For Father's Day, I'm going to get on a boat. To be specific, some sort of blown up intertube-like pontoon canoe thing that's super safe, and doesn't require a license to operate. I'll have help with the kids, so there won't be much required of me, which is perfect. The river and friends will keep the kids interested while also delivering us to our destination. Perfect, if you ask me.
To make things more perfecter, we'll bring a few easy sippers along with us, and a few snacks, and a waterproof mobile music amplifier. Appropriately named for a man named after Brian Eno, "Music to Drink on a River To" will be the playlist for us that day, and maybe for you, even if you're not on a boat.
And a few of these beers will be in the cooler. Cans, of course. Can't have glass on an inflatable boat. That doesn't make any sense.
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Put your feet up and have a few cans.
Hoponius Union Hoppy Lager
This brewery used to be a Boston-only sort of thing, but it's starting to make the rounds in the Northeast thanks to more aggressive canning, and that's to the benefit of all, especially those headed to a body of water near you. It's called a Lager, so you can sneak it by your friends that swear off the hoppy stuff. But it has enough hops to keep things crisp and above board, even as the ice melts. There's a reason so many of the Big Beer ads emphasize how damn cold the thing is. You don't want one of those Lagers to warm up. Hoponius will survive, and you will thrive.
pseudoSue American Pale Ale
Used to be, you had to have a friend in Iowa to get Sue. Due to a recent agreement with Brew Hub in Florida – a sort of shell brewery that makes contract agreements with other breweries – you can now get this sucker in cans all over America. You'll be told by at least one of your friends that this beer in cans is not as good as the original, and that the double-dry hopped version is better. Who cares? Which beer is in your hand as Bon Iver serenades you down the river? Which one is loving you right now?
This is juicy, and it's not all that bitter, but I have no idea how hazy it is, it's been a minute since I've had it. I figure it's not one of these newfangled hazy IPAs and it's not a West Coast 2.0 IPA either, because it's just not that big. It's not as big as even Cigar City Jai Alai. That's fine! That makes this beer from Athens worth seeking out. It's a little more available these days, but repeat after me, that doesn't make it any worse. Get comfortable with this creature.
Cellarmaker and Modern Times
Clear & Present Dankness IPA
Fine, you probably won't find this guy since it came in such a limited release, and it's even unclear how hazy or dank the thing is. It almost reads like a slightly hazy West Coast IPA 2.0, all fruity and big. The point of putting this on the list is two-fold. 1) It'll be in my boat, thank you very much (my beer man loves me). 2) Get anything that Modern Times is making these days. So much of it is in cans, like Fortunate Islands if you want something more substantive, or their recent release Oneida if you'd rather have something sessionable. Blazing World if you're all about that fruity red big IPA and don't have anything to do later.
Most Hefeweizens are too yeasty and sweet for me. Thick, even. But Austin's Live Oak has brewed a beer that is at least not too yeasty. Sure it's pretty sweet, but the yeast they uses has notes of clove to balance the banana you'll find in the style. That, and some hops, crisp it up and keep it honest. You may want to balance your Hefeweizen with a sixer of something like Stone Ripper, a session beer that's hoppy and cleaner, but these cans will give the middle of your drift a little heft without being cloying. And drifting down the river has some thinking to it, it's not all just a nap with your eyes open.
Bonus Beer: Crux Fermentation Project
Half Hitch DIPA
Again, you can go with their lighter beers, like their Session Off Leash or their Pilz, but Half Hitch is the one you'd like to really have for the last mile on the river. A great Mosaic beer that has no trace of that cat piss or vegetable thickness that sometimes comes with Mosaic hops, Half Hitch is instead all guava mango and tropical goodness. Maybe it's the floral notes that keep it from going in the wrong direction. In any case, this beer is one of the best I've had from the Northwest, and since it's always a little cooler up there, it makes sense that it's 9.5% alcohol by volume. Hey, there's the finish line, pull up anchor and make sure you're the last boat off the river, they won't mind, I promise.