My name is Ian and I love craft beer. I love it so much that I want to shout it from the rooftops, but a blog seems less likely to piss off my neighbors. Because of my borderline obsessive liking of craft beer from around the world, the type of lifestyle that it supports, and because I feel that anyone who drinks beer or has ever thought about drinking beer could find a well crafted beer to suit their taste, I have created this space where you can learn with me about the wonderful world of craft beer and hopefully enhance your life and the lives of your friends and family.
What you can expect from this blog:
- Weekly postings (each Wednesday at this point and we’ll see how that works) in which you will find:
- Helpful and non-snobby beer reviews
- Craft beer news, both local (St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota in my case) and national
- Information and reviews about beer events and tastings
- Interviews with craft beer experts (and anyone who will sit down to chat with me over beer)
- Themed posts (beer styles, seasonal posts, beer history, homebrewing, etc)
- Whatever seems pertinent to the craft beer world and my own wandering interests at the time
- Inviting information that is intended for people who are totally new to the idea of craft beer, as well as beer geeks
- Humor and casualness (apparently that is a word). It is beer that we are talking about after all!
- Edutainment (again apparently a word) basically having fun and learning stuff
So if you’ve read this far, you’re either my parents, girlfriend, someone I’ve coerced or someone genuinely interested in learning more about craft beer. In any circumstance I look forward to having you along on this delicious journey and don’t be shy about contacting me with questions, insightful comments, and gripes (easy on the gripes).
So to wrap up my first post let’s get right to it with a piece of immediately relevant craft beer information.
Three words (or letters depending on how hip you are to Twin Cities beer slang) raise a lot of ears, eyebrows and eventually sampling glasses this time of year; it’s the Autumn Brew Review (ABR). This event is hosted by the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild and features over 75 craft breweries from around the country assembling at the old Premium Grainbelt Brewery in historic Northeast (Nordeast to the locals) Minneapolis. The event will be taking place this Saturday, September 17th. If you already have tickets, hooray for you, and if not, I believe there are still some available for the first session (10AM-2PM). The second session (3PM-7PM) has been sold out for a while and is the one that I will be attending. This is the largest and most impressive display of craft beer in the Twin Cities all year, with each brewery bringing in casks or “firkins” of their respective offerings, in many cases brewing special batches just for the event or tweaking the recipes for their mainstays. Highlights last year were (in my humble opinion): Bell’s Biere de Garde series, Brau Brother’s 100 Yard Dash fresh hopped ale, Dave’s Brewfarm Saison Dandyclover, Surly Teabagged Furious and Four (and of course Darkness is always a treat, it is their once a year release of a Russian Imperial Stout, don’t worry if you don’t know what that means, we’ll talk about it) and tons of others that I’m sad I can’t remember. I will be keeping detailed notes this weekend however, and will provide as much insight as I can in next week’s post.
So if you can make it down to the ABR keep an eye out for me, I’ll be wearing a “Four Firkins” shirt. If not, here is your homework:
Start small. Go to your local beer store with the biggest selection of beer and pick out a beer that you have never tried before, and if you are quite experienced, pick out one that you haven’t thought you would like. Don’t be afraid to ask for some guidance, if it is even a decent store, they should be able to provide you with some general directions to make your purchase.
Bring the beer home, chill it in the refrigerator (not the freezer) for about 30-45 minutes, open it and pour it into a glass with a stem. If you don’t have a beer goblet don’t worry, you can use a wine glass and that will work just fine. If you have no stemware, no worries a pint glass will work also, just don’t drink the beer straight from the bottle if you can help it. Allow for some head on the beer, foam is a good thing, it brings out the aromas. Smell the beer and try to notice any familiar scents that jump out at you, then taste it and let it roll around in your mouth a bit and cover your tongue, again try to notice any specific flavors that stand out. Once you’ve got a good feel for what the beer smells and tastes like, just enjoy it!
How about that for homework! Shoot me an email or post a comment to let my know how it went.
Until next week, drink well and be happy. Cheers!