Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery has a fine reputation, and I have been impressed with the few Bell’s beers that I have stumbled upon, so I was quite excited when I saw a lone bottle of their summer beer, Oberon Ale, sitting on the shelf. The Oberon Ale pours a hazy orange, with little bits of detritus floating throughout the beer, and that is almost always a good sign. It seemed to glow, as if it was ill met by moonlight. It has a wonderful bread, orange rind, and floral aroma, each of which carries over to the flavor. The wheat malts are up front and prominent and somewhat creamy, reminiscent of a hefeweizen, but without the banana and clove flavors I associate with that style. I could drink this all day, 8/10, and would except I think I had the last bottle in South Florida, as I have not seen any since this bottle called out to me like a mermaid, on a dolphin’s back, Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath, That the rude sea grew civil at her song.
Nick stood up on the log, holding his rod, the landing net hanging heavy, then stepped into the water and splashed ashore. He climbed the bank and cut up into the woods, toward the high ground. He was going back to camp. He looked back. The river just showed through the trees. There were plenty of days coming when he could fish the swamp.
But first he had to get the bottles of beer he had put in the river to cool. Nick pulled the now cold bottles from the rushing water and took one last look at the swamp. He may not have brought anything to read, but he was happy that he had brought the beers to the camp. He knew they would go well with the trout he caught.
Nick liked Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. It was brewed in the Lower Peninusla, far from his fishing camp, but he thought of it as a local beer. He built a fire for cooking the fish and opened the first bottle. He enjoyed the floral hops and orange peel aroma before taking a drink. He took a sip, and the flowery hops and bitter orange were balanced by some biscuit like malts. It was a crisp clean beer. He finished the bottle while the fire burnt down to coals.
Nick got the frying pan out of his pack to cook the trout. After he cleaned the trout and put it in the hot frying pan, he opened the second bottle of beer. He liked to open bottles. Nick remembered that he had placed a carefully wrapped small glass in his pack. He got the glass. It was not broken. He poured the beer into it.
Nick held it up to the late afternoon sun and watched the bubbles race up the side of the glass. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale was a hazy orange color, as richly colored as the canned apricots he had for breakfast. He took a big gulp while the trout sputtered in the hot pan, and swirled the beer around the glass a bit. “Creamy head” he thought.
The trout was finished cooking. He finished the beer while he ate. Nick was glad that he brought the Bell’s Two Hearted Ale with him, 7/10.
He could fish the swamp tomorrow.