When camping on cloudless, moonless nights, it is hard not to look up and admire the vast, dark, star-stippled sky. My eyes are always drawn to the Big Dipper, and I fruitlessly try to find the Little Dipper (I can never remember where it is). I search for the little red dot that is Mars and scan for the outline of the Milky Way, which is usually drowned out by light from nearby cities. Regarding the infinite space above puts me at ease, calming my work and deadline-weary nerves, and it’s something I plan to do many times this summer.
The beer of the month, Beyond the Pale IPA brewed by the Stevens Point Brewery of Stevens Point, Wisc., not only pays homage to celestial beauty by including a dose of Galaxy hops and printing the night sky on its label, it is also a tasty brew to sip while unwinding under the stars.
Pour Beyond the Pale into a favorite pint glass. The beer’s color is deep gold with a light copper tone. Two fingers of dense, eggshell-colored foam will develop and dissipate slowly and evenly, leaving trails of lace on the side of the glass. A burst of ripe, freshly cut citrus and tropical fruit greets the nose. Scents of pineapple, mango, kiwi and cara cara orange complement and work in tandem with a pleasant floral hop quality. A little pine is present as well.
The flavor is a tasty balance that mostly mirrors the aroma: pale malts, caramel, floral hops, pineapple, mango, kiwi, tangerine, a touch of grapefruit, pine and a little zest. The floral hop aroma led me to believe the beer would be a bitter pill, but it is not; instead, its 64 IBUs offers a pleasant bite. According to the brewery, Galaxy hops impart notes of passion fruit, which I am unfamiliar with and could not discern, but that does not mean they’re not there—I am sure they are.
- Serving temperature: Serving temperature: 45–50ºF.
- Alcohol content: 5.5 percent ABV.
- Food pairings: Spicy cuisine, such as Thai or Indian. The New Pioneer Food Co-op’s curried tofu is a campsite favorite of mine, and it would pair well with Beyond the Pale.
- Where to buy: Beyond the Pale is available at most major beer retailers.
- Price: $5–$6 per six-pack of bottles, $13 per 12-pack of cans.