Now that I’ve inspired you to have your “gateway beer,” you are no doubt ready to go cannonballing into all things craft beer like Ham from The Sandlot. All you need now is a sleeve of tattoos, a beard, and/or an obscure band t-shirt. Just kidding. Craft beer is for all and I pick on this type mostly out of jealousy that I am currently on my way to work and a wearing purple shirt. Back to the point.
It is an amazing time to be a beer lover. The number of options and availability of great beer has grown substantially since I started paying attention. So if you are looking for it, have a face, and some cash, you should have no problem trying a new beer almost every time you imbibe. I have tried over 1,350 different beers and still frequently experience new and exciting offerings (I know because I am a geek and have a spreadsheet and, of course, Untappd to keep track).
If you are lucky enough to have a stellar beer place nearby, this will greatly enhance your endeavor. Early on, there were a few great liquor stores in the greater Boston area that held tastings on a weekly basis. My local NJ beer store will on occasion pour two new beers which is nice. These guys were regularly pouring four to six and sometimes even sharing not-for-sale brews from their personal collection. These tasting events, coupled with the option to create your own mixed six-pack, were a huge boost to my knowledge and a great way to find new beers without going broke. It was like hours spent at Tower Records’ listening stations where I would skip through tracks each week on the hunt for new bands. However, the curating of fine salespeople provided a much higher success rate and even led to some new friendships.
As you learned in my last post, the drink can be the occasion itself. But what is an occasion without the people you share it with? Friends who are also into beer have contributed more to my beer quest than I ever could have imagined otherwise. After all, beer is social. The people, places, and stories are perhaps more the point than just the enjoyable tastes and smells. And don’t forget that Proverbs says “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed!” Besides just partying together, you can trade with, recommend to, and attend events with friends and other beer fans. I have found that it is community that is generous and welcoming of neophytes.
In addition to getting out there and sampling, I recommend you spend some time reading, thinking, and discussing beer. (If you don’t have friends who share your budding passion, may I nominate myself?) In upcoming posts, I plan to tell you about some great beer books, places, and other beer endeavors we can geek out about together. I am currently reading the following which is a must own for anyone that has made it this far through my post.
Click the image to read a sample: