Thursday, May 16, 2013

Beer is not just for Guys. Ladies you can learn to love it too!

When I think of beer, I think of Al Bundy from Married with Children, sitting on the couch in front of the TV with his hand in his waistband and him opening up a cold one...haha. Talk about stereotyping! With the huge influx of Micro Breweries popping up all over the United States, it's time to redefine and open your eyes to this neat little world.

I hear it all the time from women: "I don't drink beer, it's bitter and it doesn't taste good!" Well ladies that's because you haven't given any time to "acquiring" a taste for beer. How many women choose wine over beer? I don't know but it seems to be a lot. When I look around a restaurant or bar and grill, the guys are drinking beer and the majority of women are drinking wine or a mixed drink....aka foofoo drinks. Now think about the first time you tried wine, did you go straight for the Merlot? Most likely not, you went for the white sweet wine, such as a Riesling. Once you've established the taste for white wine you eventually move up and onto red wine, like a Shiraz or a blend...thennnnn maybe a Merlot. I can only speak from my personal experience and that of other people I know, but once you've moved from white to red wine, that becomes your go to wine. Yes you will occasionally drink white wine, when pairing it with a particular meal or on a summer day but it's not your favorite. What I am saying is you've "acquired" the taste for wine over time, and this is the same for beer. Give it a chance and taste a few...don't give up!

First a little beer history-Beer basically falls into two categories-Ale or Lager. It's all about the yeast, Ale yeast collects near the top during fermentation and Lager yeasts collects near the bottom during fermentation. Lager yeast also tends to ferments more aggressively lessening the sweetness and flavors. Beers are rated with two values that may be listed on your menu: ABV (Alcohol by Volume) and IBU (International Bittering Unit) how bitter, skunky or hoppy a beer is.

So you are in a Micro Brewery with friends and there are a ton of beer selections, what do you order?? Well let me break it down for you:
Ambers 4-6% 25-40 Light Lager 4-5% 8-10
Brown Ales 5-8% 20-40 Dark Lager 4-5% 15-25
Hefe-weizen/Wheat 4-5% 5-20 Pilsners 4-5% 25-45
Pale Ales 4-7% 30-45 Bocks 6.5-8.5% 25-35
IPA (Indian Pale Ale) 6-9% 40-70
Imperial Pale Ales 8-20% 60-100
Porters 6-7% 25-50
Stouts 4-5% 35-75
*Imperial anything= High ABV and IBU

1)If you are a newbie or an "I'm going to give this a second chance" gal then start off with a Hefe-weizen/Wheat beer or a Light Lager. These are lower in alcohol content and their IBU is the lowest, meaning its going to be less bitter, less hit-you-in-the-face aftertaste. If you prefer flavor then definitely go with the WHEAT BEERS. Most Micro Breweries will have a few wheat beers on tap, ask for a fruity one. Many are berry, orange, apple or even grapefruit flavored. In bottles- Leinenkugel offers a Berry Weiss or Summer Shandy and Shock Top offers  Raspberry Shock Top. They taste delicious!

2)If carbonation is the hold back, many of the breweries now offer Nitrogen infused beer. Rather than using only Carbon Dioxide (CO2) to carbonate beer, they can offer a combo of CO2 and Nitrogen (N). The Nitrogen has a smaller particle size, thus giving the beer a smoother headier taste. Beers such as Guiness and Murphy Stout have always been nitrogenated. My personal opinion is the beer tasted flat...I apparently prefer lots of carbonation.

3)If that still isn't your style then go for the newer Hard Ciders, but beware they taste like apple cider but with alcohol....try not to chug them! At least you won't look like the odd man...I mean woman out, you still look like you've got a beer in hand.

I hope I have at least gotten you interested in a do-over and giving beer a second chance. Remember, just like wine, you most likely have to acquire the taste for beer....give it time:)

**Popular beer brands you might recognize:

Brown Ales-New Castle, Moose Drool
Wheat Ales- Blue Moon, Shock Top, Leinenkugel
Pale Ales-Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Blue Heron
Stouts-Guiness, Murphy's
Amber-Fat Tire
Pilsners-Beck's, Stella Artors
Light Lager-Papst, Coors, Bud Light Corona, Heineken, Red Stripe
Japenese Rice Lagers-Sapporo, Asashi
Bocks-Shinerbock, Michelob Amberbock
Hard Cider-Old Orchard


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