Making Fourth of July Fun and Safe

Frank Komola retired in 2012 following a 23 year career at UPS. He belongs to the retirees chapter of Local 25, International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Boston. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Haverhill.

Frank Komola retired in 2012 following a 23 year career at UPS. He belongs to the retirees chapter of Local 25, International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Boston. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Haverhill.

So far, this spring and summer there has been a nice balance of sun and rain, warm and mild temperatures and a decent amount of time in the interim between rain storms to get the lawn cut, without having to call in a herd of goats to remove what would choke a lawnmower.

The weather has been perfect for grilling, and after having Peter Carbone on The Open Mike Show recently, I’ve not only decided to up my game, but will be picking up a copy of the grilling book he received for his recent membership. I can only do so much without directions when grilling, so I’m looking forward to discovering new ways to pursue one of my favorite pastimes.

Grilling wouldn’t be quite the same without a beverage nearby. My hard liquor choice is vodka, and I always opt for an American distiller to fulfill that beverage ingredient. A sign of an informed bartender is one who knows which, if any, vodkas produced in America are in front of the mirror or in the bar back. Without naming names, a current popular vodka found in most restaurants is not my first choice.

Another great option that is positioned on the table next to the grille as I cook is a nice, cold beer. The quality of the beer matters more to me than the vessel it comes in at the package store—though many seem to feel that a bottle is better than out of a can, and vice versa. For me, the beer I drink needs to be an IPA. Microbreweries are at the top of my list for sources, and those in New England get a closer look and will usually win out over anything beyond the borders of these six states.

A sampler of various beers at microbreweries is a must, particularly on my first visit. Some tough decisions present themselves in these circumstances, but that’s always a great problem to have. Great appetizers always seem to help with these decision-making dilemmas. If only all problems were like choosing a beer from samples.

The Fourth of July is upon us. My wife, Lisa, and I will be traveling an hour or so to our nephew’s house to celebrate the holiday. While our nephew has a particular favorite that will make its way to his home this weekend, I’ve decided to take along a few single cans of various IPAs for everyone to sample. Being a judge in such a thing is very rewarding, particularly if there are several elimination rounds before crowning a winning IPA.

Have a great holiday, be sure to get a volunteer as a designated driver, be safe, and enjoy one of the best holidays of the year! That’s my goal, I hope you’ll make it yours!

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