Summer is winding down in many parts of the US, but that doesn't mean a crisp, refreshing beer isn't on our minds. Mint and cucumber are both regularly associated with refreshment, but rarely are they associated with beer. R & B Brewing Company out of Vancouver, Canada decided to take on this refreshment challenge, and have exceeded our expectations, and enlivened our palates as well. Birra Fresca Cucumber Mint IPA ($8) uses over 200 cucumbers that were sourced locally along with their mint. It's a fresh, clean, IPA to sip on in a comfortable chair as you wave farewell to summer.
When you travel the world, the thing most people associate with the great state of Kentucky is, you guessed it, fried chicken. Against The Grain Brewery is based in Louisville, so they know a thing or two about that reputation and have brewed a more than interesting tribute called Kentucky Ryed Chiquen ($12). This unique offering was brewed with rye malt and caramel rye from Germany, and was later placed in Redemption Rye barrels where it aged, soaking up just enough rye whiskey flavors. But don't worry, you won't taste chicken when you drink it, just a smooth barrel aged beer that even Colonel Sanders might have enjoyed, chicken feathers and all (which just happen to come stuck to every bottle).
If you haven't heard of the upstart craft brewery based in Oklahoma called Prairie Artisan Ales, it's about time you became familiar. Prairie has some of the better Farmhouse / Saisons on the market already, and now they've dipped their toes into the Imperial Stout pool. Prairie Bomb! ($8) is a 14% Imperial Stout aged on coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and chili peppers. It's a rich, luscious experience with a faint chili pepper kick on the tail end. This one is as good as it sounds, so you might want to get out in front of stout season and pick up some Prairie Bomb! before it's gone.