Sunday, July 20, 2008

Just say no ... to lawnmower beer

The Session is a monthly web powwow, in which various beer bloggers post on a common theme. Session # 17 - July -

could be summed up thusly: Drinking anti-seasonally. <...> Beer and weather, perhaps? More like beer despite the weather, I guess. Cracking open a Guinness on the beach. <...>For a summary of the Sessions thus far, check out Brookston's handy guide.

As Lady MacBeth might have said to a swill-drinking husband, 'screw your lawnmower beers to the sticking place'.

I missed The Session submission deadline, but here are two photos, illustrative of that theme.

JW Lees Harvest Ales aged casksOn a hot July day 2008, Maxs TapHouse in Baltimore Md. was offering pours from two different vintages of aged wooden casks of J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (11.5% abv) via handpump.

Pictured, on the left: 2004 Lagavulin whisky-aged. On the right: a non-spirit cask, but from 1999!

I was amazed to find two such rarities on cask at the same time. And I applauded the aplomb of Casey Hard, beer manager at Max's, to feature these full-bodied treats in the midst of summer. (In fact the weather is even more oppressive than usual. Tropical Storm Cristobal is churning off the Carolinas, pushing tropical weather into the mid-Atlantic region.)

We passed the samples around to several bar patrons, who sipped and appreciated these barleywines (and even in cold weather, these are beers to be savored not gulped). Dark fruit, deep depth, sticky mouthfeel, alcoholic heat, and in the case of the Lagavulin casked iteration - smoke and peat.

Yesterday, at an outdoor beer festival at Magnolias in Purcellville, Va. —with temps in the 90s (that's 35 °C for our non-American friends) and humidity in the 70% range— patrons were enjoying Clipper City Brewing's Hang Ten, a weizen dopplebock of 10% alcohol by volume. Out of all the festival-goers, only two returned their samples and asked for something lighter.

If you needed hydration —something light— there was plenty of ice-cold bottled water available.


  1. I don't know Tom, I don't think there's anything wrong with lawnmower beer - A nice hoppy pilsner goes down awfully well after a couple hours of working in the yard...

  2. Although the A/C at the house just broke, and I've got to say a stout does NOT sound delightful right now. I'd take an A/C repairman over an anti-seasonal beer any day, much as I'm ashamed to admit it.


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