If I close my eyes, I can still see the long wooden sign tucked up against the glass display case in a knickknack shop on the main drag of my old college town. Inscribed on it is a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." They might be taken out of context, but they are words to drink by.
A friend bought me the sign as a gift. I bought my friend a beer as a thank you. At some point, I realized sharing the suds that made Franklin so happy is the best way to enjoy 'em. Patio beers after work, parking-lot beers after a bike ride, couch beers on a lazy Sunday—in all of those situations, the brews are more enjoyable when shared.
The people at Left Hand Brewing Company get it. They don't just love beer. They love brewing beer. Together. And they sometimes share the brewing process with their friends at the Terrapin Beer Co. in Athens, Georgia, in a collaboration called the Midnight Project series.
The breweries first paired up in Longmont two years ago, and last year it was in Athens. They came back to Longmont this year to brew Oxymoron ale, what they call a "Teutonic India pale lager." Translation: It's an American-style IPA brewed with German malts and hops and fermented with a lager yeast. This 7.2 percent alcohol brew is as bitter as a Sierra Nevada and as crisp as that summer wheat beer you put a lemon in.
Ben Franklin would have loved it.