quenching the thirst. Land Shark, rumor has it is owned by Jimmy
Buffet, is a simple beer that is just a little sweeter than the average
beer and, meets the two requirements especially availability. Many
shore town beer and wine shops carry it. Lastly is the River Horse
Summer Blonde. This beer has just a slightly hoppy after taste which
is in contrast to the other two and on some days adds to the beer's
thirst quenching ability.

While in Ocean City we always visit a place that refers to itself as
Jamaica USA. It's name is Seacrets. Seacrets has an outdoor
restaurant on the beach. Shade is provided by numerous Palm trees
and when heat is excessive, fans with misters are used to help you
keep cool. Pieces of corral are strategically placed in the restaurant
to separate tables. Reggae music is on the sound system. The
illusion that you are not in the Continental USA is surprisingly
powerful and the feeling that you are in Jamaica is believable and
enjoyable. Their list of what I call fru fru drinks has a few that I can't
resist. I had a drink, several actually, called a Pain In De Ass. This is
concocted by mixing two already frozen, think slushy, drinks, a Rum
Runner and a Pina Collada together. The combination of the slushy
texture, the ice cold temperature, and the flavor mating of the two
components with the tropical setting just keeps bringing you back for
more. Just to act as a contrast I also ordered a drink called Big
Bamboo. This drink consists of three Rums (Parrot Bay, Meyers,
Bacardi) and a Seacret blend of juices. It is a tasty drink but drinking
several, especially quickly, of these will take it's toll.....

While on the beach late one afternoon or was it evening? One of our
neighbors kindly went up to her condo and mixed us a drink to
celebrate the end of the beach day. What she made was something I
had not seen or heard of before. It was Vodka and club soda. But, it
was no ordinary Vodka. This was Pinnacle's Whipped Cream Vodka.
It tastes and smells surprisingly as advertised. Under our neighbors
careful measuring the drink smelled and tasted like whipped cream
but tasted not at all like Vodka. It was almost as easy to drink as
water. To be sure, this, is a dangerous combination!

While sitting at the bar of a restaurant I had ordered take out from, I
decided to try 2 beers on tap that I had heard of but not tried. Bud
Lime to me tasted like neither beer or lime. The other beer is called
Shock Top. It is supposed to be in the style of a Belgian White like
Blue Moon. I found it's taste thin and just not similar enough to the
Belgian White style it is modeled after.

We occasionally ate in. On this particular evening my wife made a
dish of chicken fra diavolo. Although this can go well with beer, we
decided to pair it with a wine. Our wine of choice was Cantina
Zaccagnini Montepulciano D'Abruzzo. We choose this wine because,
like Pinot Noir, it is versatile enough to go with many different dishes.
It's lighter in mouth feel than a Sangiovese and softer in taste. It
does not overpower the light taste of chicken and the fruity qualities
of the wine play nicely with the sauce.

One evening after dinner our daughter, who was visiting, treated us
to a bottle each of Weihenstephaner Hefeweissebier. This is a beer
made at, according to them, the longest working brewery in the
world. Their beer shows what you can accomplish when you have
centuries to "get the kinks out"... The beer is complex with it's toast,
wheat, barley, and if these old taste buds are functioning correctly, a
wee bit of banana and then citrusy fruit aftertaste. The mouth feel
and flavor hits you right away. It is strong yet round and seamless
through the middle of the experience, and then just seems to
disappear requiring you to take another taste to see if you were right
the first time, and the second time, and so on. Having it after dinner
is sort of like having a fine brandy. It just seems to make the entire
experience more enjoyable.

Towards the end if our stay, isn't it always that way, we stumbled on
a beer and wine store, called Liquid Assets, that has all the regular
stuff but much to our surprise also has some things more exotic. In
keeping with my try some of this and some of that attitude I
purchased 3 beers. The first is called Long Board from Kona
Brewing. This beer is a little more complex than the beers mentioned
at the beginning of this article. It has an almondy like quality up front
and it has a stronger hop quality, which did not seem that obvious to
me from the nose.

A little further along in the refrigerator I located a 4 pack of La Fin
Du Monde which translates to "The end of the world" - by Unibroue. I
decided to compare that to Victory Malheur - which is brewed for
them by De Landtsheer in Belgium. These are both heavy weights of
ABV with the Unibroue beer weighing in at 9% and the Victory at
10% so if you have more than one make sure it's on an evening
when driving afterwards is not required. La Fin Du Monde has just a
slightly lighter mouth feel and is a little less sweet than Malheur.
Malheur has a more viscous feel that feels right with it's sweetness
level. Both beers, in their own way had a bread like flavor that
moved into honey. This was followed with a citrus flavor that then
changed, especially in the case of Malheur, to a black fruit almost
jammy flavor. They are both heavy weights in ABV, mouth feel,
complexity, and depth of flavor. Not a bad way to end a vacation.
BeerNexus proudly presents

Bob Montemurro
"the ombudsman of beer"

                      Bob says......
Bob Montemurro
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