Tapping Winter Fun at July-in-January Parties

There’s much to love about Ohio winters: glowing snow under a full moon; stoking up the fireplace and reading by the hearth; strolling through crystalline forests after an ice storm.

But by the middle of January, even an avid skier can use a break. Some take one by catching a plane; others by cranking up the heat, turning on some island tunes and hosting a Caribbean-themed shindig or perhaps a Hawaiian luau.

If we can celebrate Christmas in July, then it’s merely symmetrical to conjure up some July in January. Here are a few ideas for selecting beers that will fool your aloha-adorned guests into thinking ‘tis the season for light lagers and hefeweizens instead of porters and stouts.

For Jamaican-themed parties, put some Bob Marley on the Bose and chill some Red Stripe, a refreshing lager that’s made for jerked chicken and curried goat. For more generic island-themed celebrations, try frosted bottles of Piton, a favorite on St. Lucia, and serve with martini glasses of ceviche (fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices and spiced with chili peppers.) Stock up on Balashi for those who usually decamp to Aruba this time of year. It’s a true tropical pilsener – very dry, very light and slightly fizzy.

If arriving guests can’t shake winter’s grip, start them out with Ayinger’s Weizen-Bock, a Bavarian wheat ale that’s brewed with the heft of a bock. It starts out with fresh-baked wheatiness and finishes with tropical fruits, cloves and bananas. Serve it with spicy Mexican or Indian dishes.

Top off this fantasy trip with Lindemans Pomme, an apple lambic served over dulce de leche (caramel) ice cream – like a caramel apple float. It’s simple, tasty and a great finale to a summer’s eve in January.

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Our goal is to educate, in a reader-friendly fashion, and take the intimidation out of wine, beer and spirits in order to enhance its enjoyment.


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