Archive for February 15th, 2023

It’s not always bad news…

Reason #10- Craft Beer

They used to call me a wine snob, but I didn’t think of myself that way.  There weren’t many wines I wouldn’t drink, only the sweetest whites or dessert wines.  I had spent considerable time in wine country, both in Washington State and New York State, and I picked up a few things, right?  I never liked beer and it even took a while for me to acquire a taste for wine.

Back in my karaoke days, I became aware of how blood alcohol content testing can affect someone’s life.  I was naturally reticent to drink more than two glasses of wine in an evening before driving home, and shots of any hard alcohol were out of the question.  But I was still thirsty and was forced to drink water to finish out the night.  Water was not great for vocal cords, at least not mine, and wasn’t exactly tasty.

I began playing in traveling pool leagues where the beer was always flowing in whatever bar we were playing.  Wine, not so much.  I still had the issue of driving after drinking wine anyway, so I made the decision to try to attain a taste of beer, at least enough to drink with friends.  I planned my assault on the project, deciding to start with apple ales, then graduate to light beer with lime before tasting a wider variety.  The first couple of apple ales tasted good but were far too sweet and I quickly jumped to light beer, first with lime, then without.  After a few weeks of Bud Light, I was unsure how to widen my horizon.  Enter craft breweries.

I don’t remember which microbrewery I tried but I tasted a few brews with mixed success.  One weekend I was camping with our RV group in Colorado and my brother had joined us.  Paul has always enjoyed beer and was happy to join me in a local brewery for samples.  I obviously knew about flights of wines but had been unaware that beers could be ordered that way as well, at least at larger brewpubs and at breweries themselves.  I tasted my first flight and began my beer adventures, determining what kind of beers I enjoy and which I dislike.

Just like with wine, where a novice may begin with a sweeter white wine like a Riesling and over time their tastes change, I found this to be the case with beer as well.  I immediately disliked IPAs with their hoppy taste and any ales with citrus taste, especially sour.

Congregating to drink beer can be beneficial to one’s life, according to Time Magazine.  “A recent study … found that having a regular watering hole helps improve social skills, which increases overall life satisfaction.  According to the study, people who patronized a local or community-type pub or bar had a wider support system of close friends, which also meant that they were more trusting of others and more engaged with the community than those who did not support a local bar.”

Here’s a quick rundown on the various beer styles:  Pale Lager and Pilsner, Dark Lager, German Bock, Brown Ale, Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Belgian-Style Ale, Wheat Beer, Porter, Stout, Wild & Sour Ale and Specialty Beer.  Within each are sub-categories, and unconventional or playful brewmeisters may mix styles or add their own unique signature and make a beer their own.  Thus, even experienced beer connoisseurs can find new and exciting brews in any of the 8,000+ micro-breweries in the U.S.  Even the big boys have joined the party, with major labels gobbling up many of the most popular craft breweries for their own lines.

I know many people who enjoy going into a large-volume liquor store or specialty beer outlet and spend afternoons mixing and matching cans, bottles, crawlers or growlers of the various makers of their favorite styles.  There are brewery snobs who will only purchase beer from a single micro-brewery.  I myself like to mix it up and will buy six-packs of different craft beers to take home.  But, for me, draft beer (“draught” for the purists) is so superior to canned or bottled beer that I make sports bars or breweries a destination whenever I can.  I am especially disappointed when I go out for dinner and the restaurant doesn’t have draft, or the only drafts they have are light beers. Sadly, the pandemic made having draft beers next to impossible.

After a few years of sampling and drinking beer, I find myself drawn to Dark Lagers, red and brown Ales, Belgium-style Ales, Bocks, dry Irish Stouts and, in a pinch, Blond Ales.  The one problem with traveling the country and visiting micro-breweries is that I will sometimes find a beer I love and can’t buy anywhere else.  That happened the last time we were in Maine, where I was drawn by a street full of bright red umbrellas at every restaurant, all with the same brewery’s name, and found myself at their walk-up bar. Their dark lager was the best I’ve ever had, even to this day, and haven’t found it anywhere outside of Maine.  I’m looking forward to my return!

So, long story short, I had an aversion beer, I taught myself to drink the beverage and now I love certain styles of beer, especially when made by craft breweries.  Like wine, there are so many varieties that one may never get bored having to stick to a certain style.  In this way, beer can do many things to make someone happy.  And, I only consumed 17.3 oz. of the stuff while writing this…


I’ll leave this discussion with a very astute quote from American author W. Bruce Cameron, who wrote, “I’ve read that the ancient Chinese art of feng shui can bring a sense of peace, well-being, and positive energy to a home – same as beer.

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