Your Year for Beer

When trying new beers, I think it’s important to explore beyond your comfort zone and try varieties you haven’t in the past.  It doesn’t really matter what brand at first – just let your eyes draw you to your next beer bending experience.  Start with buying a beer because you like the packaging, or because you like a certain style.  If you have been drinking the same IPA since March, it is time to pick a new brand or style and develop your taste buds.   Below are three easy ways to become a touch more engaged in your beer in 2017.

Mix it Up

You probably tend to go to your local liquor store and purchase your favorite beer. Maybe sometimes you even build your own six pack from the grocer with fairly limited options.  Don’t let the limitations be a barrier to doing some comparing and contrasting.  Ask your liquor store what their price point threshold is for breaking down a six pack to the mix and match cooler.  Good liquor stores will let you request one that you may want to try that isn’t currently represented.

Instead of building your six pack with various styles and brands, try and be a little more tactical.  You could build a half stout, half porter sixer from diverse breweries and do your own taste tests at home this winter.  This can be a great way to find subtle and major differences within the same style and can prove very beneficial to your street cred.  Chances are you won’t see too much difference between the stouts and porters, but that’s kind of the point. You have to pay close attention.  Soon, you will be much more in tune with what variants lie in each brewers take on a style. 

Invest In Your Most Important Tool

Good glassware can make or break your beer drinking experience.  A beer clean glass is something to marvel and appreciate, and offers dazzling lacing from the head of your well-chosen tipple.  There are different types of glasses for the many different styles so make sure to do some research and be the matchmaker.  I have two new favorites that have changed how I approach my home tastings. 

The first is the Teku 3.0 glass by German based Rastal, but its design is of Italian decent.  This stunning stemmed goblet can embrace any beer style and is intended to foster immaculate aroma. The slim lip inspires a remarkable mouthfeel.  It looks as sexy as it sounds and will stand out in any cabinet, leaving wine drinkers insanely jealous.

You may have seen the next glass, which is built for all of the IPA lovers.  The Spiegelau IPA glass was designed solely for the best IPA experience.  This glass allows for a consistent head throughout and blasts you with the much needed hoppy aromatics that touches the IPA lover in all of us. 

The point here is to stop pouring your beer into a pint glass – it  does you no “flavors”.         

Cellar those Malty Beers

Exercise some patience this year and really experiment with the possibilities of beer.  Wine ages well, right?  So does beer!  You just have to know what styles and attributes to experiment with. 

There is no doubt you need to stash that Bourbon County you picked up on Black Friday.  Hopefully you were fortunate enough to grab a few – one to enjoy during the holidays and one to add to your collection.  Malty beers will be your target, and the best options are beers brewed with smoked and roasted malts.  The higher the ABV, the better (over 7%), as the alcohol actually works as a friendly preservative to your beer.  Some brewers will even offer a “cellar up to” date that helps your journey find its end.  It is also important to note that even after all that patience and effort not to touch that beautiful beer, it may suck.  Cellaring is not a guarantee of great flavor and additions, and sometimes you will lose.  But when you win, it will be a unique experience every time. 

To take on this voyage, you need a dark, cool place where you will not be moving them from place to place.  Also, make sure the beers are upright and not on their side, after all, we’re not wine drinkers! 

Godspeed in your year for beer.    

Justin Hines