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April 14, 2015

Mmmmmm…Beer!

Mmmmmm…Beer!

My love affair with craft beer started in June of 2010. Father’s Day weekend. Yup…I remember the exact day because that was the day I brewed my very own homebrewed batch of booze. It was a Hefeweizen.  I exiled my entire family from the kitchen. No one, and I mean NO ONE, was allowed in until I was done. I won’t get into the science behind homebrewing but sanitation is incredibly important. It is your #1 priority and quality ingredients are your second. As far as I was concerned, my family was dirty and I couldn’t have them spoiling my very first batch of beer. Ok fine, so I was a being a little overdramatic. Maybe slightly paranoid too. Whatever!

All I knew was: 6 weeks later that batch of Hefeweizen was incredibly delicious. One of the best beers I had ever had (at the time). Crisp, refreshing, flavorful, beautiful color and amazing head (come on, get your mind out of the gutter). The carbonation was perfect and it just danced off your palate. I haven’t brewed that beer since. Why? Because the world of craft beer and homebrewing is endless – it is the very definition of infinity. Anything is possible, any combination of ingredients. Tweak one ingredient here or there - BAM! Completely different beer with a completely different character. Change your hop additions ever so slightly - BAM! Completely different beer, completely different character. Slightly alter your grain bill - BAM! Ok, you get it. It’s sensitive to subtle changes – LIKE ME! The slightest modification sends you down a whole new road.

So you see I haven’t brewed the same batch since, because I can’t. I need to explore, tinker, adjust, readjust, adjust it again, hold back some hops, increase the hops, change up the yeast, maybe add some yeast from a local brewery, alter the fermentation temperature, etc, etc, etc, etc. If I can think it up I can do it.

National and Local Craft brewers have the same philosophy. They are artists and the brewery is their palette. They have the type of creative freedom that homebrewers have because almost every one of them is or was a homebrewer. Some of the absolute best beers are being churned out by these Craft Breweries and if you haven’t tried one yet, then boy – you are missing out. OK, so yeah, I admit that once they have a winning portfolio of brews they pretty much have to stick to the recipes. But don’t think for one single second that they aren’t making slight alterations on the fly. Master Brewers are a fickle bunch and if they are not 100% satisfied with their end product then you can bet the brew house that they are making changes. They strive for that perfect batch and they pour endless hours into achieving that goal. So when you purchase a pint, growler, or 6 pack of craft beer, you are purchasing a product that has been well thought out, cared for, and prepared. All because that brewer cares about the experience you have with their brew. You don’t get that kind of love from the big guys.

If you have yet to try a true craft beer then I can’t think of any better way to end this blog post than by making a recommendation or two. So here they are:

Anchor Steam by Anchor Brewing in San Francisco, CA: A “lager-esque” type beer that’s available nationally. So if you are used to the fizzy lager beers that are brewed by one of the big boys, this beer will help you ease into the world of craft beer. It’s delicious, has a nice malty aroma, and is easy on the hop bitterness. Just an all-around enjoyable “anytime” beer.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale by Sierra Nevada Brewing in Chico, CA: Also available nationally, this is a true Ale that kicks up the hop bitterness – but it shouldn’t scare you away! Great aroma with a touch of maltiness, and full of flavor.

These delicious brews are only two examples in a world full of amazing craft beer. Chances are there’s a local brewery somewhere near you. If so, give’em a try! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Cheers!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sergio Bencivenga is Blue Q's Warehouse Manager as well as the Head of Purchasing and Inventory. He's also a total lightweight.

That other guy in the picture? That's Seth. Seth Nash is one of our trusty co-founders. He may or may not actually be Serg's chaperone.




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