When life gives you watermelons...
There's anticipation abound. The first official day of summer quickly approaches, and with that an annual reminder of what makes the season so magical. It’s that feeling like a summer fling, endless possibilities coupled with tender moments, and the bittersweet knowledge that time will constrict our idyllic fantasies come the close of the season. What's left are indulgent memories of a fleeting spell known as before.
At Cherry Street, the annual release of Summer Fling Watermelon Blonde Ale carries weight and levity much like the ephemeral days of summer. Watermelon scooping day and the impending release party are often days of joy, yet a labor of love, met with a dash of concern. There’s so much riding on the team getting this beer right, it’s one of the brewery's oldest recipes created by Nick, Cherry Street founder and brewmaster. Some may remember Summer Fling from the old homebrewing days, and others may have had their first pint with a special someone in a Cherry Street brewpub. One thing remains in common, everyone remembers their first Summer Fling.
From the moment the watermelons arrive at Cherry Street warehouse, lovingly delivered by watermelon broker Pat, the excitement in the air is palpable. The staff knows what’s coming, a three-location celebration of the best watermelons South Georgia has to offer. Product Developer, Nate, carefully inspects the watermelons and shows off the sweetest ones by finding those with the largest webbing. He'll transport the precious cargo from here, getting each watermelon to its final destination so it can be cut, scooped, and ultimately combined with the blonde ale.
Cutting, scoring, scooping, pouring. Rinse, repeat. This job is not for the faint of heart, but it is a crucial one, it's that of the brewers and volunteers on watermelon scooping day.
The unwieldy watermelons slither around on the table, the volunteers are gloved up and ready to slice. The melons take a little bath in some tubs of water and sanitizer, it’s like a mini version of the pool game Watermelon Ball- grab the melons and move them to the goal however possible. Only a couple brave fruit ninjas take on the dangerous task of slicing the watermelons in half. The melon halves are then scored and scooped, one by one with a team of watermelon wranglers filling buckets full of watermelon guts. Tools of all types are used to scoop, from portion spoons to perforated basting spoons, even an ice cream scoop made the cut for this important job, whatever could be found in the kitchen.
The smell of ripe watermelons wafts through the brewery, and a whopping 234 gallons of watermelon juice and pulp gets loaded into the tanks across three locations. We asked the brewers their favorite part of watermelon scooping day, their answers? Eating the fresh watermelon, letting their weary arms rest at the end, and most commonly, that it brings us together. It’s a special day when volunteers happily show up to share donuts and jokes and create something CSB fans, new and old, love.
The release party
Every year, Cherry Street at Vickery Village hosts an annual Summer Fling Release Party. It’s a day to taste the fruits of the brewers and volunteers’ labor, as well as celebrate the official start of summer. Watermelon lovers rejoice with pints of this beautiful blonde ale with sun-kissed South Georgia watermelons added. The party is part of Cherry Street Brewing custom, it’s the day everyone shows up to appreciate the good things in life- watermelons, summer, and good company. So when life gives you watermelons, have a Summer Fling.