Have you ever started your daily countdown to summer as soon as September 1 rolls around on the calendar? I do every year, and here’s the story about it…
As a school teacher, I’ve got countdowns for everything–days left before giving the big test, days left before Christmas break, units left to teach in the book–you name it, I know how much further we’ve got to go til something is done. But no countdown is noticed and talked about more than the one I have on the whiteboard in my classroom from Day 1 of school–the “days to go” countdown. Everyone knows what that one is referring to, and even though seeing it on the first day of school with a big number in front of it is something that both the teachers and my students get a good laugh about, the laughs slowly give way to repeated looks and warm tingling feelings as the number diminishes a little more each day.
Sure, the biggest part of those feelings is always gonna be tied to the 3 months off of school, but being a craft beer enthusiast that appreciates many styles of beers, another lesser reason is the flooding of the beer market with a style known as the shandy. A shandy, simply put, is beer mixed with lemonade, ginger ale, or ginger beer. Turned off by that thought? Don’t be. My guess is that you’ve either never tried one at all, or that you haven’t tried a good one. That being said, let me save you the trouble of wasting time with the poor ones before you land on the holy grail. Zack and I have done our share of “looking for the good ones”, and have found the best one out there. I know…it’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta drink it.
It’s called Barrel Aged Turbo Shandy by Hoppin’ Frog Brewery in Akron, OH, and it’s the epitome of refreshment when the warm summer months roll around in your neck of the woods. This version happens to be aged in bourbon whiskey barrels, giving that delicious beer and lemonade combo a nice little kick in the pants. You’ll discover a concoction that at one time seemed so weird, but quickly turned into something you wished for a bigger bottle to contain. Hoppin’ Frog makes a non-barrel aged turbo Shandy and a tequila barrel-aged Shandy as well, and although they’re tasty in their own right, they can’t help but take a backseat to the much more southern, bourbon-sipping cousin driving the wheel in your wildest dreams.
Think I’m overrated in my obsession over this summer drink? Think again. Better yet, prove me wrong and start your own countdown to when you’re gonna take our word for it and try one yourself. But beware…tough habits, much like the pursuit of a good shandy, are gonna be hard to break once the summer comes to an end…