For the September, BetterBeerBlog is hosting with the topic of Summer Beer for The Session #31. Peter asks the simple question, “what was your favorite beer of the summer?” On the surface, this is a simple question but for this topic the beer doesn’t even need to be a summer beer style, just your favorite beer of this or any other summer.
This year, I don’t have one favorite, I have 6 and I barely recall what all 6 were. I didn’t write them down, didn’t review them, and took maybe 1 picture one of them. In fact, I had to dig to get the names for this article. I just enjoyed them in the moment. These “favorite” 6 beers of the summer were the ones that were paired with a wonderful meal that my wife and I ate at Den Dijver in Bruges, Belgium less than 4 weeks ago.
Why these six beers? First and foremost, it was the memory of the situation: we were together in Brugge, a beautiful European Medieval town, the weather was perfect, we were eating lunch outside in a garden patio, the food was exquisite, the beer was delicious, and the pairings were perfect. The whole situation was very enjoyable and memorable.
The beer pairing, itself, was another reason why these were my favorite beers of the summer. Each course had exactly the right beer to go with the dish. One particularly memorable pairing was grilled sardines and a hoppy, bitter Belgian beer. Sardines have a very strong flavor but this hoppy beer held up and was a strong counterpart that complimented the fish. Another great pairing was an dry, tart oude geuze paired with a cheese for dessert.
Finally, the beers themselves were excellent on their own. We had the house beer, which I think was something by Halve Maan, the only brewery in the city limits of Brugge, Koriala from Brouwerij Lupiline, Steenbrugge Wit from Brouwerij Palm, Chimay Cinq Cents, Moinette Brune from Brasserie Dupont, and Oude Geuze from Brouwerij Cantillon.
In summary, my favorite summer beers of 2009 and possibly all time were more centered around the circumstances in which we enjoyed them than the quality of each beer on its own. That is now to say, however, that these 6 beers are not excellent on their own but had I enjoyed any one of these beers in a different circumstance during the summer, they would not have been my favorite beers of the summer.