Lakewood's Till and Toil Is Like Chewing Hoppy Juicy Fruit

According to the calendar it's summer time, and soon the celestial bodies will agree. The shelves at your favorite beer-buying store have followed suit, spilling over with light-drinking citrusy things. If only the weather would play along.

Lucky for you, Lakewood Brewing has figured out how to bottle up sunshine, and they're selling it at most grocery stores for just $9.99 a six pack. I picked up my own, since saisons are all the rage this time of year, and proceeded to turn my living room into a very small beach party.

I pried the top off a bottle and it filled my mason jar with the rich color of honey. It was slightly hazy, like those hot summer days I find myself missing, and the beer had a thick head that slowly receded to a thin cap of foam at the bottom on my glass. Based on looks alone, I would think we'd have a keeper. But the scent was good, too. It was yeasty, with citrus, and if I had to reach for a fault I'd say I wish it had a little more of that barnyard funk to it.

But enough about aesthetics. Nobody ever reviewed a beer by admiring it from across the room, so let's pick up the pitchforks and get to work. Till and Toil shovels some big hoppy flavors that balance both bitter and floral. I found myself hunting for that citrus I caught on the nose, but couldn't find it. I closed my eyes and imagined a crate full of oranges and took another sip. Nothing. 

It's not that I'm not working enough, but there's something else going on here. As I settled in with the beer I began to notice a thirst-quenching, acidic juiciness that mimicked no single fruit but all of them instead. The result was satisfying, though that could be the 7.1-percent ABV talking. I had a light lunch, and this beer forced me to set the tools of my labor down. My summer's starting whether the sun comes out or not, and I wouldn't mind at all if this beer was by my side till fall.

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Scott Reitz
Contact: Scott Reitz

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