Sunday, October 11, 2009
Sad to say, I am a beer snob. The worst kind. More on that in a minute.
I have skills, you know. I have been drinking beer since long before I was legally allowed to do so, like most of my contemporaries. Ah, the days of youth, where beer needed only to be cheap, plentiful, and...cheap. Good was not an option, mostly because I'd inevitably throw it up anyway. Back then I just liked the social aspect of going to the beach at midnight, drinking to excess, barfing, and waking up at home, it was like heaven. These days, not so much.
Still, Beer is Life, or so the traditional beer snob might tell you. I read something once that said the Mayflower, the very ship which brought those hearty but ocean-weary and sickened pilgrims from the old world to the new, thus participants in the very first angel-investment start up, did not stop upon arrival because land was nigh and the weather was fair; but rather they stopped because they were out of beer, and had to make for a good port where the ship was still so they could make more. I understand they didn't bother to even get off the boat except to gather firewood for the stoves and bury some dead people, which was probably kind of an inconvenience really. Years later they'd land and cheerfully kill everyone they saw, but I think that was a different batch of explorers.
These guys, these were my kinda people, the pilgrims.
Anyway I have to inform you that beer is NOT life, despite evidence and endless dissertation to the contrary. It's one of my favorite perks, though, like gummy bears.
I like other alcoholic beverages as well. I like dusky, dark red wines, cabs and such. I like Russian vodka and Beefeater's gin, in a rocks glass, lots of cubed ice, with two or three really big Spanish olives. I will admit in public that I like Pinot Grigio: Santa Margarita is good, sure, but plain old Cavit is my favorite. The best thing, other than beer? Pouilly Fuisse, very cold. Slightly pricey dry French white.
I came to talk about beer, and this introduction is the beginning of our journey together: see, I am going to tell you, the reader, all about beers I have tried, and I will intrepidly offer my honest assessment of them on these very pages. I will be fair – fair as I can be anyway – because I certainly have my favorites, and feel compelled to honestly assess the less-than-favorites with a review based upon the overall crafting and quality of the brew, not solely whether I like it. Unless I really, really don't like it, like Belgian Ales. I have no idea why these are so popular' I have tried a few that taste a little like Zima (remember that crap?) and I guess I just don't get it.
I really don't get a lot about beer, actually. Because it tuns out I truly do not know a hell of a lot about it. Seriously. That's what I meant when I said I was the worst kind of beer snob: I am an ignorant beer snob.
I made it years ago with a friend – we did a stout that was excellent, and a hefeweizen that got bumped at a bad time, and the fermenter blew up like a balloon from the expanding yeast. Who knew beer was an IED? Anyway we had a pilsner and an IPA and every time it was awesome beyond belief, but I never paid attention to the process, what was on the stove, what hops went in when and in what quantity. Who cares? Silly me.
There are technical things about it that I missed out on, and in the big-beer making world (home brewing is a pretty simple process compared to making those thousand-bottle batches in the microbreweries). There's a thing called a mash tun – catchy, but I haven't a bloody clue what it does. Sounds like a dance move, ask me.
There's “specific gravity” and “wort” and all manner of very scientific-sounding things to discover.
There are dozens of types of beer, with cool-ass names like lambic, porter, wit, and marzen.
There are beers you should drink out of a bottle, and some you should drink out of a glass...a specific, certain kind of glass, at that.
And I get to do that. I will make this sacrifice, my friends. I will be brave.
And we get to learn together. Your comments will likely come in handy – hopefully some of you know a lot more about beer than me, and then I get to go drink your recommendations, and that's pretty much a good thing, because, well, I did mention I like beer, right? Right.
Salud, my friends.
Posted by Schuyler =^oo^= at 6:17 PM