I’m a Beer Snob

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It’s all Rob’s fault.

I wasn’t always a beer drinker. I drank stereotypical girlie fru-fru drinks in college. Then, my friend Sally got me into wine. Eventually, I started drinking Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss with a lemon. It was kind of an evolution of the palate.

But that was back when we were students. We didn’t know any better. We drank to drink.

After college, when my friend Jen and I spent ten weeks backpacking Europe, we drank wine in wine countries and beer and beer countries. When in Rome, right? It did not disappoint. I guess that’s when I learned that beverages could illustrate a sense of place as much as the food could.

Now, I’m a beer snob. And probably more so than a wine snob. I think I can appreciate a homemade wine or a local wine right out of a jug in a small town in France. I can often {but not always} appreciate a simple wine that completely lacks character, but still delivers some sort of flavor. But give me a lager anywhere and I can’t appreciate it.

I’ve always been pretty open-minded. So on our first date, when Rob ordered a couple different beers to sip on, I gave them a try. He had a hard time having just moved from Seattle, where craft brews were king, to Minnesota where the most exotic beer on tap was Summit Extra Pale Ale. {The “extra” has virtually no meaning.}

A couple months later, one date of ours was dubbed Ale Fest. Rob found a store that had a lot of different styles of beers and bought a bunch to try to teach me more.

I loved them.

It made me realize why I wasn’t a huge beer fan before. Buy the cheapest, most well-known beers and you’ll get water with a hint of beer flavor. Blech! No wonder they serve it ice cold – they don’t want you to taste it!

Now I prefer IPAs for their bitter hoppiness, nut browns and porters for their nuttiness and stouts for their coffee and chocolate overtones. While I can also appreciate a good wheat or Belgian from time to time, this is where Rob gets hung up. I guess he just wasn’t as lucky as me to have tried several beers in Belgium where they treat their beer like wine – served in the appropriate glasses at the appropriate temperature.

Nonetheless, I am a beer snob. You won’t see with a bottle of Miller or Bud light in my hand. Don’t try to offer me one either. I’d rather have water. Even a New Castle Nut Brown {where I once started with Rob and slowly evolved} now tastes light and virtually flavorless. Even Guinness, which many people call too dark of a beer just seems so light for a stout to me. I’ve been schooled on what these things should taste like… and also know what I like now.

Sidebar:

It’s sort of what I tell people who attend my Wine Tastings. Those who have never liked red wine before aren’t going to go into a store and buy a bottle off the shelf if they don’t think it’ll change their minds. And if they do, they aren’t going to spend more than $10 to give it a shot. That’s why Wine Tastings are the perfect opportunity to try something you normally wouldn’t. You can learn what you do and don’t like about particular wines to make good choices that suit your tastes in the future!

As time passed, we’ve been lucky that more micro breweries have popped up in the Twin Cites metro area. My beer connoisseur husband has found beers that even he has never tried before. It’s been a fun experience and even more fun to try local craft brews. {I have to say that local craft brews in Minnesota, currently trump local wines.}

When traveling, I used to search for unique stuff {food, beverages, experiences} indicative to the region. As we become a more global society, it becomes easier to find those things (that were once local nostalgia) in many corners of the earth. And while it’s a joy to find something you once loved on a trip, it also stinks that that very thing has now lost its sense of place… and the very reason to make a return visit.

Luckily, in today’s society, we have gravitated toward a new movement of supporting local businesses, produce and farms. Restaurants are following suit. I hope this trend goes global. Can you imagine if we were all to support our own local economies what kind of growth and sustainability we would see? Not to mention a more enjoyable meal from time to time. {Local foods that are in season always taste better than those from afar.}

But, Carrie, what about the calories!? I thought you were trying to lose weight?

This is true. I am working on losing weight. Yes, full-flavored beer can be high in calories. However, nothing is off-limits on my “diet”. If I want a beer, I want it to be the best-tasting one on tap. I will compensate for those calories for a little enjoyment. I prefer quality over quantity. However, if you really do prefer light beer, check out Snack Girl’s post on the subject. She and some friends and family did a taste test for your benefit. I’m not an expert in that category, so if that’s your preference, be sure to check her out!

What I want to learn next? How to pair beer with food, just like wine. I’m on the look-out for a beer tasting dinner!

What kind of beers do you like?

Cheers~
Carrie

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