I was going to call this post Three Summer Ales in homage to the winter version but what with the current Molson ad running on the TV about why would you drink an American beer any more than you would buy a Morrocan snowmobile, I am compelled to point out that most Molson products have a little less of that beer component, barley, and a whole lot too much of corn sugar these days and that an honest evaluation of ales ought to be based a wee bit more on what's in the glass rather than what is said on the ad by the guy next to the 19 year old lassie in the swimsuit. Want a good beer? Look to the USA, I say.
Pete's Wicked Ale, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Lake Placid Ubu Ale
Starting at the left, Pete's Wicked Ale (5.3%) from Minnesota is the archtype American brown ale, what Rickard's Red (not a real Irish red but a caramelized pale ale) dreams of being - flavourful, with a thoughtful selection of yeast and that small bit of dark crystal malt that gives the raisin thang a happening about half way through if you are paying attention. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (5.6%) from California is a new one to me, highly rated by those who like real ale from the USA, in the same general area as my favorite US pale ale Shipyard Export but with a wee bit less up front in the hops department but still pretty flowery, just like Al Purdy would have appreciated when he wrote the poem. Like a Labatt 50 or a Moosehead Pale Ale, there is the flavour of grain hanging around after the swallow. Unlike them, the flavour is better, without that sneaker box cardboard thing. The Lake Placid Ubu Ale (7%) is a big ale from the neighbouring part of northern New York. If Pete's Wicked Ale has a hint of raisin, this is ripe with it. Biggish but still not too big.
Best of all - you can get all three beers a half hour over the border at a grocery store. While there, if it is stinking hot, get some Rolling Rock - the best bowl of corn flakes you will ever drink.