Stylin' with Beer!
March 23, 2006 8:22 AM   Subscribe

"How to Save a Beer Style" by Michael Jackson (no, not that Michael Jackson). It seems that there are one or two, including the 10 Easiest to brew yourself. There are several styles of Belgian beers alone. In the U.S. we can thank Alan Cranston and Jimmy Carter for decriminalizing homebrewing in 1978. For those requiring an education there's Beer 101. Cheers!
posted by spock (18 comments total)
If anyone makes Kriek at home, send me some? : >
posted by amberglow at 8:40 AM on March 23, 2006

ah, makes me nostalgic. My favorite beer just died.
posted by jrb223 at 8:41 AM on March 23, 2006

That's a nice article about what got MJ started. I liked this little bit of a comparison:
I comforted myself with the thought that it must have been equally frustrating for the musicologists who went to the Mississippi Delta in the 1950s to record blues artists with a view to saving and popularising their music. On reflection, it was easier for them. If they could get a tape on to radio, the listeners could decide whether they liked Blind Preacher Johnson's 12-string guitar. If I wrote an article about a sour Flemish Red Ale, my readers still could not taste it.
I also liked the 10 easiest link. It might finally get me to try my hand.
posted by OmieWise at 8:50 AM on March 23, 2006

See also.
posted by spock at 8:54 AM on March 23, 2006

I'll homebrew again when I can get a decent home tapping system. The thought of wrestling with those bottles again makes my hands cry!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:08 AM on March 23, 2006

Ah yes, Beer Michael Jackson. I recall a tv series of his where he traveled countries famous for their beers.
When he announced Rodenbach Grand Cru the best beer he knew I immediately bought it at the local beer specialty shop.
A dark inklike acid brew like that I knew instantly I coud never like.

So much for Michael Jackson and connoisseur beers.
posted by jouke at 9:24 AM on March 23, 2006

I was outside Philadelphia on business last week, and had dinner at the Victory Brewing Co., one of the larger microbreweries. I've occasionally had their hop devil (an American IPA) in bottles, but it was a different animal altogether fresh at the brewery. There's a lot to be said for "drinking local" and supporting the local scene.

That said, the American craft beer scene is interesting. The current trend is for ever bigger and more extreme beers -- higher ABV, more hops, more malt, more crazy Belgian-style flavors. It's not necessarily a bad thing (I am a bit of a hop-head), but I think it tends to turn off inexperienced beer drinkers. When you switch from Bud Light, even Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (one of the most innocuous of the mega-micros) seems a bit outlandish. Now imagine handing that same person a DIPA like Dogfish Head 90-Minute. Preserving traditional styles -- I think the traditional English bitter and mild are great places for new drinkers to start -- is vital to maintaining a reasonable "entry barrier" into good beer.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:47 AM on March 23, 2006

Save a beer style? Eradicate 'em all through consumption, I say!
posted by mazola at 9:49 AM on March 23, 2006

Mmm.... Dogfish 90"....

It seems that only in the past few years have people started to think of beers in the same way that they do wines: as varied and interesting in their own right, and not limited to a minor selection of bland tropes. But then, I could just have been ignorant of the interesting beers out there until a few years ago. Who knows?
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:53 AM on March 23, 2006

I'll homebrew again when I can get a decent home tapping system. The thought of wrestling with those bottles again makes my hands cry!

You mean like this, robocop? [self-link, gloat]
posted by gurple at 10:13 AM on March 23, 2006

excellent, gurple (or should we call you burple?)
posted by spock at 10:39 AM on March 23, 2006

gurple, that's awesome
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:55 AM on March 23, 2006

Been there, bought that. still jealous

I'm managed to become wise in the ways of line and pressure balance, so the foam isn't much of an issue anymore.

Having a kegerator of my own (plus at least tree good beer stores in my area) has kept me from brewing my own. I hope that by getting a home keg for my homebrews, I can enthuse myself again.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:08 AM on March 23, 2006

uncleozzy - right now, I'm recommending that inexperienced beer drinkers take home a sixer of the Abita Fleur-de-Lis Restoration Ale. Double IPA fans won't be much for it. It hits a nice hop balance with decent citrus/creaminess... but you can tell that it ain't all-malt. (Well, it doesn't taste like it, at least. Something corn-syrupy going on in there.) Regardless, it's less hoppy than Sierra Nevada, good for the price, and a buck gets kicked back to St. Bernard parish.
posted by suckerpunch at 11:28 AM on March 23, 2006

suckerpunch: Restoration *is* a pretty good beer, which is suprising because of Abita's typical ever-so-slightly-more-beerlike-and-browner-than-Bud output.
posted by turbodog at 12:02 PM on March 23, 2006

I got rid of the keg fridge and picked up a Tap-A-Draft instead. Very happy with it.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:08 PM on March 23, 2006

Mrs. Plinth and I just finished pulling a tap through the beer firdge last week. She got me a tap with a Stratocaster handle. Love that woman.

Meantime, homebrewing made me more aware of styles of beer and has made me more willing to try the unusual as well as to come to realize what beers please me most (and that list varies with the seasons).

I've tried watermelon lager (odd) and lambics and dunkels and so on. I patronize my local microbreweries because, well, they make some pretty dang good beer. I talk my local brew shopkeeprs ears off and listen to what they have to say.

I take a less scientific approach to brewing than some and just enjoy the process and the outcome. I've had only one batch of beer come out poorly, and most have been very enjoyable. I've also established a good symbiotic relationship with my next-door neightboor who grows hops.

Meantime, I've got some 90 Schilling Scotch ale which will knock you off your ass and a Kililan's Red clone to be made sometime soon.
posted by plinth at 5:17 PM on March 23, 2006

I wish I knew Rodenbach was around all this time! I just started drinking it about a year ago. Whoever said their Grand Cru is nasty needs to expand their horizons! Other than the fact it's aged, it's hardly even a thick or dark beer when compared with some beers out there.

Rodenbach also combines their traditional beer with cherry juice to make RedBach, which I think is delicious.
posted by r3tr0 at 6:30 AM on March 24, 2006

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