From Plebeian to AFICIONADO

February 8, 2017
2 mins read

Beer, like wine, has its share of snobs. This is not an insult. It merely describes people like me who enjoy beer for its complex flavors — not just as a means to a drunken end. Beer snobs talk about the elixir in mystical terms, describing the aroma, taste and alcohol content. They wax poetic about what influences a brewer may have had for a certain style. They get into deep discussions about virtues of Belgian beers over German. Each has a favorite style. Mine? Belgian blondes, at the moment. And each is more than willing to tell us in detail why they like that style.

Another thing to know about beer snobs is that they began their beer journey in much the same way as anyone does — buying the major brands. Then, one day, they’re introduced to the pleasure of craft beers by buying a six-pack or having a pint at a local pub. Suddenly, their eyes open to a new, wonderful world in which flavor actually exists.

Becoming a beer snob sneaks up on you sometimes. One minute, you’re perfectly happy drinking a mass-produced light lager — the next moment, someone hands you a pint of hoppy pale ale and your entire outlook undergoes a paradigm change. You’re hooked.

You begin to seek more interesting beers and crawl local pubs for taps of Hopslam, Canadian Breakfast Stout and Morning Wood. Slowly, you feel yourself shift. Coors no longer holds your interest; you drop it like an infatuation to stalk true love. One day, while prowling the grocery store for La Chouffe, you realize you’ve become a beer snob.

Quaffing good beer is an obsession. It gets under your skin and pushes you to try new concoctions. Some go the purest route, looking for only those brews made with traditional methods and ingredients. Others seek unique brews created by the craft scene’s avant garde brewers. All agree, however, that beer, in its many forms and style, is good.

Enjoying beer is a multisensory experience and should always be approached that way; pounding brews with the goal of getting hammered is a frat boy move. Always approach your beer with respect. Take a moment to enjoy its color in the glass. Is it clear, golden yellow or hazy and straw-colored? What do you smell? Is it fruity, piney or funky? Take a sip … does the flavor match the aroma? Finally, how does the beer feel in your mouth? Is it thin and watery or thick and syrupy? Write down your observations so you know what you like and do not like.

For new initiates to craft beer, I recommend starting with a particular brewery’s core beers, the ones it produces regularly, cans or bottles, and sends out to the market. Many are pale ales, IPAs and stouts.

Now that you’re on your way to being a beer snob, explore the bold world of craft beer. Build your palate; soon, you’ll be scouring the local beer-monger’s shelves for ever more challenging brews.

Folio is your guide to entertainment and culture around and near Jacksonville, Florida. We cover events, concerts, restaurants, theatre, sports, art, happenings, and all things about living and visiting Jax. Folio serves more than two million readers across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, The Beaches, and Fernandina.

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