Beer Review from a Boy Named Sue

“Ah youth, what a fleeting pubmate she may be…unfettered in the nuance of prose nor pose, but silhouetted against the enlightened background of living and drinking.”

Recall those eloquent dispensations of soliloquy throughout the annals of literature? Well, neither do I. I have absolutely no idea what the hell it is I just said…but it damn well sure sounds good. And what I do know (although word smithing might it not be) is the lavishing of my gullet in the sweet [or bitter or malty or funky or dank (easy hop heads) or sour or ok-we-get-it] revelations of:

“Damn, that beer was good!”

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I, sir or ma’am or smar’am (trans), was, am, and in my heart (sorry Mom) always will be a bartender–but not a real one. It’s easy to pour a craft beer and too oft have I been so graced and “treated” to the “mixology douche-baggery.”

But what I do know is, BEER…

[Not the ins-and-outs of making it; the science the beergeeks lose their virginity to (i.e. barreling, gravity, fermentation, or the esoteric nature and search for the perfect hop.) Cue The Endless Summer soundtrack. Hey b-geeks, you do know they were surfing…with real chicks…in bikinis!!]

…and the simple words ya use to recommend it!

What I am talking about is all of us. Those of us that love that crisp, cold, delicious and have-no-idea-why-the-hell-I-love-the-frig-outta-this bottled/tapped beverage of adult proportion…AND…who just wanna enjoy a damn good beer!

AND THAT’S WHY I AM HERE. “WHY?” YOU ASK. BECAUSE I’M BETTER AT TELLING YOU YOU NEED TO DRINK IT THAN YOU ARE AT TELLING YOU YOU NEED TO DRINK IT! Duh.

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So, ok, what’s next? This:

THE BELLY-UP GUIDE TO BEER by A Boy Named Sue

(Talking barley pop the way ya do when ya belly-up on a barstool.)

I could’ve named my inaugural column “My 1st ‘Brew’ Love” because most peeps I know that like beer seem to have their favorite one. Makes sense. And that’s what we’re gonna do. We’ll talk about a different beer each and every time–one I’d recommend to you if you belly’d up to my bar. When it comes to bartending, it’s what I do best…making recos people love!

I always share with peeps just starting to learn about beer that, in general, ya either have a malt palate or a hops palate. Don’t get me wrong. Palates can change, but you typically start out one way or the other. Either you like flavors that are richer, sweeter, smoother (‘malty”) or you like flavors that are more aromatic, bitter, pungent (“hoppy”). My palate: definitely a malty palate. My best friend: undoubtedly a hoppy palate. Although a malt fiend, I’ve learned to dig what hop heads enjoy.

And, so, without further ado: My 1st “Brew” Love….

BARLEY POP #1: AVENTINUS Weizen Doppelbock (Schneider Weiss Brewery – Bavaria, Germany)

AVENTINUS is the first beer I drank and truly loved. It’s without a doubt My 1st “Brew” Love and was really my introduction to a truly “damn good beer.” And everyone needs to have one! (Both a 1st “Brew” Love and an Aventinus…but I digress.)

Aventinus is a darker brown, malty Weizen Doppelbock from Bavaria (southern Germany). It’s got a roasty, bready, slightly sweet and caramelly richness to it, yet drinks surprisingly light, crisp and smooth making it dangerously easy to drink at 8% ABV (so all-day Oktoberfest can turn into tomorrow morning’s Oh-nofest real quickly). The higher ABV% isn’t overpowering or too boozy or strong flavored. It smells delicious and tastes EVEN BETTER! It’s most often served in a curvy, sexy shaped German glass that doesn’t look like a pint glass or a beer stein mug (see also Brigitte Nielsen circa Beverly Hills Cop II or the Jägermeister chick, and, I quote, “Of course it’s cold. It’s German!”).

The Germans have been doing beer for centuries and been doing it extremely well, but what the H-E-double hockey sticks does all this funny German beer speak even mean?

Let’s keep it simple. Beer is basically made by 2 different styles of brewing: ales or lagers. The style is determined by how and how long the brewer ferments the malt (the grain they’re using). Wheat beers (from Bavaria) are brewed similar to ales.

SO: Weizen/Weiss = “wheat”–the style that was and still is popular in Bavaria (5% ABV). Western and northern Germany were brewing lager styles (5% ABV). Over time, lager-style brewers there started brewing higher ABV% beers which became more popular and in-demand. The result: bock and doppelbock. Bock = strong lager and dopplebock = double strong lager.

Well, wouldn’t ya know it…Klaus & the boys in Bavaria wanted stronger “weiss” beer with higher ABV% too…ya don’t say!

“TA-DA!” Weizenbock / Weizen doppelbock. (Higher ABV% wheat beers–the terms are pretty interchangeable.)

A “Prost” or “Skol” or “Cheers”? Nah, how ‘bout some veteran bartender wisdom instead: Drink up! Round 2 time!

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