Life » What Ales me

Beach beer


Ah, the feelings of summer. The smell of barbecue wafting through the air, the sound of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” blaring through a worn stereo, the sensation of warm sand between your toes, and for Irondequoit natives like myself, the taste of Marge’s Lakeside Inn’s Rum Runner.

More a season-long beach party than a straightforward bar, Marge’s has been a key feature of the Seabreeze community since 1960, with a particular emphasis on frozen cocktails.

“I don’t even know how many years ago it was now, but we went down to New Orleans and had tried these frozen drinks, and these weren’t foo-foo drinks, these were kickass,” says Marge’s owner Francine Beth. “You’d feel them before you got fat.”

Marge’s follows the classic Rum Runner formula of pineapple and orange juice, rum, sour mix, and banana and blackberry liqueur. Beth stands by Marge’s take on that classic as the best version she’s ever had.

“There’s just no other out there like it,” she says.

In honor of Marge’s 60th birthday this year, the classic frozen drink is getting beerified through a collaboration with Three Heads Brewing.

Beth approached local beer distributor Lake Beverage about doing something special for Marge’s anniversary, and the company hooked her up with its client Three Heads for a custom beer.

Three Heads’ beer version of the Rum Runner, dubbed Tiki Blonde Ale, features a 5.3 percent simple, Magnum-hopped wheat ale base with copious additions of orange, pineapple, banana, guava, blackberries, and lime.

“When we were first deciding to do this we started thinking, ‘Okay, do we make a special IPA? What should we make?’” says Three Heads co-owner Dan Nothnagle. “We landed on making a beerish version of one of their frozen drinks.”

“Beerish” is a good word, given the “ridiculous” amount of fruit Nothnagle says went into the brew.

“It’s hard to know the poundage, but I know we used about 10 five-gallon drums of concentrate, and a drum of guava puree,” he says.

Three Heads is brewing 60 barrels of Tiki Blonde, a portion of which is heading into barrels with a new pitch of funky microbial friends. Beth is pleased with an early tasting of the ale.

“You know, I don’t really like beer, but I like this beer,” she says.

Tiki Blonde will be available at Three Heads and Marge’s beginning Wednesday, May 20, with further distribution to Wegmans and other stores planned for the future.

Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. Feedback on this article can be directed to Rebecca Rafferty, CITY's arts & entertainment editor, at [email protected].