Now the smoke has cleared and the bangs and cracks of latent patriotism have diminished to the occasional distant report, it’s time to take stock. It’s the day after the fourth day of July and the “red glare” and “bursting” is less likely to come from rockets than a small pounding place behind your eyes—as if Uncle Sam were suffering some kind of seizure in your brain and his heavy boots were pounding uncontrollably and mercilessly on the inside of your skull.

For me, it begs the question: how does one medicate the morning after a craft beer binge? Normally I’d head straight for the closest Bloody Mary emporium, but the self imposed rules of my Oregon craft beer month state that no other adult beverage shall pass my lips for the duration of the month. Bummer. This is obviously a situation that I’ll need to resolve. Had I enough sense, I would have saved one of the Caldera Ashland Amber cans to mix with a bit of V8 and a dash of Tabasco. But in my nationalistic fervor I seem to have consumed the entire six-pack, leaving me with few options (see yesterday’s beer list for more insight).

No matter. Here are a few notes from my fourth day:

Obviously, I’m happy with Caldera’s amber. I did take time to savor the first can on my shady patio, as I munched happily on a Hebrew National hot-dog with the works. The Ashland Amber seems like a very straightforward beer. It’s complex enough with its mild hoppy bite to keep you aware that your drinking craft, but not so intrusive as to be distracting. How can I put it? Let’s say your average corporate beer is like the constant background noise that you largely disregard at a party. It’s there, occasionally you notice it, but mostly you don’t. Caldera’s Amber is like an innocuous mix CD that someone has brought to the party with about 20 tracks of safe upbeat tunes. Suddenly the party is a bit brighter, and occasionally you find yourself tapping your toe to the beat or singing a few words of the chorus.

Anyway, I drank that entire mix CD. It was good. Another thing I enjoyed about the Ashland Amber was the fact that it was in a can. That made it highly portable and perfect for the trek to Mt. Tabor where I watched the city’s fireworks freak-out. Another wonderful thing about a can is that it practically begs for a koozie (cozy? coosy?), and nothing says America like a blue foam Lake Lucerne koozie with the eighties style rendering of a sailboat beneath the circle of sun. Plus it matched my outfit, so there’s also that.

All in all, the Caldera fueled a wonderful night filled with light, smoke, some thought of my country, and good beer.

If you’re drinking along with me, I’d love to get your take on Caldera’s Ashland Amber. Also, what’s your hair of the dog after a beer binge?