The Anatomy of a Beer

September 8, 2010

Beer is more than just a pale colored beverage in a glass. It can display a wide and vast range of colors, flavors, aromas and textures. Especially among craft beers, you would be hard pressed to find two beers whose construction came out to yield the exact same beer. All the different variables and procedures that go into crafting a beer make each one unique and special.

Understanding a beer’s anatomy can help you better define its structure, and how its flavors will affect you. See below for a full breakdown of a beer’s final construction and how it affects the flavor and experience you enjoy. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Say That? Goooo-den Carol-us?…

August 18, 2010

Slowly but surely the range and variety of amazing beers from the other side of the world are making their way both into the American and Canadian beer market. Finally! The world of German, French, Belgian, British and Italian beers are greatly under represented in North America, especially in Canada. The United States is actually doing a fine job at importing some of the best beers that this planet has to offer – but what still gets people everywhere is how to properly pronounce them.

People still call Hoegaarden ho-garden. Ummm not quite fellas. It is properly pronounced whoo-gaar-den with a very soft “d”. Its hard to blame anyone, because we are rarely exposed to the proper pronunciation, but for those who want to know, has an excellent resource for exactly this purpose! Their interactive speech guide will take you through the proper pronunciation of many of the most commonly misrepresented beers.

Is Beer Temperature Really Important? How does it affect my beer drinking experience?

August 18, 2010

What does an IPA served at 54F, a Belgian dubbel at 57F, a Milk Stout at 48F, and a Wit at 39F all have in common? They were all served at the correct temperature! Ok, I know that was not the best joke, but it really wasn’t intended to make you laugh, but rather to think about your beer’s temperature.

Like pretty much any other beverage, all beers have a preferred serving temperature based on their style, purpose, ingredients and mouthfeel, among other things. This is because every beer is designed to accomplish something very specific, and that specific quality can be enhanced or ruined depending on the temperature at which you drink it.

So lets examine how temperature can affect your beer, and why it is really such a big deal. Read the rest of this entry »

Beer Serving Temperature Guide

August 16, 2010

We learned yesterday that the marketing campaigns we see every day which conjure up fantasies about ice cold beer are not designed to enhance your beer drinking experience, but rather to increase the big guys wallets. But the question still remains; what temperature should I enjoy my delicious beer at to best absorb the flavors that it has to offer?

It can be difficult to know what temperature you should enjoy your beer at, and it is not as cut and dry as determining if your beer has a little or a lot of flavor. The intensity of the beers flavor is but one of many characteristics that should be taken into consideration when picking the proper temperature for your beer.

It should be noted though that serving temperature is merely a guideline; everyone has their own specific preferences as to how they like to enjoy their beers, and there is no real right or wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

Please Don’t Drink Light Beer to Loose Weight, Look to Real Beer!

August 12, 2010

Really? Are you willingly going to choose to drink Bud Light, Coors Light, Molson 67 or any of the other low-cal commodity beers? I know their claim of low calories and light body is alluring to you, but what about their lack of aroma, flavor and character? Surely that should play a role. Are calories really the be all and end all of your beer decision?

But we are a more educated society than that now, and we realize (or should realize) that some calories are made different than others. Yes, some are good, and some are bad, or at least worse than others. This should be your primary focus when considering the calories that you ingest. Yes quantity is important, but the type of calorie is much more vital to your health, and how your body utilizes them. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Pair Beer and Cigars Perfectly (Part 4, the pair)

July 29, 2010

Its a warm Thursday evening after a long day at work, and the sun is just beginning to crest below the horizon. All you want to do is kick back and enjoy the smooth, relaxing, and calming sensations of a good cigar. You have plenty of cigars to choose from, but you’ll probably go for one of your old favorites. Your patio chair is ready, the weather is right, and all you are missing is the appropriate beverage to match your cigar.

A spirit is the typical pair, but you’re feeling rather saucy tonight, and you don’t want the potency of a 40% whisky. So you open your fridge and look to your beer selection. Yes, there are a huge range of beers that will perfectly match a cigar for you. In Part 1 we over viewed the primary characteristics of a cigar that influence its flavor. In Part 2 we examined beers that work well with long or short cigars. In Part 3 we looked at larger ring gauge and earthy cigars. Now to complete the gamut we will enter the world of complex and milder cigars. Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review: 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die

July 28, 2010

With the massive array of choices available to beer lovers today it can even become overwhelming when stepping into your local beer or liquor store trying to narrow down your choices or determine which beers may be best. I know its an awesome dilemma, but there are plenty of resources to help us!

1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die is a relatively new book that describes it title. This 4 pound, 960 page beer haven book has contributions from over 40 authors and covers a huge range of beers from around the globe. In the world of beer books there are technical brewing , casual enjoyment , historical, philosophical, biographical books and more. But I do love books like this – books that just describe amazing beer. There is no flow or design necessary, no introduction or conclusion. Just amazing beer after amazing beer. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Pair Beer and Cigars Perfectly (Part 3, the pair)

July 28, 2010

This is a beautiful world of flavor we are talking about here; real beer and cigars that is. Both crafted by hand and passion to create memorable and enjoyable sensations. Both capable of igniting any situation and enriching your life. But beer is not the typical pairing thought of when smoking a cigar – spirits, brandy and cognac are usually reserved for that honor. But today we are going to continue to look at the amazing, and relatively unheard of pairing that is beer and cigars.

In part 1 we broke down the various aspects of a cigar that contribute to their flavor and smoking experience. Then in part 2 we examined the beers that would best suit long and short cigars. Today in part three we will create beer pairings for large ring gauge cigars and earthy cigars. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Pair Beer and Cigars Perfectly (Part 2, the pair)

July 26, 2010

Just like beer, there are limitless varieties of cigars available to us today; when you begin to consider the range of sizes, shapes, flavors, strengths, and origins it becomes clear that there is so single rule for what cigar will go with what beer. We can however build generic rules, or guidelines to help you experiment – because the only best pairing is the one that you enjoy the most.

In part 1 we examined the 3 primary aspects of a cigar which most powerfully influence its flavor, body, and smoking experience. Now we will actually create some delicious beer and cigar pairings. For the purpose of this guide we will begin with 6 different generic cigar characteristics, and match a variety of pairing beers to each one. These characteristics are Long Cigars, Short Cigars, Large Ring Gauge Cigars, Earthy Cigars, Complex Cigars, and Milder Cigars. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Pair Beer and Cigars Perfectly (Part 1, the cigar)

July 21, 2010

Yes, beer has many friends; snacks, cheese, hamburgers, pasta, chicken, fish, etc.. Really any food can find the appropriate beer pairing. But if you are a beer connoisseur, and also love cigars, do you ever find it challenging to match a beer, rather than a more potent spirit with your stogie? Its easy to see why this can cause issues.

Cigars by nature are hugely aromatic and potent creatures. Even the lightest shade claros are going to be filled with a variety of perfumey tobacco smoke. Then when you start to get into Colorado or Maduro wrappers you really begin to unleash the full power and potency of a cigar. I mean, thats why we love cigars in the first place. And they do fit the world of spirits exceptionally well. But what about beer? Read the rest of this entry »

Beer Basics: Hops

July 19, 2010

As far as many American Craft Brewers would be concerned, hops are the best thing that has ever happen to beer – they have very notably become brewers of beers with big rich hopy aromas and flavors. Many U.S. Craft Breweries brew with so many varieties of hops in such large quantities that new styles have been created to fit these new hop heavy beers. Double IPAs, Imperial Bitters, and a huge slew of dry hopped styles are among some of the beers you can find all across the United States these days.

But what is a hop in the first place? What types of flavor characteristics does it impart on beer? Why is it necessary? And what is an IBU anyways? Read the rest of this entry »

How to describe Real Beer; what does effervescent mean anyways?

July 13, 2010

Effervescent is an intransitive verb meaning to show liveliness or exhilaration. It is often used to describe beers with champagne-like qualities such as the Unibroue Chambly Noire, or the Brooklyn Local 1. But why should we describe beer anyways?

The answer is undoubtedly the same reason why we drink real beer in the first place; because we appreciate it and we appreciate real flavor. We want it, crave it, need it, search for it, travel for it, think about it, talk about it, and love it. We love real beer and real flavor. Being able to describe the beer which we love so much only further enables up to appreciate and explore all the subtle and extreme traits a beer can possess.

Over the next several weeks we will discuss why we describe beer, how to describe beer, and how to break down individual aromas, flavors, and distinct qualities of real beer. Today we are going to look at the purpose behind describing beer, and why it is worth our time and effort.

Real Beer Marketing, Defined

July 12, 2010

What is Real Beer Marketing?

It begins with passion – a whole ton of it. Then maybe a bit of obsession and a real thirst for knowledge and experience. But really, Real Beer Marketing is all about the beer; not a specific brand or style of beer, but real beer as a whole. There is such a massive amount of real and amazing beer in the world that I find it difficult to limit myself to one style, country of origin, or brewery. Besides, Real Beer Marketing is really not about promoting beer to people, but rather introducing people to real flavor. That’s what real beer is all about; the flavor, enjoyment, excitement, and the experience. Read the rest of this entry »

Every Good Man Deserves Some Head (Part 1)

July 8, 2010

Its an interesting question isn’t it? Do you want a big froth of foam on your beer or not? Should it be there? Or should some beers have head and other not? These are all good questions, especially because most people that step into a bar and order the average beer completely dismiss the idea of a good rocky head. They seem to see it as a waste of their money, taking up space where the beer could be.

This could not be further from the truth though. It is true that some beers are designed to have more head than others, and some simply wont produce much, if any, based on the style. But the foam that floats on top of your beer is simply an added level of excitement, building on your sensory perception of the beer. Lets take a look at what forms head can take, what it can offer you, and what beers it should, or should not exist on. Read the rest of this entry »

Beer Glass Styles: Different Styles for Different Styles

July 6, 2010

There is a reason why red wine glasses are shaped like they are, a relatively scientific reason too. A proper glass is designed to best exemplify the color, aroma and flavors of the beverage which it is prepared to contain. Every beverage will have their own characteristics of course, and that is why we get very specific when it comes to glassware.

Wine glasses all share a similar structure, because all wine has similar characteristics. But beer is a much more complicated world. Beer varieties range in color, body, depth, aromas, and flavors making it much more difficult to fit into a few generic shapes. Thus there are several beer glass styles which are specifically designed to fit certain beers. Here we will examine these styles, and what beer styles would best fit them. Read the rest of this entry »