Monday, August 15, 2011
No More Mr. Nice Guy
That's it... I'm calling myself out.
Let me paint the CLASSIC scenario for you:
FRIEND: HEY TONE!!! What do you think of that beer you're drinking?
ME: Umm, let's see... I don't know... it's NICE though.
FRIEND: Oh... cool.
- - or this scenario - -
ME: (writing/reading a review) ...As I tasted the beer, it had a, uhh, well... a NICE mouthfeel with a uhh, NICE finish. (scratching forehead)
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Let's be honest... how OFTEN have you heard that. From Newbies to Home Brewers. Everyone seeks shelter under that safe word: N-I-C-E. It's a NICE beer... it's got a NICE color to it... it's got a NICE finish though... the smell is NICE...
WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!? Ok granted, I know you like the beer... but am I going to like the beer? Maybe your NICE is my NASTY!
So here it is folks... the challenge to myself and ANYONE else of our fellow readers. The next time you taste a craft beer or someone asks your opinion... STAY AWAY from the word "NICE". Dig for those adjectives!! Here's a few that I fall back on based on what you are describing:
How much head is on the beer, what color is it...?
One-Finger of Head
A Yeti Finger (SEE BELOW, thank you Beercoasters)
How does it look...?
How does it smell...?
How does it taste...?
Like a Jolly Rancher
Could someone pick up my tongue that's on the floor?
Flavor like a Chuck Norris Sidekick in FACE!!
How does it finish...?
Wait, what happened?
I think I have a cavity
And the good news is here folks... THERE'S NO WRONG ANSWERS!! You all PASS!! WOO HOO! So forget your old habits... Avoid "NICE" and get into the guts of what the beer is all about. You may surprise yourself the more you try it!
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Another thing that I've enjoying doing lately is pairing up my beverage of choice to a meal. For example... if I'm going to have some hot wings, I'm probably not going to pour myself a spicy Saison beer or something that's real boozy and highly alcoholic (ENTER Harpoon Leviathan Series STAGE RIGHT). Rather... pick something that is not going to over-power your food. For wings, I'd go with a Pale Ale, or something mildly hoppy like a Dogfish 60 min or my current favorite Whale's Tail Pale Ale from Cisco Brewing. Mmmmm... Wings... Beer. Flavor Country, Party of 1.
On the flipside maybe you just finished a nice meal and are about to have some dessert... A Rice Pudding, or Tiramisu type. Light, sweet, creamy, mild chocolate notes... I'd go with a Stone Russian Imperial Stout or a Breckenridge Vanilla Porter. (Thanks Vanilla Mike!!) Pick a beer with some body to it, but isn't necessarily going to blow you out of the water with booziness and/or sweetness. I always love black coffee with a real sweet dessert - because it balances out! Same goes for pairing it up with your beer.
Quick shout out to our new friend, Vanilla Mike, at the Somersworth Village Market in New Hampshire. A few weeks ago, I stopped in and Mike hooked me up with some great info on their selection. This place has an "A+" rating on BeerAdvocate.com and is well worth it. I picked up the Firestone Walker Double IPA and per Mike's suggestion, the Breckenridge Vanilla Porter... both of which I've never seen around CT. Check them out if you are in the area! Thanks Mike!!
Happy Early Weekend from Beer411... we are slowly turning into our favorite beer season... FALL! Start being on the lookout for Pumpkin Ales and Octoberfests GALORE!!
Posted by Tony Leone at Monday, August 15, 2011