Oh, these summer nights

July came in with a bang ... lots and lots of very loud bangs that involved raining flames from the sky. I hate fireworks. A lot. But I love the 4th of July and the sweet summer nights that July can bring. We've had a lot of delightful ones lately and though I've neglected to take pictures, share the meals, and divulge all the delicious details of the last week or so, just know that they have all been sweet. And special. On Friday night, we had our second beer tasting of the summer: "Beer Pressure" ... hahahaha, get it? Like peer pressure? But with beer? LOVE IT. (Thanks, Evite!)

Here's how it works: we make dinner, invite a bunch of people over, everyone brings a 6-pack, and we use 1-2 of the beers from each pack for a blind tasting. Last week, we had tostadas (mmmmmmmm....with a beef that simmered all day with jalapenos, onions, garlic, fire-roasted tomatoes and Dos Perros ... epically good) and summer ales, not to mention the peach pie (with oatmeal crust) and buttermilk ice cream (so tangy and tasty!) for dessert. It was a lot of cooking, but so so worth it. We had 12 for dinner, 10 beers, 8 tasters, and 2 pourers. All around our dining room table!

We tasted these 10 beers:

Beer tastings are a lot of fun, especially since the boys have been brewing their own. I love their enthusiasm (read: theythinktheyknoweverything) and passion for beer, and it's certainly turned us all into beer snobs.

Or so we thought.

The results were ... surprising? Sure explanations abounded when a light American-style lager (triple-hops brewed with a vortex, anyone?) came in second, but we all knew the truth. We didn't hate the Miller Light. Thankfully, it didn't win first place or there's no way the boys could have slept that night.

So in order from 10th to 1st, the rankings were:

10: Yazoo Summer Ale - This was surprising to all of us, because we are huge Yazoo fans ... but for some reason it just didn't work. We all agreed to try it again in case it was a funky batch.

9. Sam Adams Summer - This is one of my favorite summer beers. It's so easy to drink! So many of us expected it to do well, that we asked a latecomer to bring it because no one did (expecting everyone else to have brought it). Didn't stack up so well, though. It's still a favorite for all of us though!

8. Sierra Nevada Summerfest - Daniel and I (the pourers) could not stop laughing at everyone's reactions to this one ... because they all were convinced it was the Miller Lite. Oh, how wrong they were ...

7. Blackstone Summer - A decent brew. Two of my absolute all-time favorite beers are from Blackstone: the St. Charles Porter and the Nut Brown, so my expectations were high!

6. Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat - Though everyone's instant reaction upon tasting this beer was "Fruity Pebbles!" it somehow ranked 6th ... strange. I definitely didn't love it.

5. Leinenkugel Summer Shandy - Leinenkugel's attempt at the classic summertime mixed drink: pale ale and lemonade. Tastier than I expected and certainly perfect for pool time.

4. Miller High Life - The champagne of beers. We were all a bit mortified it ranked so high!

3. Widmer Drifter - This was my first encounter with Widmer, a brewery out of Portland that we think just started being distributed here in Middle TN. It was so good! We saw some more of their beers tonight at Publix and I'm anxious to try more.

2. Miller Lite - It was brought as a joke, and sent us all home ashamed. Especially because it tied with #1 and we had to have a drink-off, and because it was enjoyed by almost everyone at the table. From convincing statements that it was "definitely the Sierra Nevada," to questions around the pleasant aftertaste, we were in "like". Not quite in love, but you know ... you'd definitely date it, but wouldn't marry it.

1. Brooklyn Summer - The clear winner. Absolutely delicious! We all loved it.

All-in-all a lovely summer night, with lovely people and lots of beer. Oh, these are the sweet things that summer nights are made of. If only it wasn't so hot and humid, I'd want summer to last forever.