cabin drinking – SPF, Dog Days, and lots of stairs.
I am here to tell you what I have been drinking lately, including some summer gems, frequent recommendations, and what I simply can’t get enough of.
credit: BSL Lodge
I spent almost a week up at my family’s cabin in McGregor, Minnesota for the Fourth of July holiday. When I was a kid (and had nothing but free time) we spent nearly every weekend up north. Now that the three of us are all adults on separate schedules, it is hard to find time for everyone to visit together.
I was looking forward to binge-reading Real Simple Magazine and Martha Stewart Living plus sailing our Hobie, wakeboarding, and of course enjoying some summer beer! I’ll admit to speeding quite a bit on my journey north.
after getting a bit screen-tired, the northwoods will set you straight.
Our cabin is located on Big Sandy Lake, Minnesota’s 31st largest lake. We are in the far right on the map, in the southeastern bay.
I had packed up about a case of beverages – craft soda, beer, Vikre gin, and cider – mostly for myself. I also packed the cat, who was not pleased about being in prison but loves the cabin.
I kicked things off with a lager by Two Brothers Called Dog Days in honor of the animals. I had been holding onto one for a few weeks and had only heard average comments about it. Knowing that Two Brothers is a reputable place, I cracked it open with high hopes and this Dortmunder style definitely did not disappoint.
The cousin of the German Helles and Bohemian Pilsner, this beer is characteristically bright and spicy with slightly more alcohol than its relatives. The style was born out of a German response to the foreign Pilsner but utilizes more of the malt profile of a Helles. It went on to become quite popular among working class drinkers at the time and generally followed the same trend as those industries, such as mining. Therefor it is no surprise that the popularity of the Dortmunder took a nose dive at the end of the 20th century and no longer finds favor among modern American (or German, for that matter) brewers.
I recommend pairing this beer along with some good old fashioned hard labor, as is tradition. With no mines available, I tried launching a sailboat, climbing several dozen flights of stairs to and from the beach, or when that wasn’t enough, watching my dad do some lumberjacking.
If a working-class beer doesn’t quite put you in the summer mood, try one of my unexpected favorites – the Abita Strawberry Lager. As I have said before, Abita knows what they are doing with fruit, and this extends beyond the Purple Haze. Considering that Louisiana gets far more sun throughout the year than Minnesota, I have no problem turning to their expertise in the warmer months. Strawberry Lager is full of fruit flavor without being that “fruity beer” that everyone is referring to when they say “Oh, I don’t like fruity beer”.
Abita Strawberry pairs well with less industrious activities like long boat rides, making ice cream, or generally sitting around, preferably in the sun.