"Try It, You'll Like It"
This month column was written by Bob's friend
I once asked Bob Montemurro how to go about getting into new beer
styles. It was the best question I ever asked since thanks to his
advice I soon began to enjoy a much larger part of the world of craft
beer. So what did Bob suggest? It was simple - start with what you
already know you like.
Take Pale Ale as an example. Do you like an English-style pale ale,
along the lines of a Bass? Now try one that has a bit of a deeper
malt flavor, for instance from a smoked malt, like can be found in a
Belhaven Scottish Ale or in an Ommegang Cup O Kyndnes from
Cooperstown, New York.
Maybe you like a hoppy American-style one like a Sierra Nevada
Pale Ale. In that case, you might like to go a little stronger into the
world of hops and try an American Double IPA like Victory Hop
Wallop, Moylan's Hopsickle, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA,
Weyerbacher Double Simcoe, or Avery Maharaja.
You could mix things up a bit more and try a newer style, like the
Belgian IPA. Basically, the Belgians are following the American lead
and putting more hops into some of their traditional ales and coming
up with some pretty interesting beers. Try a Houblon Chouffe
Dobbelen IPA Tripel or an Urthel Hop-It from Belgium or Terrapin's
Monk's Revenge stateside in Georgia and see if you agree.
If you like beer along the lines of a Lindemans Framboise, which is a
somewhat sweet lambic, try something a little drier but still in the
Belgian Lambic arena like a Kriek De Ranke. If you would like to
venture a bit farther into the funkier versions of Belgian lambics, you
might try Cantillon's Lou Pepe.
If you enjoy fruit like flavors consider Belgian and French Saisons.
These often carry both fruit and spice notes. Also from Belgium, you
could try the classic Saison Dupont. Sly Fox in Pennsylvania
produces one of the best commercial examples in its Saison Vos as
does California's North Coast Brewery with its Le Merle.
If you sometimes drink a big alcohol "malt liquor" try sipping on a
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine, Stone Double Bastard, Dogfish
Head Old School Barleywine, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, or
Bell's Expedition Stout. All of these, and other similarly strong beers,
will provide a relaxing kick of alcohol with a plethora of pleasing
aromas and tastes.
Always remember, as Bob told me, that when we talk about
branching out into new beers, it does not always necessitate bigger
flavors and alcohol levels. Case in point is my fondness for Kölsch.
This German beer is indigenous to the city of Cologne and is a
lighter beer in both color and alcohol but it carries subtle fruit flavors
that are most enjoyable.
I can promise that if you follow some of these suggestions they will
truly expand your beer appreciation.
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Bob and Friends Speak of Beer......
My thanks to Nelson for this month's
column. See you next time to
"speak about beer".