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Longtime Summit Supporter Jeremy Noble Tells Us About His Favorite Beer: Summit Winter Ale

A Beer In The Belly Is Worth Two In The Fridge

Photo courtesy Jeremy Noble, circa 2006

When Summit Brewing Co. announced plans to retire Winter Ale last year, many of you emailed us angry letters and called us up to yell mean swears. And rightfully so.

When we announced a few weeks ago, however, that you’d changed our minds and Winter Ale would survive, many of you re-emerged sans pitchforks to email happy letters and yell kind swears on the phone. It was pretty neat.

One of our favorite letters praising the return of our Winter Ale came via the Facebook comments section from longtime Summit Supporter Jeremy Noble.

The author and his winning essay.

Background: When Summit celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2006, we teamed up with The Onion* to host an essay contest, the prompt being: What’s Your Favorite Summit Beer? Jeremy entered that contest, submitting and winning with an essay about our Winter Ale.

We’d like to share Jeremy’s winning essay with you here, unedited, so we’re going to let him have the floor now.

“When I moved to Minnesota from Seattle, my greatest concern was the important task of finding a good beer. Like a lot of folks from the left coast, I thought nothing Midwestern could compare to my favorite beers back home. Luckily, I was wrong, and discovered Summit.

A few months later, winter rolled in, and I embarked on a fruitless search for a particular Seattle winter ale I was missing terribly. A kindly beer proprietor turned me on to Summit’s winter ale, and I was pleasantly surprised. It reminded me of other times I’d spent a chilly evening with a crisp, lively beer and friendly conversation. I took to drinking the Summit winter ale while listening to Mischke on the radio, having a great time.

Of course, before long, the snow melted and the grass turned that unearthly shade of green, and Summit winter ale faded silently away. I was sad enough about it, but soon forgot. The rest of the year was a blur, filled with more Midwestern initiations and plenty of decent Summer beers.  

The next winter, I rediscovered the winter ale at the liquor store. I had nearly forgotten about it. But the memories all came flooding back to me. I grabbed a 12 pack and flit up to the register, singing to myself ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year… My new favorite beer is here…’ Getting that beer home was like coming back home after being lost on a desert island for a decade. Never before was it so easy to live up to the old saying ‘A beer in the belly is worth two in the fridge.’

About a month later, my girlfriend was finishing her last class at the University of Minnesota before graduating. I met her after her final that evening, and I brought two bottles of winter ale in my bag. We snuck into an empty lecture hall and sat at the back of the enormous room, drinking my favorite beer in celebration. It was a perfect place, at the perfect time to drink the perfect beer. I am downright proud to live in the same city as the headquarters of Summit Brewing, and still wait impatiently for winter to roll around.”

Now, doesn’t that make you thirsty? And happy to live here in the great white north?

Loyal fans and drinkers like Jeremy have made Summit Winter Ale’s return possible and necessary, and more importantly, you all have helped Summit grow and share great beer with our friends, families, and neighbors for over 32 years. We’d like to thank you for your support, your feedback, and your unquenchable thirst, and we hope you stick with us through this winter and many more to come.

Summit Brewing Co.

P.S. Coincidentally, Summit Brewing Co. is a proud sponsor of The Mischke Roadshow, which you can stream online here.

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated City Pages hosted the essay competition and published the winning essay, but it was The Onion. We regret the error.

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