The Beer Tree

I was with a friend at a concert last night. He drank a Bud Light while I enjoyed a 10 Barrel Apocalypse. He always drinks Bud Light.

Cool for him. My beer buds don’t align well with Bud Light. I find it too thin, and lacking in depth and flavor for me to claim as a regular, or even to have in my rotation.

I contrast this with my Wednesday night experience. One of the BoBs regularly brews his own, and brought a couple bottles for us to sample. He called it an Imperial IPA. From his description, it sounded like a double IPA. However you reference it, this beer was fantastically smooth and flavorful. He’d bottled it in May, so it was just under two full months old. I’d expected high I.B.U.s and hoppiness, but neither were present. With an A.b.V. of eleven point two, it had a kick.

What impressed me that night was first, his explanation of the ingredients, and how he brewed it. Next, another friend’s insightful questions about where the hops were sourced and other factors surprised me. In retrospect, it seemed like he’s contemplating brewing his own.

As I do when drinking beer – or wine – I became contemplative. I ended up contemplating beer over my coffee this morning. My coffee choice is much narrower than my beer choices, but it’s evolved to that point. For my morning coffee, I like a French or Italian roast, without milk, cream, or sugar. For my writing session, I prefer a four shot mocha.

For beer, I have a choice tree. I prefer dark beers, so they dominate my beer tree, but my beer choice depends upon the food, event, and offerings. At the top of my list are Imperial Stouts. They usually deliver a significant kick, so they’re not often chosen. Dropping down the list, I’ll look for stouts and porters, followed by ales and I.P.A.s, Pilsners and lagers. Besides enjoying dark beers, when sampling one of the others beer variations, I’ve discovered I like citrus overtones, especially grapefruits. I don’t usually like fruity beers, but this year, I enjoyed several delightful beers with watermelon. I’m not surprised, as I enjoy buying and drinking watermelon juice.

And yes, I like my beer cold. I’ve tried it warm, several times (you know, to get a data set), and I prefer cold beer with a moderately small head. As an aside, I’m not fond of coffee in beer, unless it’s in an ice cream float. A coffee flavored stout with vanilla ice cream on a hot day is a damn fine dessert.

The thing with all of this, as with so many things, is that our individual choices are unique, and our reasons for reaching them are often more complex than the thought we give to them. While I give my beers a lot of thought and like to taste from a large swath of samples, because you never know what might impress you, my buddy preferred his Bud Light because of its light flavor, low alcohol content, and the lack of need to think about which beer he’ll drink, and whether he’ll enjoy it.

Which is why I’ve made the coffee choices I’ve made.




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