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Uniting the Beer Community
June 3, 2009 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Greatbrewers.com releases the Beer Sommelier. Beer is increasingly considered the ideal beverage to accompany food for its palate cleansing carbonation and its diverse range of styles featuring flavor and aroma characteristics that can enhance any dish. But selecting the right beer style to complement a specific dish, and tracking down a retailer that carries that style presents inherent challenges. Masterfully select the best beer styles to pair with any dish, see examples of those styles, and track down individual beers in your neighborhood with the Beer Sommelier.

"The process starts with a vertical row of large picture boxes, each repping a main ingredient, from the meaty (beef, fish, poultry, game), to the not-so-meaty (nuts, fruit, cheese, chocolate); click one and a second row'll appear, offering schloads of popular dishes within the category, i.e., Pasta breaks into mac & cheese, lo mein, lasagna, etc., Bread rocks blinis and corn fritters, and Seafood runs from chowder to caviar, for that special occasion worth a vintage 1974 Schlitz. Once a dish's specified, a third row'll appear featuring general styles of beer to pair with it (i.e., German-style strong doppelbock, Bamberg-style Marzen Rauchbier) as rec'd by a cred-heavy trio of industry vets, with links to a fact sheet on the style (flavor profile, typical ABV, bitterness, appropriate glassware), and myriad examples of the style from a database of over 2,100 craft beers, each with its own page replete with tasting notes, availability, and tap type required, aka, "keg connection." (via Thrillist Nation)
posted by netbros (78 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
How does a person reconcile the bloating effect of drinking beer? Seems to run counter to being an "ideal" beverage to accompany dining.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:22 PM on June 3, 2009


Apparently a German-Style Strong Doppelbock pairs best with baked beans. That, and a whole lot of gas. Also, who drinks beer with ice cream? The food choices are really strange: beer with scrambled eggs?
posted by ornate insect at 1:34 PM on June 3, 2009


Of course beer with scrambled eggs, I mean, it's breakfast.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 1:35 PM on June 3, 2009 [10 favorites]


I wish there were more beers available in 1/6 pony kegs. Now that I'm a homeowner, I want to start homebrewing again and my kegerator does not have room for a full 1/2 barrel keg and a corny.

Until then, I guess I'm drinking for 5.

Still, once I get the CO2 tank refilled, I'm looking at a keg of Fisherman's Brew to last me a few weeks through the summer.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:35 PM on June 3, 2009


Also, who drinks beer with ice cream?

Dude. Guinness float.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:36 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I like beer (especially a cold, crisp Czech pilsner), but, good grief, this is taking a very basic beverage way too seriously. Beer is so great because it is so accessible, and (up until now) so unpretentious.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:39 PM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Subtle Art of Beer Snobbery
posted by 7segment at 1:41 PM on June 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


There's also the sandblaster that over-hopped modern microbrews apply to your tongue. It can kind of suck the subtlety out of any dish.

Beer is fantastic paired with unsubtle food, tho... pizza, tapas, hot wings, ploughman's lunch, grilled or boiled meat and sausages, roasted corn and potatoes.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:43 PM on June 3, 2009


How does a person reconcile the bloating effect of drinking beer?

You know, people always complain about beer being filling or bloating, and I don't really get it. I mean, unless you're having a power hour or something, you drink at a reasonable pace and you oughtn't feel full.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:46 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Beer is increasingly considered the ideal beverage to accompany food

Is this a conspiracy by the beer industry or a grassroots campaign by beer lovers? I've run into this meme a number of places recently and it seems to be a direct frontal assault on wine drinking. Are beer sales really that bad they have to make up the obvious? I mean, people have been drinking beer with food, idealy, for 10,000+ years.
posted by stbalbach at 1:46 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


What do you people have against affordable snobbery? Let the rich be true to themselves and humble, fuck them. We can rock out in a world of pretense, putting on airs, debating about the proper glassware for a heineken, and hanging around in brewpubs with wood veneer discussing hops and specific gravities.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:51 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this a conspiracy by the beer industry or a grassroots campaign by beer lovers?

A little from column A, a little from column B. When was the last time you saw a decent beer list in a decent restaurant? Most places, if you don't want a bottle of wine, your choices are Bud, Miller, or Heineken. Maybe Sam Adams lager if you're lucky. The situation is improving, but it's still really hard to find good food and good beer in the same place. The industry--even the big players like Anheuser-Busch--are working hard to make it acceptable to serve beer alongside fine food, and beer drinkers are getting behind the cause, too.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:52 PM on June 3, 2009


Still, once I get the CO2 tank refilled, I'm looking at a keg of Fisherman's Brew

Oh man, robocop, I don't know if you've had it, but the same company makes a pumpkin stout that is far and away my favorite pumpkin beer of all time. God DAAAAAAMN.

How does a person reconcile the bloating effect of drinking beer?

What you do is you drink more beer.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:03 PM on June 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


A little from column A, a little from column B. When was the last time you saw a decent beer list in a decent restaurant? Most places, if you don't want a bottle of wine, your choices are Bud, Miller, or Heineken. Maybe Sam Adams lager if you're lucky. The situation is improving, but it's still really hard to find good food and good beer in the same place. The industry--even the big players like Anheuser-Busch--are working hard to make it acceptable to serve beer alongside fine food, and beer drinkers are getting behind the cause, too.

I'm curious what others say, but in Oregon I'm just as likely to order a brilliant Pinot as one of 2 dozen locally brewed or distant beers with dinner depending on my mood. In addition to the usual suspects, every fine restaurant I have ventured into locally or in Portland has had several high-end pilsners as well.

Also, "pairing" food and wine/beer is a sad, stupid canard that is in need of euthanization. Drink what you are in the mood for and the food will do it's own thing regardless.
posted by docpops at 2:04 PM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


same company [Cape Ann] makes a pumpkin stout that is far and away my favorite pumpkin beer of all time.

If you're anywhere near Gloucester, they have it on tap at the brewhouse. Or at least they did last weekend.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:07 PM on June 3, 2009


When was the last time you saw a decent beer list in a decent restaurant?

Maybe I'm spoiled by living in a beer drinker's city, but there are two just a stone's throw from me, and I'm not even *in* the city:

Quince
Union
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:09 PM on June 3, 2009


How does a person reconcile the bloating effect of drinking beer?

Belching?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:09 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


> Also, "pairing" food and wine/beer is a sad, stupid canard that is in need of euthanization.

Seconded. That sort of thing is for insufferable bores who enjoy overthinking a plate of beans and a glass of wine at the same time.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:11 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


beer with scrambled eggs?

Brunch! There's a good bar near me that gives out free Bloody Marys with any brunch entree, so I usually go with a friend that likes Bloody Marys, and I give him mine, and he pays for me to have a beer instead. Win/win! There's nothing on a hot summer day like a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs and chorizo, washed down with a cold, bitter IPA.

they have it on tap at the brewhouse.

SWEEEET

Speaking of beer in Massachuesetts, if any other mefites are going to the American Craft Beer Fest, feel free to say hello to me. I'll be the dude who starts the day going, "This is interesting... it has notes of smoke, and charred oak barrels, and a slight caramel undertone," and finishes the day going, "HOLY FUCK THIS IS AN AWESOME TASTE IN MY MOUTH"
posted by Greg Nog at 2:17 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


A little from column A, a little from column B. When was the last time you saw a decent beer list in a decent restaurant?

Something something love my home town something move to Portland something. But, yeah, it's weird ordering beer in other places.
posted by cortex at 2:18 PM on June 3, 2009


I require some sort of 'reverse Beer Sommelier' to tell me what food I should be eating to compliment my steady diet of Milwaukee’s Best Ice.
posted by mazola at 2:23 PM on June 3, 2009


I require some sort of 'reverse Beer Sommelier' to tell me what food I should be eating to compliment my steady diet of Milwaukee’s Best Ice.

May I recommend brautwurst and garlic fries to complement that fine beverage?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:27 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Any beer suggestion list that can put Saranac Lager and Busch on the same recommendation page is by definition useless.

That's sort of like a wine sommelier that says "Hmmmmmmm, with that, I'd recommend either a nice $20 Australian shiraz, or Mad Dog. Either one really."
posted by dotdotdotdotdot at 2:28 PM on June 3, 2009


Philly, the greatest beer drinking city in America, is full of fine restaurants with great beer lists. Even better, it's got plenty of BYOBs which are ten times better.
posted by fixedgear at 2:28 PM on June 3, 2009


When was the last time you saw a decent beer list in a decent restaurant?

If you ever make it to San Pablo, be sure to hit the Happy Gnome. It's draft and bottled collections are outstanding and the food is great.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:30 PM on June 3, 2009


Something something love my home town something move to Portland something.

**sheepish** Well, at least I included the beer lists...
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:34 PM on June 3, 2009


Also, "pairing" food and wine/beer is a sad, stupid canard that is in need of euthanization. Drink what you are in the mood for and the food will do it's own thing regardless.

Generally, I agree. But I ordered the wine pairings with the tasting menu two weeks ago at a great restaurant here in L.A. and it was a very different experience than if I'd just ordered one okay wine. Really, the wine I had with the lamb would not have tasted nearly as good with the various cheeses, and the wines with the cheeses would not have tasted nearly as good with the first course, and so on. And the cheeses in particularly wouldn't have been as good without the wines.

It's not something I would normally do, but it was a vastly different experience with the wine pairings from a skilled sommelier.
posted by Justinian at 2:38 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


(But, yeah, most people clearly don't have a clue what they're talking about when they recommend wine pairings)
posted by Justinian at 2:38 PM on June 3, 2009


Now that I'm a homeowner, I want to start homebrewing again and my kegerator does not have room for a full 1/2 barrel keg and a corny.

How about a second corny keg of homebrew? That's how I roll.
posted by exogenous at 2:47 PM on June 3, 2009


Also, "pairing" food and wine/beer is a sad, stupid canard that is in need of euthanization. Drink what you are in the mood for and the food will do it's own thing regardless.

I prefer to look at it as a way to try a bunch of different wines, just like trying a bunch of different foods. If your sommelier knows what you like, more or less, and knows what dishes you're having, this can make your meal a lot more enjoyable. I'm not much of a wine guy, myself, but have had very good luck throwing myself on the mercy of the sommelier.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:48 PM on June 3, 2009


I get really kind of pissed off whenever I see beer tarted up to seem like wine - case in point, this stupid Ferran Adrià beer (no offense to Ferran Adrià, you're still awesome). I read the little booklet attached to a bottle at the store this weekend and it smacked of that ridiculous attitude of 'hey, it's ok! this is almost like wine so it's ok to drink it with fancy food!' as if the average person needs some kind of cultural permission to drink anything except wine at their dinner parties.

Beer and wine and food are all awesome in their own way. Some beers are great, some suck, some wines are great, some suck. I'm all for finding interesting combinations of beer and food and I'm glad to see people spending time examining the different notes and flavors in beer, but it's a shame that it has to be made to seem so much like wine in the process.
posted by pziemba at 2:50 PM on June 3, 2009


Also, "pairing" food and wine/beer is a sad, stupid canard that is in need of euthanization. Drink what you are in the mood for and the food will do it's own thing regardless.

Respectfully disagree.

True, drink what you're in the mood for and you'll do ok (outside chance your mood is at complete odds with what's on your plate).

On the other hand, a good pairing is more than the sum of its parts. That's not snooty, that's joy!
posted by mazola at 2:51 PM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


I knew of micro-brews, I knew of regional favorites and some great imports. But I never quite realized the lovely range of flavors until I went to a local beer tasting. My wife and I stopped in on a whim (and left in bubbles), and it was a lot of fun. It seems beer brewers are getting into more fun experimentation in recent times, with some beers being aged in brandy barrels and whatnot. My favorite beer of that night was an experimental brew, labeled Velvet Merkin. It seems others liked it, too.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:04 PM on June 3, 2009


A word of advice to the beer snobs from the casual, self-proclaimed "beer geeks": Respect beer, and keep it real (amongst other things, like not getting sh*tfaced).
posted by filthy light thief at 3:08 PM on June 3, 2009


I'm not sure where to begin. To those of us who are really into craft beer, this sort of thing is hardly news. But to judge from some of the reactions here (not to mention the market shares of Budweiser et al), we've got a long way to go.

It may sound like stating the obvious that beer goes well with food, but all too often that means fizzy yellow water paired with pizza and wings. Beer is every bit as varied as wine both in terms of alcoholic content and flavor profile. It pairs very well with some foods that wine does not. It seems like every Thanksgiving Eric Asimov writes a column about the difficulty of finding a wine for turkey, when beer would be both more traditional (the Pilgrims weren't growing vinifera grapes on Cape Cod) and a better match. One problem, as uncleozzy mentions, is that many restaurants will devote pages to their wine list and give pairing recommendations on the menu, but limit beer choices to the likes of Heineken. Another is that industrial brewers have hoodwinked the public into thinking that their swill is what beer is all about.

Is this a conspiracy by the beer industry or a grassroots campaign by beer lovers?

Well, the first site linked is run by a family of distributors that by its own admission, has as its "core portfolio ... the Anheuser-Busch InBev family of products." On the other hand, savor just happened less than a week ago, and the largest sponsoring brewery was Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams), which has a market share of about 0.5 percent - a couple orders of magnitude smaller than Bud. There are also some cool restaurants that hold beer dinners from time to time. Then there's the success of great brewpubs that venture beyond the standard bar food.

Not to mention that you can enjoy world class beer for a lot less than wine of similar quality. If I weren't able to buy wine at cost through work, I'd barely drink any.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 3:15 PM on June 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Maybe that should read "many restaurants outside Portland." Come on guys, don't rub it in!
posted by HumuloneRanger at 3:23 PM on June 3, 2009


Respect beer, and keep it real (amongst other things, like not getting sh*tfaced).

Jeez, do you think there were enough "helpful tips" on that page? Way to take all the fun out of beer, guys.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:25 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Vaguely related...

I recently went to a Korean BBQ. At this place they regularly swap out the grill whenever it gets to crusted with carbonized stuff. During one of those grill replacements I made a sad face and commented to the waiter on how the bits stuck to the grill are really the best and I wish he'd let us scrape them off first. He nodded and gave me the usual reply about the health hazard carbonized meat can represent. I nodded in joyless defeat.
But then he looked over the table and said:
"But I see you're drinking beer and cancels out the dangerous side effects!"
He didn't swap out the grill for a long time that evening.

Beer. It fixes everything.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:33 PM on June 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


ugh

read "and that cancels out..."
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:33 PM on June 3, 2009


How does a person reconcile the bloating effect of drinking beer?

The best results seem to be obtained through realization, accompanied by unzipification, followed by micturation.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:38 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just helped out a caterer friend of mine pick his list of beers that he'll provide for events. It was a fun experience, and I think we both learned a few things.

As a practical matter, most people will usually want to observe some very basic rules about pairing beer with food. Eating a spicy, creamy curry? Probably you don't want to pair that with an imperial stout; probably you want something light and crisp. Eating stew on a cold winter night? Maybe you want something a bit more substantial.

There are reasons to break any kind of pairing "rule". They're just guidelines, for heaven's sake. But a few basic guidelines can help the inexperienced taster avoid taste and mouthfeel combinations that most people find unpleasant.
posted by gurple at 3:43 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


"But I see you're drinking beer and cancels out the dangerous side effects!"

Two carcinogens make a preventative effect? :)
posted by gurple at 3:44 PM on June 3, 2009


There are reasons to break any kind of pairing "rule". They're just guidelines, for heaven's sake. But a few basic guidelines can help the inexperienced taster avoid taste and mouthfeel combinations that most people find unpleasant.

I have to agree. "Pairings" in any part of cuisine aren't in and of themselves pretentious at all - of course a dark, red wine-based sauce is going to go better with your lamb shanks than using hollandaisse. In every good meal the different elements involved compliment, balance and contrast each other. If you're going to have beer with your meal, there's no reason why you shouldn't consider how it compliments, balances or contrasts what's on your plate.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:56 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


A word of advice to the beer snobs from the casual, self-proclaimed "beer geeks": Respect beer, and keep it real (amongst other things, like not getting sh*tfaced)

Except the beer advocate reviews are some of the most pretentious, arbitrary adjective strewn malarkey this side of Wine Spectator magazine. And they may respect beer, but the brothers (and their friends) certainly don't respect the waiters and waitresses who serve them (speaking from personal experience). And getting shitfaced has nothing to do with drinking beer, per se, so leave those people out of it!

Regarding the whole "cheap snobbery" angle, the way I see it, to be a connoisseur of anything is to diminish your enjoyment of many things. So, good luck with that.

Beer is so great because it is so accessible, and (up until now) so unpretentious.

Seconded, thirded, fourthed, fifthed, and sixthed.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 4:46 PM on June 3, 2009


I like to talk about how beer is unpretentious right after detailing my fondness for Trappist ales.
posted by box at 5:00 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


>Beer is so great because it is so accessible, and (up until now) so unpretentious.

Seconded, thirded, fourthed, fifthed, and sixthed.


"Up until now"? By that, do you mean in the exposure to beer experienced by the majority of Americans up until the mid-90s, or something pretty restricted like that?

Because, I assure you, beer snobbery has hundreds of years of tasty, tasty tradition behind it, if not thousands.
posted by gurple at 5:08 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not (I should hasten to add) that there's only one way to enjoy beer. There's plenty of room for beer snobs and beer snobs alike.
posted by gurple at 5:12 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


er, beer snobs and beer slobs. You get the idea.
posted by gurple at 5:12 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Beer is so great because it is so accessible, and (up until now) so unpretentious.

It's happening with water too.
posted by Ritchie at 5:26 PM on June 3, 2009


a decent beer list in a decent restaurant?

I think it's pretty rare, though Border Manager is stopping me from following the links to the restaurants you guys provided. My experience is that every town has restaurants that offer 512 bottles of beer and 286 styles on draft - but that's not the same to me at all as "a decent beer list." It's just showing off, yeah? To me a decent list presents ten to twelve select beers (or wine) that have been chosen to complement the cuisine.
posted by kanewai at 5:34 PM on June 3, 2009


KokuRyu: I like beer (especially a cold, crisp Czech pilsner), but, good grief, this is taking a very basic beverage way too seriously. Beer is so great because it is so accessible, and (up until now) so unpretentious.

I would propose to illustrate my views on this matter with a thought experiment.

Imagine, for a moment, that where you live "cheese" means bright yellow, plastic-y Kraft Singles type of nonsense. Maybe Kraft isn't the only brand making this trash, maybe several companies are, but the end result is a range of offerings so similar as to be indistinguishable in a blind taste test, yet vigorously backed by individual ad campaigns. Imagine that, due to a 15 year milk shortage, an entire generation grew up not knowing what hand made, artisanal cheese tasted like, and therefore not only accepted the Kraft Singles, but raised their children on them as well.

Then, through a confluence of mostly unrelated causes, a small group of people begin openly discussing what the rest of the world has known for years: your "cheese" sucks. They bring back traditional recipes, revive nearly-lost styles, and also plunge head-long into breaking new ground, imagining not only new things to include in the make-up of the cheese, but whole new varieties of cheese, as well as previously unimagined ways of aging the cheese. They incorporate local and regional ingredients that make the rest of the world scoff and mock, but then slowly take notice. They, in short, begin a National Cheese Renaissance, which makes itself felt in even the most traditional of cheese cultures. The old guard begin using those new ingredients, crafting cheeses special for that market, and, most surprisingly, importing those same cheeses.

But wait, as stupendous as it all seems, all is not yet well. Popular culture is still permeated with the idea that cheese == Kraft Singles. The notion that cheese can be, and is more, even within these hallowed lands has not yet begun to pierce the national veil. To this end, you take it upon yourself to refuse to eat shabby, cheap, plastic-tasting cheese. You insist only on hand-crafted, traditional cheeses, from around the world. You savor the differences between the sheep's milk, the goat's and the cow's, the raw cheeses and the pasteurized. All while spending no more than the people who buy the same exact Kraft Singles imported from Holland and pretend that it is actually better.

Some would call you a snob. I would call you a canny consumer. Some would accuse you of ruining the simple joy of mac-and-cheese, or grilled cheese sandwiches. I would agree with you that grilled Swiss beats the pants off whatever they are eating. And if they don't agree, you wouldn't loose any sleep over it, because you would know as sure as the sun was in the sky that any pretension they perceived was merely your joy at enjoying something wonderful where so many people seemed so thoroughly unable to do the same.

As for me, I'm going to go have a nice, cold, hand-crafted Pennsylvanian glass of cheese.
I mean beer.
posted by paisley henosis at 5:53 PM on June 3, 2009 [14 favorites]


to judge from some of the reactions here (not to mention the market shares of Budweiser et al), we've got a long way to go.

Well I can't imagine a wine pairing list that bothered with food items like baked beans, scrambled eggs, ice cream, macaroni and cheese. Who wants to drink beer with sweet crepes? So maybe a better website about the possibilities of beer-food pairings would also help. Also, while I'm all for having a good beer suggested to me to match lamb or what have you, I can't be alone in thinking that some dishes (pasta, for instance) really do go better with wine (kind of like how I think spicy foods like curries naturally go better with beer).
posted by ornate insect at 7:02 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Paisley, you had me until this: All while spending no more than the people who buy the exact same Kraft singles. Because all those fine hand crafted beers and cheeses (and olive oils and jams and sausages et al.) cost a hell of a lot more than mass-produced Budweiser and cheese-products. You need less of the real thing to feel sated, but it still is gonna cost ya.
posted by kanewai at 7:06 PM on June 3, 2009


spicy foods like curries naturally go better with beer

ooh, try something like albarino, a dry rose, a white German wine like riesling or gewurtztraminer, or a creamy viognier, with spicy foods! My personal favorite with SE Asian curries ( and guaranteed to send any wine snobs fleeing in terror): Lambrusco.

For beer I think grilled food, or the nice heavy Alsatian food my grandmother used to make.
posted by kanewai at 7:18 PM on June 3, 2009


Because all those fine hand crafted beers and cheeses (and olive oils and jams and sausages et al.) cost a hell of a lot more than mass-produced Budweiser and cheese-products.

Or you could make the beer yourself: with all grain brewing, ingredient costs for a five gallon batch (e.g., about 48 bottles) are around $20 and you can make as good or better than you can buy.
posted by exogenous at 7:28 PM on June 3, 2009


kanewai: Paisley, you had me until this: All while spending no more than the people who buy the exact same Kraft singles. Because all those fine hand crafted beers and cheeses (and olive oils and jams and sausages et al.) cost a hell of a lot more than mass-produced Budweiser and cheese-products. You need less of the real thing to feel sated, but it still is gonna cost ya.

True indeed. But a 6-pack of very good, domestic, craft beer costs the same price as a 6-pack of imported Euro-lager. The people who are buying Beck's and Heineken and those beers are paying the same amount as craft beer, but getting almost the same quality as Bud, Miller or Coors. Stella is even more expensive, for the same stuff. Guinness is another good example.

On a mostly unrelated note, Firefox spellchecker seems to have "Guinness" and "Heineken" included.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:03 PM on June 3, 2009


Interestingly, Czech Pilseners are the inspiration for much of the mass-produced swill that passes for beer in the US.

I've tried several of the "real deal" offerings from the Czech Republic and am far more comfortable with Sam Adams, New Belgium, Flying Dog, Pete's, Tommyknocker, Sierra Nevada...

Lately I'm more of a whisky/whiskey fan. First Talisker (mmm), then Glenmorangie (meh), Glenfiddich (meh), then Laphroaig (woohoo!).
posted by aydeejones at 8:24 PM on June 3, 2009


I think paisley laid out an excellent argument above - although (while worth it) good beer is decidedly more expensive than swill.

Well I can't imagine a wine pairing list that bothered with food items like baked beans, scrambled eggs, ice cream, macaroni and cheese.

a) That's what you get from a site that - as I pointed out - is run by a group that earns its keep from industrial beer. I hardly think it should be the poster child for this movement; it just happened to be the catalyst for this discussion.

b) You've clearly never had mac and cheese from the Publick House.

Also, while I'm all for having a good beer suggested to me to match lamb or what have you, I can't be alone in thinking that some dishes (pasta, for instance) really do go better with wine

I'll agree. Some foods are better with beer, some are better with wine, and some go very well with both. (Although I did find that a Hitachino White was a perfect match for pasta with pesto and squash.) Sure, you'll find plenty of beer geeks who will go out of their way to disparage wine. But I think that's somewhat understandable when they catch flak from both sides - fizzy-yellow-beer drinkers who consider them pretentious and effete, and oenophiles who mock craft beer drinkers for attempting to elevate what is so obviously a knuckle-draggers' beverage.

If you're interested in an informative, well-written source on pairing beer and food, check out The Brewmaster's Table by Garrett Oliver.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 9:04 PM on June 3, 2009


the Beer Sommelier.

It's throat-punching time.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:38 PM on June 3, 2009


Whatever, just quit drinking Heineken and "ultra light beer", and you'll be fine.
posted by Super Hans at 10:18 PM on June 3, 2009


the Beer Sommelier.

It's throat-punching time.


Ok, would you prefer the Swill-ier?
posted by mazola at 10:50 PM on June 3, 2009


HumuloneRanger: I think paisley laid out an excellent argument above - although (while worth it) good beer is decidedly more expensive than swill.

It can be much, much more expensive, but it honestly doesn't have to be at all.

For the price of 6 uninspired, generic Stella or Heineken you can buy 6 of any of: Anchor Porter or pretty much any other Anchor Brewery beer, Big Sky IPA, or almost any other Big Sky offering, Full Sky IPA, or pretty much any other Full Sky offering, Lagunitas Chronic, or most Lagunitas offerings, the popular 'gateway' New Belgium Fat Tire, as well as many other New Belgium beers, Dale's Pale Ale, the famous craft-in-a-can, or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, as well as most SN offerings.

All of those within a few cents of Stella, for the same amount of beer. More beer, actually, because Stella is 330ml bottles, while the US beers are 12oz (~335ml). I'm sure lots of people could make a much more expensive list, but these are all real beers, and any of them would put the Euro-lagers to shame. (For clarity's sake, I mean the mass-market yellow fizzy nothing beers, the European versions of Bud and Coors. Real lagers are great, and German Pils is one of my favorite beer styles.)
posted by paisley henosis at 10:51 PM on June 3, 2009


Sorry to harp on this, it just bugs me when people act like real beer being more expensive is an unavoidable implicit reality, when it really doesn't have to be.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:08 PM on June 3, 2009


Paisley, all those beers you mention run about 50% higher than Heineken in my neighborhood.
posted by kanewai at 11:30 PM on June 3, 2009


What?! Wait... robocop is bleeding; you carbonate you beer with a gas tank instead of having the microbes do it for you?!
posted by porpoise at 11:48 PM on June 3, 2009


I hit send too soon ...

I just opened a bottle of Becks, and though I am perfectly happy with it (it pairs well with hot muggy nights like tonight) I'd be worried to offer a beer snob some. Is it a Real Beer? Or Euro-Piss? I really have no idea.

So while I like the idea of pairing tastes and being mindful of quality, sometimes it's ok to just pop open a brew without being corrected - and I know plenty of guys, including family, who will let you know exactly how disappointed they are if you order the wrong beer.
posted by kanewai at 11:49 PM on June 3, 2009


Eh. Those are like the dudes who act disappointed if you don't follow baseball, or drive a crappy car, or haven't heard of their favorite band, though -- it's just another small part of Sturgeon's law: "Ninety percent of all humans act like dicks about their hobby-horses."

As far as the some foods are better with beer, some better with wine thing, though -- I like the fact that beer's usually lower in ABV than wine, so I can drink more of it with a meal. I think that's a large part of why I'm more likely to pair beer with foods than wine.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:04 AM on June 4, 2009


That's not snooty

Respectfully, that's what snooty people always say right before/after being snooty.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:15 AM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, who drinks beer with ice cream?

Me! Stouts that are sweetish with coffee and chocolate flavors? Delicious with desserts.

It's really not that complicated: like the same color looks different sitting next to different colors and patterns, the same flavor adjacent to different flavors tastes different. Some of these different tastes are more delicious than others. Discovering what's delicious is fun, therefore pairings are fun.

To anybody who likes drinking beer and thinking about pairings but thinks beeradvocate and the like overdo it, I'd like to recommend the Beer School podcast. I think they do a fine job of not being jackasses.
posted by clavicle at 7:16 AM on June 4, 2009


Know what's worse? A beer snob who just returned from a Radiohead concert.
posted by applemeat at 7:19 AM on June 4, 2009


Me! Stouts that are sweetish with coffee and chocolate flavors? Delicious with desserts.

And let's not forget about beershakes.
posted by cortex at 7:23 AM on June 4, 2009


paisley henosis: ...German Pils is one of my favorite beer styles...
kokoryu: I like beer (especially a cold, crisp Czech pilsner),

Perhaps because they are lighter than ales and stouts--perennial darlings of the beer elite, and, as aydeejones noted upthread apparently inspired our generic megabrews, Pils are underrated, imo. I'm disappointed when a beer bar, brewery, or restaurant that has a wide tap selection (usually with at least 7 different ales) has got no Pils. Beer aficionados trivialize the style, which I think is unfortunate because a crisp, bright, bitter pilsner is usually exactly what I want, and a really good one can surprise a Heineken or MGD drinker to discover that beer is actually quite delicious.
posted by applemeat at 7:34 AM on June 4, 2009


I am intrigued by this beershake and wish to subscribe to its newsletter.

Beer Sommelier does need some work, though. The choice and categorization of main ingredients is borderline nonsensical to me. I think it's really crying out for some faceted classification.
posted by clavicle at 7:58 AM on June 4, 2009


I just wanted to throw something into this conversation that probably belongs. Ray Daniels, author of one of the best books about brewing beer on the market (for home brewers at least) has started a program to get restaurant staff more knowledgeable about beer. The Cicerone program is designed to get people to know more about not just beer, but about how to properly serve and dispense the beer. As any of us snobs know, there's not much worse than finding a decent beer on tap at a restaurant only to have it taste like cheese because the lines are dirty. Or to be served a nice microbrewed beer in a frosted glass.

Also, as you lucky Portlander undoubtedly can witness, Portland OR tied for first (with Asheville, NC) in the Papazian's Beer City USA poll. (As mentioned http://www.metafilter.com/81518/Best-Beer-City-USA.)
posted by bDiddy at 8:00 AM on June 4, 2009


a small group of people begin openly discussing what the rest of the world has known for years: your "cheese" sucks

If only people could appreciate that as an opinion, and not try to reduce it to an absolute fact, we could go a long way towards reducing snobbery in the world. Nevertheless, as an opinion, "your cheese sucks" is as unenlightened as it gets. The whole idea that if people don't drink what you drink, or like what you like, that they are stupid or uninformed is one of the ugliest conclusions that a human being could come to.

Besides, Kraft Singles aren't even cheese.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 8:48 AM on June 4, 2009


Seconded, thirded, fourthed, fifthed, and sixthed.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 4:46 PM on June 3 [+] [!]


I'd have thought you would say "Infinitied."
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:46 AM on June 4, 2009


My experience is that every town has restaurants that offer 512 bottles of beer and 286 styles on draft - but that's not the same to me at all as "a decent beer list." It's just showing off, yeah?

Even though I posted links with large lists of beers, I agree, it's quality, not quantity that counts. However, I have been generally disappointed in the pairings in restaurants of wines and food and would probably share that feeling about beer pairings as well. De gustibus and all that. The best a restaurant can really do is provide a quality selection. But, damn, there are a lot of good beers out there than most restaurants don't carry. Hence my fondness for the Happy Gnome. Plus the kitchen.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:50 AM on June 4, 2009


A much better map for those in the mid-atlantic.
posted by HumanComplex at 12:25 PM on June 4, 2009


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