The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Ignore the Calendar. Summer is already here.

Last Monday, when you were probably cursing at your alarm clock for putting an abrupt end to your weekend, many Michiganders awoke to news that brought a giant smile to their faces.  It wasn’t news of Apple, Boeing, or some other mega company moving headquarters to the Mitten State to end it’s long economic decline.  It wasn’t news that the Detroit Lions happened to get the first 5 picks of the NFL draft (not that they’d know what to do with them).  And it wasn’t confirmation that the mullet is back in style – as many of this state’s citizens believe it never went out.

Nope, last Monday was the official 2012 release of Bell’s Oberon Ale. I guess the best way to describe the phenomenon is that it’s an American version of  France’s Beaujolais Nouveau day.  That’s the 3rd Thursday in November when Beaujolais Nouveau (the  wine) is released to huge parties and celebrations.  The giddiness has reached our shores as well – a family friend used to get one of the first cases that came over on the Concorde.   It’s an unofficial national holiday in France, but one that’s more marketing than it is tradition.  Oberon release day has an organic, grassroots feel to it.

And while Beaujolais Nouveau is nothing more than glorified Hawaiian Punch, Oberon is actually… good.  According to one expert, it’s officially a smooth wheat ale with citrus notes and a floral, hoppy aroma, traditionally enjoyed with an orange slice but perfectly fine without it.  But that’s like calling the Mona Lisa a nice picture of some Italian chick.

To me, it’s summer in a bottle.   One sip evokes driving around in our convertible, the beach, shorts & t-shirts, and endless nights.  I’d say it’s a lot like baseball – but only if I actually gave a rat’s ass about baseball.   Musically it’s like Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”, Mungo Jerry’s “In the Summertime”, and the collected works of the Beach Boys all wrapped into one.

I just picked up a six-pack at Whole Foods and saw a little sticker giving it 98 points from some beer geek website.  just recently posted pictures of haikus written on napkins in praise of  Oberon.  My favorite –

OK, I never said I knew shit about good Haiku…


But is it actually good?  Am I just praising it because I love summer soooooo much?  No better way to answer that than to have one… It was a beautiful honey blonde color with orange hues, hazy like all wheat beers, but not completely opaque.  On the nose, I got a ton of citrus and floral notes with hints of spice.  Occasionally, some banana aroma came through. The taste was exactly as I remember it to be – well balanced between the citrus and slight sweetness.   As for mouthfeel, it was velvety and creamy, yet very crisp on the finish.  Yup, it’s summer.  Time to get the Speedo.

So what signals summer to you?  Is it just a calendar date or is there something else?  What’s your favorite summer song?

About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

5 comments on “Ignore the Calendar. Summer is already here.

  1. Socialkenny
    April 2, 2012

    Don’t have a favorite Summer song.

  2. Max Doinel
    April 2, 2012

    After this non-winter, it’s hard to say what signals summer. Our forsythias bloomed a month early, and last week we had four seasons within a forty-eight hour period. Summer song? Not sure, but maybe I can combine a summer song with a guilty pleasure. How about Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy” or Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA”? Sorry, I don’t have time to think: I’m off to find some Oberon.

  3. jperb
    April 22, 2012

    Interested in this beer, I usually don’t like wheat beers which go hoppy, it can spoil and cover the wheat and yeast flavors. Best summer song…”Magic” by the Cars (“Summer, Summer, Summer, it’s like a merry go round”) is the first thing that comes to mind? Or “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama (from the Karate Kid).

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      April 22, 2012

      Thanks for stopping by! I hope you can get your hands on a six-pack of it – try some with an orange wedge and some without. Make sure you let me know what you think

      As for the songs, I remember both really well – especially Cruel Summer as my college roommate was really into them. Uh oh… now I can’t get it out my head…

  4. the winegetter
    July 24, 2012

    Not much of a beer drinker (I tend to stick to my Beck’s), but I do like the Oberon. Was funny witnessing everyone’s excitement earlier in the year…:) Thanks for reminding me of that!

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This entry was posted on April 2, 2012 by in Ann Arbor, Drinking and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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