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Archive for the ‘“Best Of” guides’ Category

You heard me.  If you haven’t tried this, you really have been missing out on so much.

Now, it’s a well known fact that I like beer.  It’s also an accepted fact of nature that I like food.  But my life isn’t all about sitting around pleasing my palette.  It’s also about getting out into the great outdoors and moving!  And I don’t mean packing up all my stuff and changing abodes.  I mean physically moving my bones.  I love to hike, I love to run, I love to go on long walks wherever I am.  I love to canoe and kayak, when I can.  I love trying new things that I’ll probably never get good at, like surfing and rock climbing, just to see what other ways are out there for me to have fun exerting myself.  My next conquests will be spelunking and white water rafting, neither of which I have ever done.  Or rappelling!  Preferably off something big and pretty, like this:

(source)

And the fact of the matter of all this is, at the end of the day, you’re usually pretty sweaty.  This is where showers come in.  I have NEVER been able to take cold showers, which is why I love running in the rain in the summer, because you are already cooled down and can hop in a hot shower, which is a) actually tolerable, and b) relaxes your muscles.  But guess what else relaxes your muscles, cold shower or hot?  And also compliments a cold shower (if that’s your thing) by adding to the coolness, and contrasts a hot one with a converse burst of refreshment?  And at the same time helps you refuel with carbohydrates?  And, according to this study, actually helps you RE-hydrate?  You probably guessed it: Beer!

I can’t be the only out there who likes to take a cold beer in a hot shower (since I never take cold).  If you share this joy, you probably want to read about it.  And if you’ve never, in fact, tried it, you probably need some guidance on where to start.  That’s why I’m here to offer you Iambs and Ales’ Guide to the Best Beers for Sipping in the Shower, Post-Exercise!

(I qualified this with “post-exercise” because taking a hot shower on a cold winter’s day is an entirely different beast, requiring entirely different beers, and is a post for another day.  Mostly because there’s only so much beer I can buy at a time for the sake of taking blog photos)

Beer #1: Corona- Restoring Balance

A handy-dandy shelf in your shower like we have in ours is the perfect beer-holder!

Corona is great in the shower for many reasons.  For one, it’s light and refreshing on its own, and with that slice of lime it reminds you of summer in the winter (the yin to winter’s yang) and makes you feel seasonally in-tune in the spring and summer (the full circle of warm weather celebration)!  Plus, add a dash of salt in there, like 4 out of 5 doctors recommend, and you’re giving your osmoregulation a boost on its mission to restore your salt balance from all the sweating you did!

Beer #2: Any sort of Hefeweizen- Refueling with Vitamins

Yep, feel free to notice that in our ugly 1950s-pink bathroom, there is a window RIGHT WHERE SOMEONE WOULD OSTENSIBLY STAND IN THE SHOWER. Try to figure that one out. We still haven't.

So, as I have clearly proven above, any beer is good for carbing up post-workout and also, incredibly, re-hydrating (though I suspect this is only true when taken in moderation).  But hefeweizens go above and beyond a beer’s nutritional call of duty and pack in WAY more vitamins than other styles because they’re unfiltered!  This means that all that stuff floating in it that gives it its cloudy composure and thicker mouth-feel is yeast that has not been filtered out of the beer, and you can basically think of it as a whole bunch of floating B vitamins.

OK, this one honestly wasn't very visual with its floaty flecks. But I wasn't going to keep buying hefeweizens until I got a photogenic one!

Hefeweizens are perfect for getting some nutrients after a hard run!

Beer #3: Heavy Seas’ Gold Ale- It’s All About Context

Now, let me tell you a little story.  It’s called, “Shenan was too judgmental about a beer that didn’t slap her in the face with flavor.”  Tasting a new beer is like going on a blind date: you go in not knowing anything about the beer you’re going to be meeting, and have no standard by which to judge it except the standard of all the beers you’ve dated in the past, who have turned out to be too distant or too clingy or too sloppy or too much of a neat freak or workaholics or lazy smelly bums or what have you.  Either that or they’ve been so amazing, such an incredible match for you, and left you so heartbroken when they took off for California or left you for the cute barista who made both of your morning lattes that you feel no other beer can possibly compare, and you go in just searching for some little annoyance or quirk to use as an excuse to totally write them off at the get-go.  Which you KNOW you cannot do; you have to go in with the mindset that you will judge each experience or person (or beer) without the baggage of the others.  But I did it anyway.  When I tried Heavy Seas’ Gold Ale, I had just gotten finished drinking my half of the Etienne Dupont Bouche Brut de Normandie and was coming off the heels of drinking some very full-flavored brews the night before like Left Hand Brewery’s Good JuJu (a ginger ale), Dogfish Head’s Namaste, and various wines that came out of jugs.  It was as if my tongue had become jaded by these flavors.  It wasn’t expecting subtlety; it wanted to be slapped in the face with flavor.  It wasn’t ready to delve into the artful, denotative wordplay of Shakespeare after spending all weekend hearing slam poetry.  Plus, my experience with other beers from Heavy Seas (brewed by Clipper City Brewing Co. in Baltimore) told me that they specialized in forward, powerful tastes: Loose Cannon (their IPA offering), Red Sky at Night (their saison), Winter Storm (their winter seasonal, an ESB).  I wrote the Gold Ale off as light, flavorless, eh.

But I was wrong.  Oh, how I was wrong.  And oh, how lucky I was that this diamond-in-the-rough of beers decided to take my calls again after being given the cold shoulder for about a week:

Because, my friends, this is the perfect shower beer.  Its taste isn’t bland, it’s subtle, like a good lyric or a pick-up line that actually works.  Give it a chance to stand on its own, and play by its own rules, and it’ll blow your mind.  There’s a subtle thickness, a soft wind of wheat and caramel, a whisper of flora and spice.  A resemblance to a distant cousin who was perhaps a blonde ale.  It made me think of hot sand glittering on the shores of an island upon which one has been marooned.  But that could also be the marketing.  Gold.  Pure gold.  In an ale.

And because it’s so soft and light and subtle, it’s fantastic for refreshing you, hydrating you, and delivering that soft, understated burst of flavor to your dehydrated mouth that would be overwhelmed and even made thirstier at the prospect of something harsh and heavy.  Too many hops dry out your throat.  Too thick a body and it’s like drinking liquid bread when you really want water.  Too many roasted malts in there and it’s like eating a rich meal of steak and pudding when you want a cold gazpacho.

Context.  And shower beers.  And to you all out there, I say: Happy running!  Happy trails!  Happy skydiving or bungee jumping or whatever you get your kicks from!  And then happy showering, and happy beer drinking.

On a final note, I leave you with this picture:

Clearly, the cats in this house have just as good taste as we do.

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