Its tough to top the satisfaction that comes from do-it-yourself projects building bookshelves, cultivating your own cooking herbs, making soap. Short of the hassle of brewing beer in your basement, however, there isnt much in the suds department that you can take credit for doing yourself.
That said, my interest was piqued when I heard about Koggen, the latest brew to bubble out of the Boston Beer Co., brewers of Samuel Adams. In the Boston restaurants and pubs where its exclusively served the unfiltered, Dutch-style wheat ale is big on body and heavy on spices like coriander and orange zest, and each pint is delivered with a plastic muddler and a slice of lemon or orange. The muddler, a gizmo that also has Dutch origins, allows you to control the flavor profile of your drink. Mash up the center of the fruit, and the pint is infused with a citrusy zing. Work the rind, and you release the fruits aromas and bitter oils.
Koggen is named for the oak spice ships that left Holland in the late middle ages and sailed down the western coast of Africa on trade expeditions. Granted, there are few exotic cues to evoke the Old World mystique that inspired the beer at Porters Bar and Grill (173 Portland St., Boston. 617-742-7678), a sports bar in the Bulfinch Triangle that serves Koggen with a lemon wedge ($4.25), or at Harvard Gardens (316 Cambridge St., Boston. 617-523-2727), the Beacon Hill standby, where the beer is delivered with an orange slice ($4.50). So just use your imagination wield your muddler, take a sip, close your eyes, and dream of Holland.