My buddy Schneider Mike wrote a fantastic guest post today all about beer. Beer! I love Schneider Mike. I love beer. It's an age 21+ peanut butter and jelly match made in hoppy heaven. I met Mike at Social Media Business Forum last fall. We clicked. Just like that. Not in a smitten way, more of a you-are-so-witty-smart-fun-irreverent-and-cool way. I dig him so much that I've been nagging him to move down here. But I'm trying my best to keep him near me in the city and not in hinterland suburbia like his best pal Greg (whom I also adore!). Anyhow, here's Schneider Mike's take on beer, brewski, beevo, whatever you call it. Cheers!
The first taste of beer that I remember was a Ballantine Ale at 6 years old. Knowing my old man, it was probably sooner, but I remember liking the carbonation and the bite, but not the acidity. I now refer to old school beers like Ballantine and Schlitz as "drinking a battery". There is a metallic electricity and aftertaste that has been all but eliminated from the beer world. He also used to really enjoy Blatz. Blatz was a beer that would haul off and punch you in the mouth every time you dared to sip. I recall trying Goebel, American, Molson, Genny Cream Ale and my grandfather once let me try "generic beer". The bottle was brown. The label only had the word BEER on a yellow background. He came from a different era and so did my old man who still thinks it does not get any better than Ballantine Ale.
Unlike my dad and grandfather who find what they like and usually stick with it, I am really hard to satisfy. My dad would take me to the beverage store with him and I noticed that just like cereals, yogurts and sodas, there were beers I hadn't tried yet and I was curious. I tried a few beers in high school. I first drunk at a graduation party, but still I wasn't satisfied. Michelob Dark couldn't be the best, most interesting thing that the beer world had to offer, could it?
Enter Samuel Adams, who, in 1985 first introduced their Boston Lager and, in my mind, gave us hope that there was more to beer than Budweiser, Miller and Schlitz. I had my first Samuel Adams in college at 19. We had a friend pick us up a couple of six packs for the first ever "good beer night". The idea was concocted when Andy, Karl and I decided that drinking mass quantities of swill like Natural Light and Busch Light Draft was unacceptable, that we did not like drinking to get drunk and that we wanted something more. This was a very good idea and we spent the rest of the evening reveling in the fact that I was right all along about beer and that we had finally discovered the Holy Grail. This was a huge step up from freshman year when we decided that Miller Genuine Draft was the "Nectar of the Gods".
Since then, I've tried many beers in many glasses, casks, bottles and growlers on my show at belchingmonkey.com and wanted to tell you about 4 IPAs that I really enjoy.
Bear Republic Racer 5 (BM rating: B+)
They call it aggressively hopped, but I find this to be incredibly well balanced between orange zest, pine and floral notes. Highly drinkable, but beware of the 7% alcohol by volume.
Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA (BM rating: A-) The pride of Delaware starts with a gentle, floral nose. Sipping reveals surprising java bean complementing bitter flowers and some vanilla.
Great Divide Brewing Company Titan (BM rating: A) This sucker has delicious forest-like notes on the nose. The hoppiest of the bunch (most bitter), the flavor reminds me of sushi that goes nicely with a little green tea, pine and lime zest. The packaging for Great Divide beers is also brilliant.
Avery Brewing Company (BM rating: A) Big lemon and spice nose. Perfect balance of pine and zest with gentle sweetness. When I am drinking this one I usually think "favorite".
What are your favorites?