Over the past decade or so, beer culture, like so many other cultures, has proliferated. The web of course, and the object-oriented culture it proliferates, tends to make discovery or “search” a ubiquitous arbiter of culture, and quality. Limitations to discernment though, do still exist, as do opportunities for differentiation which sacrifice little in the way of features, or quality, if any at all. I’m glad for this, because as the web provides a benefit by cascading quality and availability across every market, it also ultimately homogenizes.
I wanted to write this little introduction, because I think beer is a great example of the homogenizing effect of web culture. I was fortunate to get introduced to beer from outside the States. I was 20 when I spent my junior year in Cambridge. Because of this, I came back to the States with a thirst for beer that wasn’t featured in the rural midwest. This was in the late 1990’s. Then, the bubble burst, and “micro” beers and breweries went crazy. I was really happy, except the beer was mostly awful. Somehow hops took on this muscular quality, people were snorting them on the streets, and gangs of hopheads roved suburban strip mall eateries in search of hops and tanktops.
Now, many years later, I’m pleased to offer you all a selection of choices that I would characterize as “tasting good” – This rare and overlooked quality will impress your friends, dates, and coworkers. Nothing impresses more than tasting good. I’m hoping you won’t have heard of them all – if you have, make me a suggestion – and buy me a beer!
Here’s 5 to Get Started With:
- Lindemans – Oude Gueuze Cuvee Rene Along with their Framboise, which is probably the most quaffable beer there is, indulge yourself in a good introductory Gueuze. Gueuzes are wonderful, tart, golden to rose, and pair wonderfully with seafood.
- Brouwerij Verhaeghe Vicht – Duchesse de Bourgogne – A combination nut brown ale and red ale with a characteristic deep red hue. Absolutely smooth fruity and very low tannins.
- Rodenbach – Grand Cru – What’s known as a Flemish Red Ale. Michael Jackson – the late seminal figure in beer reviews, called this the “Burgundy of Belgium.” A must for the beer bucket list.
- Spaten – Optimator. This is a malty beer with mild hints of fruit, nuts, and spice. A wonderful holiday accompaniment.
- Greene King – Abbot Ale. Just a great everyday beer. Easy, smooth, delicious. Everything you’d want your everyday beer to be, plus – it tastes good!