5 Ways People Admit They Are Beer Amateurs (Plus 5 More)

7 07 2010

Long time supporter of the Blog, Johnny Automatic, sent us a link to an article from The LA Weekly called “L.A. Beer Experts Mythbust 5 Complaints of Amateur Beer Drinkers“. It is a lovely little article that looks into commonly help myths held by people whose main source of beer knowledge comes from the Industrial beer guys. We won’t rehash the entire article since you can follow the link. But I will sum up their findings.

1. “There’s too much head on the beer.” In short beers should be poured with some head. The bubbles help aerate the beer and bring the aromas into your nose. Head makes your beer taste good.

2. “This glass isn’t frosted.” Don’t serve beer in frosted glasses. For the love of beer, just don’t. Frosted glasses cause two things: Too much foam (causing your beer to go flatter faster, as well as spray all over the place) and it causes aromas to be locked into the beer instead of in your nose. Frosted mugs cause bland, flat beer.

3. “Why such a small pour for higher alcohol content beer? What a ripoff.” Higher alcohol beers often have bigger flavors, aromas, higher IBUs and generally will be more complex. Drinking an entire pint will exhaust your pallet as well as get you super drunk. By the end of a big pour of a big beer, you may be cursing instead of praising it.

4. “What’s up with this girly tulip glass?” While we may not want to admit it, the traditional pint glass we are used to having our beer served in is one of the worst vessels to serve a beer. It does nothing to promote aeration, collection of aromas, support head retention or show off the form of the beer. There are many other glasses that do these things much better though. And so we choose those glasses to help accentuate the beer we serve. Plus, if you think holding a funny looking glass threatens your masculinity, you may want to speak with a shrink.

Blue Mountains? Pfft!

5. “This beer isn’t cold enough.” This is one of the most common complaints I get as a beer server. Americans tend to drink their beer ice cold. Thanks to companies like Coors (See picture to the right), we believe that all our beer should be cold enough to give brain freeze.  Much like the frozen mug above, ice cold is too cold for beer. American lagers can be served as cold as the high 30s(F) but most ales should be served as warm as 55(F). 55 degrees is hardly room temperature, and it is not warm. If tomorrow was 55, you would be reaching for a sweater most likely.

Five More Things Beer Amateurs Say

1. “Beer in a can?!” This is not your grandfather’s beer in a can. This is space aged modern beer in a can. The beer can you all know and love is even found in the Museum of Modern Art’s design collection. It is nearly perfect in design. No more spoilage, rusty metallic taste, or crappy quality. Some of the best beers in America are now coming in cans with all the added benefits: they are lighter, don’t shatter, prevent skunking and oxygenation, less expensive and are easier to recycle. Plus they get colder faster and stay that way longer. Think of them like tiny kegs. Plus, you have no problem drinking soda from a can.

2 “Don’t worry about pour it. I’ll drink it straight from the bottle.” There are so many things

Photo Credit: eschipul CC

wrong with this! first of all, one tastes with more than one’s mouth. The process of tasting involves the mouth, nose, and (to a lesser extent) the eyes and ears. Imagine ording a fresh, sizzling steak at a fancy steak house but before it arrives, you put on a blindfold, nose plug and earplugs. And while you are at it, you put on some thick gloves. Essentially, that is what you are doing when you drink straight fromt he bottle. Secondly, your beer has been created specifically by a brewer for color, aroma, carbonation, head retention, mouth feel, aroma and taste.  By pouring the beer in a glass, you get the whole intended product. Finally, it looks uncouth to drink from the bottle. You wouldn’t want to drink from the wine bottle, why is a beer bottle ok?

3. “Hold on, let me check Beer Advocate/Rate Beer.” Smart phones are pretty cool. I’ll give you that. And having a beer app on your phone can help settle bets (or cause new ones)like whether Orkney Skullsplitter is a Barleywine or a Scotch Ale (true story). But when you start looking through the menu with beer advocate by your side in order to find the beer with the highest ranking, that is tacky. As a waiter it tells me two things: “I want the best but I don’t want to risk” and “I don’t trust your opinion.” To address the former point first: trying new things often comes with risk. As long as you come toward your beers with an open mind, an opportunity to learn and a willingness to be surprised, you cannot fail. On the latter point: I , as a beer server, like my job a lot. And my lively hood depends on being a good at it. I have carefully developed my pallet. I have learned the beer styles and have tried many outstanding examples. I keep up on the beer news and follow the trends. I read the beer blogs and follow beer advocate and rate beer. 40+ hours of my week is devoted to bringing people beer. I believe I am very good at my job. But instead of trusting me to help you find something, you trust your phone–something that has never had a beer in its life. Leave beer advoacte at home. This goes the same for beer tomes.

4. “Do you have cider beer?” This one is easy. And it is a small point. It is really a pet peeve for me and my colleagues. But it needs to be addressed. Beer is fermented grain spiced with hops. Cider is fermented apple juice. They are two different things. If I went to a wine bar and asked for “vodka wine” I would be laughed at. If I went to a Bourbon bar and asked for “Whiskey Rum,” I would lose all respect. There is no such thing as “cider beer.” (Now, there is a cocktail called a “snakebite” that is lager and cider mixed together. But it is not “cider beer”.)

5. “Can I get a lemon for my beer?” We’ve discussed this one before. In short, you don’t need it. Think of lemon as ketchup on your steak: completely unnecessary. That being said, there is a time and place for everything. Leave your lemons at home.

What about you? What do you hear at the bar or liquor store that makes your flesh crawl? What makes you think “noob”? Or, what is your pet peeve?




One response

19 07 2010

One more note on the frosted mug. Some places don’t rinse the glasses well so you can get the soap-frost taste. Well spoken points.

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