October 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm 1 comment

If you’d have known me during my college years, you’d be pretty, pretty, pretty surprised to see me blogging about beer. I never really liked the taste. When I was wee, my father used to let me have sips of his Special Export. I’d smile and say “Yum,” mainly because I was getting to taste an ‘adult beverage,’ but frankly, it was nasty. I used to think, ‘Beer would taste better, if it had chocolate in it.’ I now seriously doubt that. BUT, I do like beer with lemonade in it. It’s a wonderfully, refreshing summer drink.

Okay, so back to my college days. When the little man and I would go on a date, it was a cheap night. Between the two of us, we would share a bottle of Pabst, because neither of us liked it warm, and a bottle of our own, would be warm by the time it was half empty. Why on earth didn’t I just have a soda? No, I thought I needed to do the college thing and drink beer. (FYI, I never did drink beer in high school, even though 18 was the legal age at the time. A: I didn’t like it. B: My mother would have grounded me for life.) Once at a bar just outside of my college town, I did have a cherry beer, and I thought that was pretty good. The cherry juice killed the beer taste.

Fast forward to going out as a grown adult and beer was the cheapest beverage to buy. It was a time when mixed drinks were on the downslide and wine was the drink of choice. I used to go out with my sister-in-law and because neither of us had much money, beer was our drink. Again, why didn’t I just buy a soda? Should have. I still didn’t like the taste of beer, but Miller Lite changed that. Miller Lite wasn’t bad. Why? Because there’s barely a beer taste! At the time, it was a good thing…like beer training wheels. Guys in bars would say, “How can you drink that? It tastes like piss.” Well, I guess it’s because I’ve never drunk piss. I didn’t get their point, because I thought it tasted okay and was certainly better than Budweiser, with that ‘hint of oak’ flavor. And besides, I was living in Milwaukee, home of Miller, Schlitz, and Pabst. Why did I drink Pabst in college? It wasn’t to support the home team, it was because we played a game to see who could rip off the blue ribbon intact. Nothing better to do in a bar.

I continued the Miller Lite consumption, though mostly I switched up to wine, until I had Foster’s Lager. I know, Aussie’s say Foster’s is piss, but I thought it tasted okay. After that, I started trying new beers whenever I saw something interesting on the menu and now, I’m a beer snob. I do like the taste, provided it has body and flavor. My current favorite is St. Bernardus Abt. 12. It’s a bit dark, but not Guiness dark. The wine guy at Whole Foods suggested it and I really like its creamy body. Not that I drink beer very often, but when I do, I want something pleasing. Whole Foods has a good selection of beer and you can buy a sampler pack…six bottles of your choice.

I was at WF a few weeks ago and I saw a stand of Pumking beer. As I stood looking at it, wondering how disappointed I’d be, because the sign said, “Tastes like pumpkin pie,” an employee stopped and said, “Have you had this? It’s great! It does taste just like pumpkin pie!”

Seriously? Pumpkin pie in a bottle? I’ll drink to that! I had to try it. Well, I just opened the bottle and there’s nary a hint of pumkin pie. Supposedly, there’s pumpkin puree in it. Can’t taste it. It’s decent beer, made by Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, NY.

So mostly, I’ve become a big fan of micro-breweries. It’s great to support smaller companies like New Glarus Brewery in Wisconsin. They have beer with names like Fat Squirrel and Spotted Cow. I need to find a bottle of their Wisconsin Belgian Red, which is made with a full pound of Door County cherries in every bottle. I’m not afraid of fruity beer. In fact, if you turned up your nose to the beer and lemonde, you need to try it.

If a restaurant has a beer sampler, it’s my drink of choice. I’ve tried Kona Brewing Company’s and Moab Brewery’s, because and it’s a great way to try a variety, without being stuck with a whole glass of nasty. Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland is another good place to try.

Since I live in the Cincinnati area, I need to make a point of getting out and trying more local brews. Beer is supposed to be good for you, in moderation. A beer a day keeps the doctor away, says a European study. It’s a beverage that is coming into its own and no longer just a bland or bitter drink. If you know of a wonderful beer I should try, please post it in a comment. I’d love to add some new ones to my list.

Followup – over Thanksgiving my future son-in-law brought me a bottle of Wisconsin Belgian Red, the cherry beer. It was good. It did have a cherry background flavor and I liked the ale combination.


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Brian  |  November 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I really like Three Floyds brewery. It is located in Munster, Indiana, which is really close to Chicago. I also like Lagunitas, which is in California. Their “Little Sumpin Sumpin” is delicious. It is a little strong but it doesn’t taste like piss, that’s for sure.


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