A New Year’s Resolution
January 9, 2018
By Jeff Gredlein | The Beer Snob
As a new year opens up, many of us strive to change our ways, to do things differently than we might have last year. Why not drink better beer this year and really enjoy it. If you’re new to the craft beer game, resolve to find and enjoy the good stuff. I know that many of you who read this column already love good quality beer. For those like me, strive to try new and different beers other than your old stand-by brews in 2018.
Great beer has so many redeeming qualities that this should be a resolution not too hard to keep. And there are so many different styles and types of great beer available today that it would be difficult to find something you don’t enjoy. The possibilities are almost endless, take advantage of this wonderful time in the world of craft beer.
Let’s start with the best ways to enjoy quality beer. Whether on draught at your local bar or pub, or from a bottle out of your fridge, good beer needs to be poured into a glass. There is so much to take in, so many different sides to good beer, and we humans can celebrate beer with many of our senses, not just our taste buds.
Open a bottle of beer, listen to the crack of the bottle cap seal. Slowly pour your beer straight down into the bottom of a clean pint glass. Let the beer gain a bit of head or foam, which will assist in putting forth the aromas of the brew. As the glass begins to fill, and if you were successful in getting some head going, you can tilt the glass to let the liquid run down the sides.
Now that you have a glass full of beer, take a moment to look at the color and clarity of the liquid. Is the beer brown, or amber, garnet or pitch black, golden or orange-red? Can you see through to light on the other side, or is the beer opaque or thick and creamy? Notice if bubbles stream up from the bottom of the glass, is the head fluffy or non-existent; what’s going on in your glass?
This leads us to smell and taste. Put your nose right into the glass and breathe in deeply. Smell the scents coming from the beer. Think about is. What’s there? Sweet or spicy, sharp or bitter, what do you notice coming from the glass. Take a few quick sniffs, then take a long, deep, lung filling pull and analyze it.
After you have gotten your nose full, so to speak, take a long, slow sip of the beer. Let it roll around the sides of your mouth and across your tongue. I saw a Sam Adams commercial where owner Jim Kotch chews the beer – it’s not a bad idea, and it can disperse different flavors across the mouth. If it’s a big, flavorful brew, get a mouthful and pull in some air, as if doing a reverse whistle and let the air open up the flavors in your mouth.
After drinking the first third, maybe four or five good sips, of your beer … wait. Give it a chance to open up, allow the beer to warm slightly. Hopefully you weren’t drinking ice cold beer in the first place (and I know you didn’t pull out a pint glass from the freezer!). But even if the glass was in the cabinet and the bottle was in the fridge, let it warm to nearly room temperature. A beer’s smell and taste can change dramatically with a rise in temperature.
And then, do it all over again. Once a week, if possible, buy a new beer or a new six-pack or bomber, and share it with friends. Buy a bottle of beer from that new, weird brewery out of Kentucky or Utah. Pick up a strange bottle from Belgium or Japan. We have such a tendency to get complacent, and we go back to what we know, to what makes us comfortable. Shake up that comfort on occasion, and grab a new brew. Who knows, it might become a favorite. You might discover perfection in a pint glass. I hope you all have a wonderful 2018. Enjoy the brews … Cheers.
Gene’s Haufbrau has at more than 200 in bottles or on tap. While they don’t have every beer the Beer Snob writes about, they probably have most. E-mail the Beer Snob at email@example.com.