Cheers!: Peaking on Summit


I have a great deal of love and admiration for the guys who pioneered the craft beer movement. It was a national movement that progressed regionally. Depending on where you lived in the late 1980s and into the early 1990s, you most likely had to drive to a larger community to find a craft beer.

In Minnesota, my home state, Summit Brewery in St. Paul was the first craft beer peak to climb and savor (although New Ulm was already doing its own thing – I recall having an Ulmer Braun on the day Chernobyl was revealed to the public in May 1986, in a little corner pub in St. Michael, Minn., where I had gone to buy a typewriter).

My old pal Dana and I loved to find Summit’s Great Northern Porter on tap in the late 1980s, which were the very earliest of craft beer days in the Midwest. It was heavenly, an oasis in a sea of boring mainstream beers, although we had our favorites among them, of course. You had to. There just wasn’t that much to choose from. In lieu of a liquor store with a pretty good turnover of imports, we went for the hoppiest mainstream things we could find at the time, although we didn’t have a clue that was the outstanding ingredient that was appealing to us when we chose Special Export over Old Style or Ballantine’s over Pabst. I was a Grain Belt man, myself. During the malt liquor craze of the very early 1970s, it was Grain Belt’s GBX for me.

So on to this 30th Anniversary Double IPA from Summit that I just pulled out of the magic fridge. It got me waxing nostalgic about the bad old days, when the absence of craft beer forced me to become a homebrewer. Honestly, I’d rather buy great beer than make it.

But the taste of this double IPA, incredible!

And I would expect nothing less from this venerable brewery.

Heavy white lacing clings to the side of my glass with such solid gravitas that I feel if I were small enough to fit into that glass, I could climb the rocky lace to the very summit.

The beer itself? Majestically malty. Nice rippling finish of hops down the very center of the palate. Perfectly balanced and nuanced. Yes, a lovely beer.

Thanks for being a rock for us all these years, Summit!

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