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Column: Beating the summer heat with a cold one

By Hank Shelley

Ambling down that country road a few years back, many of us with silver in our hair, enjoyed good ol’ country music. Especially if you were from a farm or ranch.

It was a natural fit. Why, there was Roy Acuff, Porter Wagner, Ray Price, Ronnie Milsap. Two of my favorite country artists are Ricky Skaggs and Tom T. Hall. Skaggs will be here for Roots and Blues.

Tom’s Watermelon Wine and I Like Beer were instant hits.

“Champagne costs too much, whiskey’s too rough, and vodka puts my mouth in gear. So this little refrain, will help me explain. As a matter of fact I like beer!”

And yes, with this hot, dry weather, there has definitely been a good run on beer at the government outlets, brew pubs and cold beer and wine stores.

Over time and, of course, with amalgamation and government regulation, breweries got much larger, producing more brands.

Tradition and location plays a large part in the type of brew one enjoys, as on Vancouver Island, Lucky was for the loggers, fishermen, miners and many households.

While salmon fishing out of Tahsis a few seasons back, it wasn’t uncommon to have line-up of people waiting to pick up an eight-pack of Lucky for the evening get together!

Going back to the 1970s, beer-making brew kits were the rage, and could be picked up at any large grocery store. About the same time, U-brew shops appeared, and it made it much easier to have a good batch of beer made.

Recently, I visited a government outlet and sidled into the back to do a tally of the types and varieties of beer a person can choose from.

From the racks and stacks of beers on display, it almost boggles the mind. It’s almost difficult to choose a type or kind of beer to suit the palate from the large stack of brews available, other than the die hard beer drinkers who stick to their traditional Blue, Budweiser, Sleemans or Canadian.

On speaking to one of the cashiers, I asked what the average working man likes. She advised Old Milwaukee, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Old Style Pilsner and Lucky.

Many old-timers were very upset when they took the pretty girls off the cans of Old Milwaukee, and e-mailed the brewery 15 times to complain.

Business guys and gals prefer possibly better brewed-beers such as Budweiser, Sleemans, Canadian or Blue. Many folks too, also go for the light beers.

Many small craft breweries in the past tried for a niche market, hoping to expand if sales were good. Today you will find Hell’s Gate, and other smaller breweries still in the market, selling product at a lower price. Two that caught my eye, while there were Rolling Rock and Sneaky Weasel. Many other German or Dutch beers are now in the market.

Locally, to support our micro breweries we have Tree Brewing from Kelowna, Mt. Begbie in Revelstoke, Crannog Ales in Sorrento, the Barley Station in Salmon Arm and other brew houses near by.

Anyway you enjoy it, there’s nothing finer, than enjoying a nice cool can, bottle or chilled glass of beer.