In 1984, as a kid growing up in the suburbs, the beginning of summer meant playing sports with friends, swimming in the town pool and going to baseball games with my dad. Summer was also synonymous with many family gatherings at our house. Almost every weekend we'd have family and friends over to grill and sit outside on our deck and enjoy the warm summer evenings. I can remember my brother and I having to go to bed long before the last guests left our house. Fast forward about twenty-five years and we still have those wonderful family gatherings that I relished when I was younger. Only now they are at my house and there is a new generation of young ones running around. A few weeks ago we had some family and friends over for dinner and I decided to buy some Widmer Hefeweizen. I've had this beer many times before and really enjoy it especially when it is hot outside. The story behind this brewery started by brothers Rob and Kurt Widmer twenty-five years ago in Portland, Oregon left me nostalgic - thinking back on those summer shin-digs we had when I was growing up. In 1984, Kurt and Rob, who were in their twenties, realized their dream of brewing American interpretations of authentic European-style beers. A couple years later, one of their customer accounts begged them for a 3rd beer offering. At the time the brothers only had two tanks in their brew house, so rather than disappoint the account they decided to keg their Weizen beer directly from the tank, leaving the beer completely unfiltered. The name Hefeweizen comes from the German word "Hefe" for yeast and "Weizen" meaning wheat. Hefeweizen is an unfiltered wheat beer containing yeast sediment, which contributes to the cloudy appearance. Widmer Hefeweizen has an amazing citrus and floral aroma, complex flavor and crisp refreshing finish. I like to serve it with a slice of fresh lemon to bring out the natural citrus notes. Not only is this wheat beer a perfect refresher for the dog days of summer, but it pairs really well with a wide variety of summer fare: complex salads, grilled seafood and even spicy Asian and Indian cuisine. Nowadays, the beginning of summer is still synonymous with the major league baseball pennant race, cooling off in the pool, and many fun-filled afternoons with family. And it is also synonymous with ice cold Hefeweizen in my fridge.