I have been pouring through various beer blogs lately and ran into these rules on one blog, which led me to the originator, Stan Hieronymus’ site Appelation Beer. For those who might not know who he is (gah, it sounds like I’m name dropping), he is the author of a number of brewing books and in 2004 was given the inaugral Brewer’s Association Beer Journalism Award in Trade Media. He also was the recipient of the beer writer of the year award in 1999.
The rules (as listed on the site and with my own commentary)
RULE #1: When you open a beer for a vertical tasting and there is rust under the cap it’s time to seriously lower your expectations for what’s inside the bottle.
This rule should be self evident. Sometimes improper handling will have visual signs to inform you that the beer you are about to drink is less than prime. I find that this rule actually should apply to more than just vertical tastings. Sometimes dust on a bottle can say alot about whats going to be found inside.
RULE #2: A beer consumer should not be allowed to drink a beer with IBU higher than her or his IQ.
An interesting rule to ponder. This rule approaches the thought that in this country we have a tendency to over do it. Just because the beer is incredibly hoppy does not mean the beer is great. There are other aspects to consider. A good example is shown with Stone’s Arrogant Bastard. The beer is incredibly hoppy, but at the same time there is a balance so the imbiber is not hit with sensory overload.
RULE #3: You must drink at least two servings of a beer before you pass judgment on it.
I like this rule. Too often we make snap judgements based on initial impressions. Sometimes it takes a little bit of warming up for the true beauty to shine through. At the same time, by holding back on the final judgement you end up with a bigger picture of the beer in its entirety.
RULE #4: The god of beer is not consistency.
We should expect consistently good from batch to batch, but honestly, there are so many variables that a beer should not taste exactly the same from batch to batch. From my own brewing lessons, my Irish Rye is still quite tasty the second time around, but there are variations between the first batch and this current batch. I almost wish I would have saved a bottle or two from the first batch so I could compare the two.
RULE #5: It is only beer
To paraphrase Charlie Papazian, Relax have a brew… Why do we get so worked up over something so simple and such an everyday part of our lives. I would even go so far as to liken this to the Craft vs Macro brew battle. Ya know what, its still only beer…
RULE #6: The best beer was in the empty glass.
Beer is meant to be drank. When I think of the dopplebock I have aging, I am reminded of the ones I will be drinking while the rest of them age. Yes, when the time comes that the final one has aged for 6 months or a year or even more, I know that I have savored every one of them on the journey to that very last bottle.
RULE #7: Beer is not the new wine.
Sometimes you just want to sit back and enjoy a beer. We are inundated left and right about beer and food pairings. Does this mean we should give up wine and embrace beer? Absolutely not, there is room for both and many times either one serves much better than the other. Beer is still beer and wine is still wine, and for me I am happy that they are.
RULE #8: More beer, less analysis.
I love the example of the “Armchair brewer.” Its kinda like the “Armchair quarterback.” We all think we can do it better. I love the questions posed on this blog. Are you spending more time thinking about drinking than actually drinking? Isn’t that a sign of addiction?
RULE #9: You cannot know all there is to know about beer.
Such a bold statement. I know for me, I am continuously humbled by the knowledge that others bring to the table. If its not something entirely new, it is something from a completely different perspective. I like to think I am at the same place in beer that I am in wine. I know enough to know that I really don’t know that much.
This is one of the many things I have been running through my mind over the past few days. For some of us its nice to have some guiding “rules” to steer our experiences. As I get a handle on some of my other thoughts I will bring them to the table.
Now in other news… I kegged the American wheat earlier today. My plan is to condition and then bottle the entire batch (gotta make room for what ever the next beer will be). It seems the final alcohol level is around 5%. The warm and flat flavor is pretty good. I am anxious to bottle so I can sample the finished beer.
But for now, I think its time for a pint…