A Good Time for Some Beer; and Why Lime Isn't Always Necessary




Sometimes, you just want a beer.

Of course, these days, “just a beer” is rarely just a beer: With more variety, and a deeper well of styles and expressions to choose from than ever before, narrowing down which bottle or can to pop open and savor is as potentially fraught a decision as any in your drinking life.

To make life easier, then, I strongly recommend stocking your fridge with these three excellent brews. They all represent great quality and exceptionally fair pricing.

And let me throw in a quick comment here about that bottle of Bohemia that I recommend below: Just because it’s from Mexico doesn’t mean you should be sullying it with a wedge of lime. You do that with a Corona, for example, because the glass is clear and the beer, therefore, is likely to have been affected by sunlight. You don’t add lime because it’s what you’re supposed to do with all Mexican beer.

Long story short, UV light--i.e., sunlight--when it comes into contact with beer, can lead to the creation of a compound that results in a the so-called “skunky” character. The lime in, say, a Corona, can mask or attenuate that. Unfortunately, we humans are both creatures of habit and, in my experience, less likely to question accepted alcohol wisdom, no matter how spurious it may be. The result is a virtual nation of people adding lime wedges to all of the beers they drink that happen to be from Mexico. Which, suffice to say, is crazy.

This is all to say that, because the bottle of Bohemia Beer, recommended below, comes in a brown bottle, there is no need to add lime. Or lemon. Or anything else. It’s perfectly delicious on its own, thank you very much.

There: I’ve said my piece.

Now for the tasting notes:

Cerveza Bohemia, Mexico
Light in color with persistent bubbles and a rapidly dissipating head. Aromas of bread and lemon with a hint of spice lead to flavors of toast and yeast, a pleasant bitterness, and a very subtle hint of sweetness. Mainly, however, this is about the almost German-style yeast notes and cereal grains. Crisp and clean. Beautifully made. I’ll take three.

21st Amendment Brewery “Bitter American,” San Francisco, CA
Beautiful color, like a deep apricot or a fuyu persimmon. Nice lacing on top, not much head retention, and a nose that is gently floral against whiffs of warm citrus oils and grilled lemon. Bracing and creamy flavors all at once: Honey, butterscotch, apricot spread on toasted multi-grain bread. A very solid session ale, as advertised.

Narragansett Bock Lager, Providence, RI
Sweet, nutty-earthy nose, hints of dried apricots, mushrooms, and honey. Beautiful, and very complex. Flavors of orange, toasted multi-grain bread, nuts, honey tuille, hints of spices, and a finish that speaks of peanut butter on toast. Rich and very drinkable; well made.