Wednesday, September 28, 2005
The Official End of Summer
Although the calendar says that autumn began last week, that really makes it autumn in name only. Just like the first day of spring never yields immediate pleasant weather around here, the first day of fall never launches into immediate frost and color changes.
But last night, sitting at the bar at the Belmont after having worked out, I saw the true herald of fall. It's a moment that makes you want to bundle up; a sharp reminder that the nights of sleeping by an open window are ending. Yesterday, summer officially ended. Yesterday, the Belmont ran out of Bell's Oberon.
Around here, Bell's Oberon is the official beer of summer. When I lived in Kalamazoo, home of Oberon, the day the first kegs were tapped was like a municipal holiday. When April arrived, and it was time for Oberon, we would take the day off from work, go to the brewery, and take part in the festivities. There would be music and laughter, and friends saying hello and congratulating one another for having survived another frigid Kalamazoo winter.
Back in Kalamazoo, and here in Detroit, pints of Oberon (with an orange slice, never with lemon!) are consumed with abandon all summer. It's the attitude that, in Michigan, we should be merry and enjoy the weather while it's here. There's no way of knowing how long it will last, so don't waste it. That's true of both the weather and the beer.
Last night, Walt ordered a pint of Oberon. Mickey went to pour it. The pint was half full when, with a pop and a hiss and a lot of foam, summer ended. There were no more kegs of Bell's Oberon in the Belmont.
Goodbye Oberon. I'll see you next April.
Fortunately we have Bell's Winter White Ale to get us through the long winter nights.