Wednesday, March 9, 2011
at 5:51 PM
In honor of International Women's Day (a day late), the upcoming St. Patrick's Day holiday and the release of Kentucky Breakfast Stout, I have a very special post-all about craft beer. Why, you ask? Because I, myself, am a HUGE craft beer fan (Beer Belle), and it seems as though there is a stigma that women and beer don't mix. Untrue. Let me share with you what I know. Don't dismiss this before you start reading. I promise to tell you why you get that awful hangover the day after a few (poorly selected) brews.
REAL beer has four main ingredients:
*Additional flavors can be added in to define the flavor and character of the beer.
Quality ingredients are key in defining the quality taste and flavor of a good beer. Many "larger" breweries, ahem, (Anheuser Bush, Miller, Coors) will use rice or corn instead of barley to save on cost. It is important to note, the sugars in rice and corn ferment VERY differently than in barley. Because of this, the sugars do not break down properly leaving you with a bad headache the day after throwing a few back. Point in case, cheap beer=hangover. It's simple science. Larger breweries use these alternatives as up to 40% of the grain needed just to produce MORE beer at a lower price. Look at it like this, everything you know and recognize as "beer" has probably come from tasting or hearing what one of the above three major brewers has told you. To me, that's like thinking everything you know about food has come from McDonalds or Burger King and we all know that food is way better than what they tell us-beer works the same way. You have to go beyond the industry leader to find top-notch products.
In the United States, new breweries are popping up at the rate of one a day. The good news is that majority of Americans live twenty miles or less from a brewery. This is a great opportunity for you to get a behind the scenes look at how beer is made and explore new tastes.
Speaking of tastes, there are many different styles of beer. It might be confusing when trying to pick your first brew. Don't get overwhelmed. There is LITERALLY something for everyone. Beer comes in a variety of fruity flavors, barrel-aged flavors, traditional tastes and very dry, hoppy tastes. I can guarantee that you will not like everything you try, but figuring out what you like can be a lot of fun. You will discover that the creativity that goes into brewing each batch is remarkable.
There are many things to consider when trying a new brew. It is very important to take in more than just taste. In trying a beer, you should consider:
*Appearance - color, carbonation, head and retention
*Smell-note the beers aromatic qualities
*Taste-take a sip-does the beer have a dominating characteristic
*Mouthfeel-light, heavy, chewy, thin, course, etc
*Drinkability-how easy is this beer to consume-would you have another
Ladies, I know what you're thinking. Beer isn't for me. I'll have a few glasses of wine or a vodka water with a lime-less calories. I get it. You would be surprised at the many benefits of a good brew, and I encourage you to check out some of the great beers that might be available to you.
A few of my favorite beers include:
1.) Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
2.) Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (a beer aged in bourbon barrels)
3.) Bell's Hopslam Ale
4.) North Coast Brewing Le Merle
If you're new to craft beer, I recommend checking out one of these:
*Sierra Nevada Glissade
*Dogfish Head Black and Blue
*RJ Rockers Son of a Peach
Beer is a great way to bond. Take your gal pals, boyfriend, Dad, Uncle or brother with you on a brewery trip. You'll be amazed at what you see and the beer you try. Even if you DON'T like the beer, you are going to have a great day bonding with those special people in your life. What's better than that?
Until next time, may your day be filled with, magnolias, bourbon and craft beer!