HowTo:Enjoy craft beer
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So You Want to Appreciate Craft Beer
Hey, friend. Glad to see you. So you've probably noticed the growing section of craft beer at Beverages & More. Or someone you know is a homebrewer. Or maybe you just can't afford wine. Pull up a stool. Park your carcass. Let me pour you a warm, relatively flat one and let you into the wonderful world of craft beer.
What IS Craft Beer?
First of all, don't be intimidated. Based on the type of yeast used, there are really only two kinds of beer – good beer and bad beer. The bad beer is called lager. The rest is ale. Beyond that, craft beer can be defined as:
- Beer from a microbrewery. You might argue that designing a light, refreshing lager that appeals to millions of people is a craft too. Well it's not.
- Beer with attitude. It's not uncommon to find beers called Arrogant Bastard, Hop Stoopid, or Ewww. It's an intimidation thing, scares off the pretenders. Napoleon Complex? Never heard of it. Who makes that one?
- Slow. The act of enjoying a craft beer is meant to be relaxing. While the bartender gets your drink, take the time to appreciate your environment. The publican needs to prime the handpup, hit on the female patrons. Earn that dollar! Once you get your glass, savor every drop. You’re meant to take it slow. That's why we serve it to you in 10 oz glasses but still charge full price. Look at the craftsmanship of that drinking vessel, the way it resembles a tulip. Elegant, no? It has laser etched nucleation points for the release of CO2 and is sculpted to retain the ideal amount of head. No, you don't get to keep the glass.
What ISN'T Craft Beer?
- Refreshing. Craft beer is interesting or delightful. It's amusing. It does not quench your thirst. Except, that is, your thirst for craft beer. So it should not be:
- Drunk. Craft beer is tasted or sampled, not gulped or chugged.
- Fun. What is this, a ballpark? But don't get me wrong. In no way is craft beer
- Pretentious. I mean, it comes from a bunghole.
How to Drink a Craft Beer
- Exchange pleasantries with the bartender (suggested subjects: hop shortage, planking nostalgia,Michael Jackson)
- Hold the glass up to the light.
- Smell the beer.
- Nod approvingly.
- Take a sip.
- Record impressions in beer notebook, contemplate why you are not more successful romantically.
- Swirl the beer to release carbonation.
- Burp discreetly to release carbonation.
- Repeat, with other beers if necessary.
- Ask for the bill.
- Swiftly exit.
There is a story behind every beer. Most of these stories are apocryphal. Did you really think you'd get an accurate history lesson from the back of a beer bottle? That's not to say the brewers are lying deliberately. On the contrary, they are usually told by their marketing department that "Shit, let's make some booze" is not the type of narrative that makes a marketable beverage. For the purposes of sales, the beer should have historical context - something to do with England or Sumeria.. farmers blah blah the olden times etc etc all natural yada yada passing reference to Ninkasi. This stuff practically writes itself.
- Porter – A dark beer, characterized by roasted malt. Named after the guy who delivered the beer.
- Baltic Porter – Then he was replaced by cheap foreign labor.
- Imperial Porter – Then the union took over.
- Stout Porter – No longer produced due to a libel suit.
- Pale Ale - Historical beer brewed by the English, for the English.
- Brown Ale - Historical beer brewed by Indians for their troops abroad in England.
- Fruit Lambic AKA Biere pour les Femmes – Belgian or Dutch beer brewed with fruit.
- Belgian Sour Ale/American Wild Ale - Beer inoculated with wild yeast blooms. Not some guy sneezing into the mash tun.
- Black and Tan - Two wrongs don't make a right.
- Rauchbier - A penny saved is a penny earned.
- Trappist Beer AKA Biere des Trappistes – Beer brewed by remedial monks. When a fledgling monk fails the entrance exam to become a champagne monk he has two recourses - become a beer monk or abandon going pro altogether. This style - Trappist beer - was designed primarily to laugh at non-Belgians that try to pronounce it in public.
- English Style Ale - Like American style ale, only
- Mead - This is actually fermented honey - not beer or wine. It is consumed primarily by Renaissance Faire enthusiasts and Vikings.
Spreading the Word
Ask for craft beer wherever possible, be it at your local bar, restaurant, or bank teller window. Chances are they won't know about the joy of craft beer, giving you the opportunity to aggressively inform them. You're now part of the craft beer movement. You've done your part. You can relax, lean back, and enjoy a bottle of craft beer at the proper temperature in the properly shaped glass, poured properly over your properly honed tongue. Taste the craftiness.