Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Seasons should change and so should beer
Last evening about 5pm I received a call from RonO inquiring about attending hotdish night at Grumpy's Bar, our unofficial 'clubhouse' and the finest neighborhood bar in Minneapolis. I passed however, as the VOR and I were ferrying GalwayGuy and GuitarMatt's '91 Toyota (212,000 miles) up to Mora, MN for some needed rejuvenation. Unfortunately when we stopped for gas, steam began rising from under the hood and coolant began dripping on to the ground. This meant, of course, that we needed to postpone the Mora trip and head to Grumpys. A quick call to RonO and zero arm twisting made him postpone his workout plans and head for the bar. When we arrived we were all pleasantly surprised to see that the 2008-09 Summit Winter Ale had made its debut among the tap handles.
I love the change of beers almost as much as I love the change of seasons. Hell for me would be living in San Diego, drinking Budweiser 365 days a year. When fall comes, I look forward to the crisp, malty Octoberfest beers almost as much as I anticipate the leaves changing and the beginning of the hunting season. Winter brings cross country and telemark skiing as well as the winter ales and spiced winter warmers that go down well in front of the fire when its -10F outside. Spring brings the start of kayak season, open water fishing, and the malt laden goodness of the bocks and the alcoholic power of the mai bocks. Kayaking is going full bore in the summer as is the hefe weizen and light, crisp wheat beers with the low alcohol content.
Maybe I have a short attention span or maybe I'm just used to the changes in the seasons after half a century of dealing with it. I have come to realize that I can't live without it however and that, unlike my father, I will never embrace the snowbird lifestyle of migrating south in the winter. When we had phone conversations during his Phoenix winters toward the end of his life, he would alway begin with the weather report. "I went outside in my shorts this morning and picked a grapefruit off the tree for breakfast" was a typical opening comment. I'd always detect a bit of wistful longing however, when I'd give him the up north report. Catching a mess of nice bluegills through the ice or talk of perfect snow at Mt Telemark would always get him going with questions, comments and other indications that maybe he'd like to be back up here in the winter, if only for a week or so. He was always seemed utterly at home on a frozen lake, sitting on an upside down plastic bucket in his WWII sheepkin lined flight suit, jigging for the elusive hand sized bluegills. I think that's where my winter loving gene came from and I gotta thank him for it.