A week back, John and I spent a few minutes to try some summer beers and banter about it. Watch the video to see our take on our mystery summer beers!
Sierra Nevada Summer Fest
Harpoon Summer Beer
Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ale
Newcastle Summer Ale
Gold Medal: Sierra Nevada Summer Fest
We thought this one had a great combination of hops and malts. The hops providing the bite and the malts the sweetness. It is very much the lighter version of their Pale Ale, which is a solid beer itself.
Silver Medal: Harpoon Summer Beer
The Harpoon Summer Beer was the lightest beer that we tried, but very enjoyable just the same. It had less of a bite but was easy drinking and the best for the really hot days.
Bronze Medal: Brooklyn Summer Ale
A good beer in its own right, the Brooklyn Summer Ale was less hoppy than the Sierra Nevada but darker than the Harpoon. Not our favorite Brooklyn beer, but a solid offering.
Honorable Mention: Newcastle Summer Ale
We were a bit disappointed with the Newcastle Summer Ale, although maybe we should have been less surprised. We were expecting it to taste more in line with its American counterparts, but it had a distinct English Ale flavor to it, which, to our tastes, is a bit funky. If you love English Ales, though, you could enjoy this one.
In the United States, Vodka went from nowhere 50 years ago to being the most consumed spirit today. But what makes something vodka? And does it really give you less of a hangover?
Vodka is a distilled spirit made from anything that contains sugar. The most common things to use are grains like wheat, rye or corn. Potatoes are also used as well as beet sugar. But anything that has sugar or can be turned into sugar can be used as the base of vodka. Grey Goose vodka uses grapes to get its sugar. The resulting sugary slurry from the base, called a mash, is fermented to create the alcohol.
The mash is then processed into vodka. By definition, vodka is a neutral spirit, and the distillation and fractioning process will remove much of the chemicals and flavors. So even though vodka can be made from many different bases, the results will be similar.
Vodka brands like to boast about their distillation process and how pure they are. While each pass of distillation will increase the alcohol content, what increases the purity is a process call frationing and filtering. Using an apparatus called a still, non-essential compounds are “fractioned” or “filtered” to create a pure consistent liquor. Conversely, when making spirits like whiskey or bourbon, these impurities are purposely left in to create their unique flavors. Higher quality vodka brands claim more sophisticated distillation processes to remove more of the impurities. In practice, though, most brands over a certain threshold are difficult to tell apart.
Since vodka is a neutral spirit you can find dozens of flavored varieties at any liquor store. These flavorings allow the spirit to take on tones that other liquors could never achieve like citrus-y flavors, pepper flavors, and many more.
So what’s it mean to me?
You may feel cool popping for that bottle of Belvedere, and that could be worth it to you, but don’t expect it to make your cocktail better. Vodka is a regulated neutral spirit and unflavored vodkas from any respectable vodka brand will preform identically when mixed. In general, if you avoid the plastic bottle, you’ll be fine.
Flavored vodkas can provide a nice “all-in-one” base for a cocktail and make the mixing process easier by adding flavor notes without having to keep a full stock of bar spices and bitters.
And yes, the distillation process for vodka removes compounds like ethyl acetate and ethyl lactate, which can exacerbate certain parts of a hangover for certain people. So if you had to pick an alcoholic beverage that was least likely to give you a hangover, it would be some vodka-based low-sugar non-carbonated salty drink.
A beer and lemonade concoction sits on Marc’s desk.
It is hot in NYC this summer and while boozy summer cocktails still have their place, for my money, the official drink of this summer is Beer+Lemonade, variants of which are called a Shandy and Radler. Not only is it delicious, but it is refreshing. The lower alcohol content doesn’t overwhelm and the citrus-y flavors just hit the spot in the evening or the daytime, and will help on the preventing hangovers front. This might not be a party drink, but it is definitely a summer drink.
According to the linked Wikipedia article, Radlers trace back in Germany to a gastronomer in Munich by the name of Franz Xaver Kugler, who is credited with their invention in 1922. But it also notes that references to Radler predate Franz by ten years, so he may have been just the best PR person at the time.
Here’s how I make my Beerade:
Marc’s super-simple recipe for Beer + Lemonade, Radler, Shandy, or whatever:
If you have lemonade, just mix it 50-50 with beer and a couple ice cubes in a large glass. Otherwise -
Get a big glass, 20oz is good.
Fill with about 8oz of water. Add a heaping tablespoon of white sugar and three tablespoons of lemon juice concentrate. Stir well.
Add about 3-4 ice cubes and stir well again.
Pour a lager over the ice cubes and voila!
You can use any lager. Right now I have a case of Kirin Ichiban so I’m using that. In the past I’ve used Bud which works fine as well. Experiment with different beers! I might not use a porter, but many different beers will add different notes to the final result.
Ahh, drinking in the summer. There is nothing quite like a pitcher of mojitos and a bucket of icy beers to enjoy while gabbing with friends on a lazy afternoon. But while the summer is undeniably awesome, and drinking in the afternoon can lead to all kinds of amusing shenanigans, drinking in the heat has its own set of pitfalls which one must avoid lest the hangovers be extra awful.
Heat exhaustion is a set of unpleasant symptoms that come about when your body struggles to keep cool. Heat, humidity, and sun all exacerbate the effect. Symptoms can include dizziness, muscle cramps, and nausea.
Do those symptoms look familiar? Heat exhaustion is very similar to a hangover in that both have dehydration as a primary driver. In serious heat, dehydration comes from sweating and in alcohol consumption it comes from the diuretic effect. And when the two are combined it creates an extra delicate need for properly balanced hydration.
So what’s the cure?
These are way more important that anyone realizes. While a bag of chips can give you sodium, and coconut water can give you potassium, it is always better to get your electrolytes properly balanced between sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. The best options out there are Pedialyte and Brode. (And obviously Brode is our favorite.)
Alternate between sun and shade
The sun shines down with some ridiculous amount of heat. Avoid absorbing a constant stream of radiated sun-rays by alternating between the sun and shade. Umbrellas, tents, awnings, trees, even large hats can help.
Keep a cooler filled with damp cloths
Take that lunchbox cooler of yours, fill it with wet wash cloths and a bunch of ice. While enjoying the heat wipe the cold water on your face, neck, and arms. You’ll appreciate that you made the effort.
Plenty of water available
This one is a no-brainer. Have plenty of water available to you, and drink it as you get thirsty. This means knowing where the water fountains are at the park, asking for waters at the bar, or bringing water with you if you will will be somewhere inaccessible.
A good rule of thumb in almost all cases is to listen to what you body is telling you. If you are becoming over-heated take steps to cool off. If you feel that you are becoming a bit woozy, get out of the sun and get some electrolytes and fluids in your body. There is nothing in stone that says summer day drinking will get you hungover, but sometimes you have to be a bit more careful.
Who loves visuals? We do! Check out this whiteboard animation that hits all the important points to avoiding a hangover, and practicing proper drinking. Our only addition? You want electrolytes in the evening with your water, otherwise it will just get pee’d out. A hangover cure is a combo of many different things. Know them all.
Notice that Brode has electrolytes, vitamins, and Cysteine. Nice!
Heard of Northside? Now in its fourth year, the Northside festival is a mini SXSW that takes place all over north Brooklyn, and it features music, film, entrepreneurship, and parties. It is created by the same people behind The L Magazine.
Are you a part of one of the coolest offices in New York City? Want to be one of the coolest people in NYC this summer?
We’re very excited to be giving away 100 (yes, 100) office prize packs all this summer to awesome offices in NYC. To submit an application, go on over to our Facebook page and tell us why your office is awesome and deserves some free Brode packs.
If we choose your office as a winner, each of you will get a free pack of Brode (up to 30 free packs total) and we might even do something extra special… You’ll have to win to find out.
Contest starts Monday May 14 and runs through the summer. Be creative! Poems, pictures, and videos are welcome.
We’ve been busy working away not just on the nuts and bolts of building Brode as a company, but also working to define what Brode means, as a brand.
We are very pleased to finally add “Brodology” to the website. Brodology is our way to describe the feelings of empowerment, control, fun and awesomeness that we want to embody everything that we do. And we want to brighten the days of everyone that the brand touches just a little bit.
Brode is not just about hangovers, we want it to be more. Let’s all be a little bit more awesome, together.
I just made a post on Under30CEO about the results from our first email. In brief, they were fantastic! We had an open rate over 50%! Clearly people are excited and we look to build on that to keep doing great things.
In my post, I dissect the A/B test results from the email, and do some simple statistics. Click here to read the rest at Under30CEO.com.
We were really excited this afternoon when the new indie shopping site TinyLightbulbs added our Brode Drinking Companion to their listed items.
TinyLightbulbs was created as a sort of “post-Kickstarter” marketplace for indie projects that want to continue momentum after their launch. We are really happy to be featured on site with other great designed products from independent companies.
We see cool times ahead for the new site. Good luck guys!
At Brode, we're creators, and we know that you are, too. We blog about stuff going on at Brode, tips and tricks for professionals, hangovers and drinking, and other things that we think are of interest.