September 09, 2015: Beer Accents

September 9, 2015

Lime-Crusted BeerA couple of weeks ago, my family did me the honor of visiting me. They had seen all the sites in the Marlborough area, so this time I took them around to nearby Concord, Ma.

To my surprise, they were game for “Sleepy Hallow” Cemetery, so we saw the resting places of Thoreau, Emerson, Hawthorne, and the Alcotts. Just down the road from Sleepy Hallow was Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Here, my family braved the observation tower heights to get a spectacular view of the vista that is Great Meadows. We caught the season perfectly as water-lilies were still in bloom and purple loosestrife lining the edges of the pond.

Then, it was down to walk the paths for an up-close encounter with Nature. This was cut short by the presence of a large, black snake sunning itself at the beginning of the path. My niece and I were at the fore-front of our group. Seeing the snake at the same time, we had polar reactions: mine was to move closer for a better look, and my nieces’ was to skedaddle post-haste back to the parking lot!

Perhaps indicative of a much earlier garden of Nature guarded by snake, our mutual reactions were consistent: the descendant of Eve expressed a natural caution, perhaps motivated by the memory of have been burned before. Adam’s scion however…has never learned, and still has a bumbling attraction to all things reptilian. Our Nature-hike ended, my nephew etched “Big Black Snake” in chalk on the nature watch chalkboard and it was into town, to allow sleeping reptiles to lay.

We bounced from shop to shop with no particular agenda. I tend to shop, by myself, as if a mercenary with timed mission: in and out, so I enjoyed the luxury of just ambling around (and spending nothing!) We also had the pleasure of lunch at the Colonial Inn. Before a rather amazing meal at the Inn, the waitress suggested to me a pumpkin ale, the rim of the glass lined with a cinnamon-sugar. Never having even considered a libation as perfect as pumpkin ale needing embellishment, I was intrigued…and subsequently pleased with the effect! The balance of spice-to-sugar at the Inn was so perfect, I was itching to try it myself.

I thought I had gotten my chance a few weekends later. I was asked to work on    a Saturday which has the fringe benefit of being mere steps away from a Farmers Market. Amidst stalls selling unusual veggies like baby bok choy and tri-colored potatoes, I found a stall selling mead…specifically pumpkin mead!

In my beer-making days, my two best concoctions were a pumpkin stout and a raspberry mead. Through chance or  some mistake of mine, the mead had a little bit of fermentation still going on at the end of the aging. This shouldn’t have happened, but the tiny bubbles made the mead taste like a champagne with slight tastes of the raspberry and the honey from which the mead gets its main flavor.

I rushed home to sample the mead that I had bought to see if I could then add the cinnamon accent. At this point, let me mention, that while my raspberry mead was perfection, I have never had a bad mead, even the store-bought ones. And I love pumpkin. I’m one of those people who just go ga-ga in the Autumn, scarfing up pumpkin cookies, ice cream, butters, etc. So, the first taste of the pumpkin mead was more than a letdown…it was seriously one of the most awful libations I’ve ever tasted! Like…spit-take worthy! Picture…if you can stomach it..turpentine and cat piss, mixed with a tad of dishwashing soap! Later, I was thinking perhaps I had overreacted, and tried another sip. NOPE! I finished the rest of the bottle by cleaning out my kitchen sink with it!

So, my plans bruised, but not broken, I thought, “OK, if what you expected to like didn’t turn out, what do you know you like and adapt the idea to that?” The answer to that was pretty easy. My  Summer guilty pleasure libation is lime-beer. It’s affordable, easily obtained and refreshing on those really hot days. And I like lime almost as much as I like pumpkin!

I took a lime and used a fine grater to get zest and added the tiniest bit of sugar to make it bind to the rim of the glass. I juiced the lime and dipped the rim into the juice and then into the zest-sugar. Delicious, decorative, and unusual. This beer-accent has broadened my Summer drink repertoire by one!


One comment

  1. Hi Steve,

    Long time no email…..life has been ever challenging..but we are keeping as positive as possible.

    I make a beef stew with a hearty darkish and one place ale in winter. You would swear it was cooked in wine. Had a wee garden this spring, and barely wrestled my basil from the ensuing drought.

    It is hotter than I ever recall except for the July Regan was born…1972…heat so oppressive one could only sit and sip fluids .

    Hope you are well…..I miss Boston.

    Take care,


    Sent from ulkemi6 London Branch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: