Summer is on its last legs so we are all hanging out in each other’s backyards enjoying our various pools and barbecue facilities. Recently, I went to a company picnic to celebrate the beginning of the new calendar year and I was chosen to bring the beer. After all, I did ask what I could contribute. I don’t bake cookies, pies, or cakes, so that was out of the question. I am a novice when it comes to beer. I have more knowledge of wine. I wanted it to be ice cold when I arrived since it was going to be a scorcher. My fridge isn’t the best, so I stashed the beer in my cooler between solid layers of ice. I knew it would be perfect the next day when it thawed out a little.
Upon arrival, I set the beer down next to a huge tub of ice. Bottled soft drinks were already peeking out spritely with their little metal caps. I thought, why not put the beer in there, too. I didn’t know that the beer didn’t need to be any colder. It was, unbeknownst to me, quite frozen. And I mean solid! I found out when a guest grabbed one and popped it open. He let out a huge belly laugh. “Who froze the beer?” I ducked behind the chaise lounge and immediately looked for the nearest exit. Major goof! Major embarrassment.
Who knew (not me) that beer should be frosty cold but not frozen. It doesn’t get its consistency back when it melts like lemonade or punch. Once beer is frozen, if it isn’t left to correctly and slowly thaw out it goes flat. It has no taste appeal. I now know this from my own observation. I ruined a very good case of beer and had to run to the store to get some mighty fast. Guests were expecting it as it was the perfect accompaniment to the burgers and dogs. When I returned, I asked a friend to carry the new beer to the backyard so I wouldn’t be seen.
I started to get hungry so I had to make an appearance if I didn’t want to starve. Everyone was busy eating and didn’t notice me at all. I was in the clear. I swam, chatted with friends, played cards, chased the family cat, and generally had a really good time. I was drinking soda, my preference on a hot day, and didn’t really feel like a beer. After a while, I turned to the peanuts and pretzels strategically placed in large bowls and got mighty thirsty from all the salt. I headed to the beer. There still were a few cans begging to be imbibed. I reached out with a claw-like hand, ready to grab the closest one. Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Don’t you want a frozen one,” the smug guest mocked. It was the same guy I had met earlier when I had just loaded the ice tub. I turned crimson.