TAP Beer of the Day: Bell’s Oberon Ale

by Tom Bedell

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Dinner this evening took us right to the beach, which only makes sense when visiting Fort Myers/Sanibel. About 2.5 million visitors make their way here each year, and most are coming because of the 50 miles of white sand beaches that run up the Gulf coast.

What sets these beaches apart is the some 400 species of shells that can be found, picked up and collected, although there is a live shell ordinance prohibiting the taking of any live organisms.

Emily Van Dam, the outdoor hostess at The Cottage

Emily Van Dam, the outdoor hostess at The Cottage

The Gulfshore Grill seemed like the perfect perch to overlook the beach doings as the day faded away and yet another sparkling sunset took over. The Grill is actually three spots in one—the indoor Grill, outside dining at The Cottage, and a stand-alone bar to sit at, the Cottage Beach Bar.

Cottage wear

Cottage wear

Our cicerone for the trip, Lee Rose of the Lee County VCB, said we should keep our eyes open for a green flash, an optical phenomena that occasionally occurs right at sunset or sunrise. He’d seen one once, he said, although it’s pretty rare.

But shrimp is ubiquitous, and I managed to keep my shrimp-for-dinner streak alive with an eclectic three-way platter of coconut encrusted shrimp, honey-dipped shrimp, and BBQ bacon-wrapped shrimp. (Bubba Blue was smiling somewhere.) Had I been fully aware of the alligator antics to come later I might have succumbed to the gator on the menu that evening, but so it goes.

The star of the show may well have been the signature house dessert, Banana Monkey Bread, a bread pudding coated with warm and succulent Bananas Foster sauce.

But the beer list was not geared to beer geeks like me. While the rest of the Warriors were diving into exotic cocktails, I was hoping to find something from the Green Flash Brewing Co. of San Diego. No such luck. Though there were scores of brews listed the range went all the way from A to B. Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada were as daring as it got, so I opted for the latter and seized on an Oberon Ale when we returned to the Hyatt.

OberonIt was a good move. Oberon, the character, is the king of the fairies in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and we weren’t too far removed from Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, after all. (Go here for proof that Shakespeare played golf.)

And Oberon, the ale, is a near-classic American wheat beer made by Bell’s Brewery out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. (I graduated from Kalamazoo College many eons ago, regretfully before Bell’s had established itself as one of the country’s finest microbreweries.)

Oberon is a herald of warmer days to come, appearing in March and remaining on the market for half the year. It’s a hazy, orangey ale that is brimming with refreshment. It has a distant citric—yes, orangey—tang to it, a pleasing grainy character and a suitable bite from the noble hops used.

I last ran into it on another Golf Road Warriors trip, that one to Gaylord, Michigan. (Videographer David Whyte was on that trip as well, and we did a bit of a beer thing video.) But it does seem to be ideally suited to the warm and sunny weather we’ve enjoyed here so far in southwest Florida.

While hanging out in the Hyatt’s Mangroves bar I ran into a contingent from the Waldinger Corporation of Des Moines, Iowa, down for a company gathering. The group included Jeremy Ries, who had been in a threesome that we let play through our group today out at Raptor Bay.

Jeremy attested to the potential ball-gobbling aspect of the course when he noted that one member of his group had lost 30 golf balls during the round! I did the math—that was two boxes and two sleeves—took a long last sip of Oberon Ale and went to sleep on that for the night.

Name: Oberon Ale
Brewer: Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Style: American Wheat Ale
ABV: 5.8%
For More Information:www.bellsbeer.com

Mangroves Bar at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa

Mangroves Bar at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa

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