The initial whiff of maltiness from Southern Pines’ Duck Hook Cream Ale was borderline shocking in terms of its old school dad-beer odor. That probably sounds worse than it is, because the smell was quasi nostalgic. Like that first beer you smelled, utterly lacking in citrus, rooted in malt and elegantly simple.

Honestly I don’t put this style of brew real high on my personal hierarchy of beer, but Southern Pines has a crisp, clean rendition here.

It’s light and refreshing and best of all features suggested food pairings on the back!

I was a day late on pairing this beer with sushi — the Siracha and jalapeño-covered tuna lovers roll from Mura was dinner the night before — but you can see how this would work really well with sushi and heat, in terms of keeping your pallete clean and, in the rare case of super hot sushi, effectively reducing the heat.

But seriously: I love this idea more than I can fully explain. Beer and wine pairings with food can be a bit overrated but it makes a difference when you appropriately match drinks with your dietary decisions.

Not going to throw this beer in any best summer beers just yet but the next time I’m building a six pack of cans to take poolside I’ll grab one if I see it.