Thursday, March 1, 2012

Two days and counting down......

I don't write about craft beer often enough even though I really do love it. I love it the way a wine lover loves wine. I particularly love the right beer paired with the right food. So, it is hard for me when, once each year, I pick out a thirty day period on the calendar in which I don't drink beer. It's not for religious reasons. It's not particularly related to my health, although I usually drop a pound or three in that thirty days. It's simply an exercise in self discipline. I do it because I can.

Well, my thirty days for this year are almost over. In fact, as I write this, there are two days left. This Saturday, March 3rd, I will officially "release" myself from the commitment I made when I returned from Amsterdam. Now, before you get the wrong idea, I don't really drink what I would consider a lot of beer. In a typical week, I might consume 4-8 beers and almost never more than two at a sitting.

I wrote in an earlier post that I think we are living in the Golden Age of beer. This is because of the craft brewers, the much improved distribution system for these craft beers and the internet. Today, anyone interested in beer beyond what the big national brewers make, can easily educate themselves about what else is out there. There are sites like Beer Advocate that provide a wealth of information to those wanting to know more. Then there is this, which my wife bought me for Christmas. Warning, beer geeks only need apply.

Then there are the beer festivals that have grown immensely in popularity. The granddaddy of them all is the Great American Beer Festival held annually in Denver, Colorado. This three day event allows beer lovers to taste an amazing selection of beers in a single location. If you can't make it to Denver, it is likely that somewhere within a reasonable car ride from you, someone will hold a local beer festival this year.

Then there are the craft brewery tours and tastings. Many of the smaller brewers offer tours, which include a tasting of their offerings for a modest fee (and even sometimes free). If you like beer even a little bit and have never done it, find out where your most local craft brewer is (you'll probably be surprised how close they are) and spend a few hours on weekend day seeing how beer is made and enjoying their brews.

If you think you don't like beer, or you think beer is Miller Lite of Budweiser, think again. The number of styles and tastes is as broad as it is for wine and the complexity of these craft beers allows any food to be expertly paired with a beer that will enhance the food.

Just for the record, I'm not of the payroll of the Craft Brewers Association - I just really love craft beers.

Not that I'm counting, but it's less than 48 hours before my thirty days are over. My biggest challenge will be deciding which beer I'm going to have first. I have my eye on a couple that have been waiting patiently for me in my refrigerator. No matter what, I'm sure whichever I pick is going to really taste good.

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