I hate to be “that guy” that reminds everyone summer is dwindling down, but I can’t help but get excited for a new batch of seasonal ales. I have a love/hate relationship with summer anyway. I hate turning into a giant puddle of sweat but my body cannot handle temperatures below 40 degrees. Despite the heat, at least I can enjoy activities outdoors and I’m not afraid to wander the city for fear of frostbite. But I must admit that summer beers are not my particular forte.
When the season first starts, sure I could totally go for a beer that’s light and crisp and maybe has some nice citrus flavors mixed in, but my heart lies with the dark side. Give me pumpkin ales, chocolate stouts, and malty porters. As much as I don’t want winter to come, I am desperate for all my favorite bars to get in their fall and winter seasonal beers. Is there anything more delightful than sipping on an Oktoberfest or your favorite brewery’s pumpkin on a cool, crisp day (don’t forget to add pumpkin flavored sugar crystal on the rim of the glass! Yum!)? Just thinking about it makes me long for a hoodie and to hear the crunch of fall leaves under my feet.
Summer, you’ve been a blast but your beer just doesn’t wet my appetite quite as much as winter. Anyone else ready for some heavier beers? What is everyone looking forward to drinking next season? I’ve been dying to try Great Divide Hibernation Ale and Samichlaus Bier and I pray to the beer gods my beer distributor has it. Oh wait, I’ll most likely be living in Queens or Brooklyn by then…okay I hope my new local distributor has it!
There’s a reason sayings exist, because they’re true! Once I turned myself onto (that’s what she said?) the darker side of beer, there was no going back. I love a lot of beer and I embrace all styles, but my heart lies with porters and stouts. How could you not enjoy chocolate and coffee flavored beers?
Despite separate names, Porters and Stouts are basically the same. They’re the identical twins of beer. They look the same yet have subtle personality differences. But they’re not creepy like those twins in The Shining. Instead, they’re delicious! Porters received their name due to their popularity among river porters in London during the 18th century. Porters are made from dark roasted malts, but flavors vary from beer to beer. Stronger versions used to be distinguished by Strong Porter, Extra Porter, Double Porter, and Stout Porter. Porter was eventually dropped from Stout Porter and most will argue that Stouts are stronger than Porters. But the only ones arguing are true beer geeks.
Tasting beer is the same as tasting a fine wine. It should be a pleasurable experience for all your senses. Sure, we all love guzzling down a bottle from time to time, but a lot of thought and effort was put into that 12 oz. bottle. Every time you gulp without tasting, a beer maker cries somewhere…off in the distance….You don’t want to make a brewmaster cry do you? I thought not! So today we will learn the correct way to taste beer, which will lead us into our next discussion of reviewing beers.