Author Topic: I think I'm becoming a beer snob!  (Read 8752 times)

Offline Scott Ickes

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I think I'm becoming a beer snob!
« on: January 29, 2014, 08:34:50 PM »
I travel a lot on business.  I spend 130 to 150 nights a year in hotels.  This gives me opportunities to visit a multitude of brew pubs, et al.  I find myself judging their beers in my mind.  An example would be tonight.

I was at "The Ram" brewpub in Meridian, Idaho for dinner.  The food was spectacular.  The beer was good, and maybe even above average, but to me it was lacking.  I found myself judging their beer.  They have six different beers.  I got the sampler, as is my practice at a brew pub that is new to me.

Blonde Ale - Clean and crisp, but it tasted weak to me.  Just not much malt backbone to it.  Maybe this is the style, as I haven't tried many Blondes, so I'm not an expert on the style.

Hefeweisen - A good example of the german hefe style with the banana and clove just right, but I prefer a more citrusy (C hops) flavor, so the Halletauer hops did nothing for me.  It was "to style", so it was a well made beer.  I just like my Hefe's with more complexity than this one.

Pale Ale - This one sucked.  No malt backbone and the hops were almost non-existent.  This was a loser all the way around.

IPA - Nice beer, and actually I liked it because it wasn't your typical west coast overhopped, in your face hop bomb.  Living on the west coast has definitely altered my perception of IPA's.  I used to think I was a hop head.  Back in the 1980's and 1990's my IPA's scored 30-35 in brewing competitions and they were always getting dinged for being overhopped.  I stopped brewing from 2000 to 2010 and when I started back into it, I find that my overhopped IPA's are now all the rage here on the west coast.  The IPA's here in the Portland/Seattle area have so much in your face hops, that I have trouble drinking them now.  I burp hops forever after one beer.  I guess my tastes have changed.  Because this version of an IPA at the "The Ram" wasn't so in your face, I loved it.

Amber Ale - This is one beer, that if I had brewed it, would never brew it again.  No malt to speak of, watery, with an astrigent flavor.  My thoughts were that the crystal malts were to0 high of a percentage of the grain bill and the Munich malt was too low. 

Porter - Not bad.  I little weak on the flavors that I look for in a porter.  Some chocolate, but I look for more than just a chocolate background in a porter.  It was a little sweet, which I liked, but it wasn't the sweet flavor I like.  I like porters to have a chocolate/vanilla sweet taste to them.  This one had a more crystal malt sweetness to it, which I don't like in a porter.  It was also a little thin on the maltiness, but just barely.

So, I ask you, am I a beer snob for judging every new beer I try?

Kegs:
 Red IPA
 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

Scott Ickes
https://creativebrewing.wordpress.com

Offline brewfun

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Re: I think I'm becoming a beer snob!
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2014, 05:52:07 AM »
in a word, yes. Yet, it's perfectly normal to translate your personal experience and preferences into expectations.

Long ago, I learned that the more "balanced" a beer is, the more bland it can be perceived. So, I tend not to ding breweries for it, rather, I look to see if they were timid. Which means I look to see if the range of styles are close together, on the paler and lower alcohol side and generally lower hop profiles. These are breweries that are simply trying not to offend.

In this case, The Ram is a chain of brewery/restaurants, and it sounds like you got their sampler of core beers. Not too many chains let local brewers have much say in beer flavor.

Perception is a tricky thing, triggered by mood, time of day, health and a whole lot of other variables. My guess is that you didn't go into this pub thinking, "I am so in the mood for an English Pale Ale or and Amber!" You went in thinking, "show me." Simply, we all do that, I think.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline Beer_Tigger

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Re: I think I'm becoming a beer snob!
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2014, 06:29:56 AM »
I do the same thing wherever I go.  When the wife & I go on vacation, I create a "brewpub tour" list before we leave.

If you're worried that your tastes are getting jaded, you couold learn more about beer styles to see if they are on target.  I'm thinking of getting these style cards:
http://cicerone.org/content/beer-styles-profiles-card-sets
"Let's see if this here beer will help me to stop procrastinating." - my cousin

Offline wtujcker4

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Re: I think I'm becoming a beer snob!
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2014, 12:08:58 PM »
I'm a beer judge and have been for one over 26 years.  It is very natural for me to evaluate every beer I taste, and to give it a quick score estimate as to how it would do in its style in a competition.  That doesn't stop me from appreciating it, even if it is middle-of-the-road beer.  Heck, anything is better than Bud (although Bud does well in the American Light Lager category).
So go ahead and be a beer snob.  Better yet, sit for the BJCP exam and become a judge.   :)

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: I think I'm becoming a beer snob!
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2014, 10:49:39 PM »
I guess I sounded like a didn't enjoy the beer at The Ram.  On the contrary, it was all well made.  I've just gotten to the point where I've tried sooooo many different beers over the years, I'm now enjoying the hunt for that unusual "special" beer.  It's as if I'm after the holy grail.  I approach my own brewing that way too.  I basically brew two different categories of beer.  I shoot for trying to make the perfect (too style) beer and I experiment trying to make that batch of special beer that no one else has ever thought of yet.

I have to go to Bend, Oregon on business next Monday and Tuesday.  I'm taking the wife along on the trip.  We're going to have dinner at 10 Barrell Brewing in Bend.  I've eaten there many times and they have a wide selection of barrel beers and also the standard (too style) beers also.  10 Barrell is a brewery that fits the current part of my journey almost perfectly.  Cascade Barrell House in Portland, Oregon also fits into my journey quite well.  I'm heading up to Seattle on business tomorrow morning.  With any luck, we'll have time to stop at Elysian.  I can't have a beer at lunch, as I'll be working, but that won't stop me from bringing home a growler of their newest creation.

I guess, we are all on the same journey.  It's just that none of us is on the same road.  Some of you are ahead of me on the road and some of you are behind me.  Hopefully, we'll all meet up from time to time on our journeys and share a pint or two of some other brewers honest effort to make their own version of the holy grail beer.

Cheers!
Kegs:
 Red IPA
 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

Scott Ickes
https://creativebrewing.wordpress.com

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: I think I'm becoming a beer snob!
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2014, 07:21:33 PM »
..............enjoying the hunt for that unusual "special" beer.  It's as if I'm after the holy grail. 

The maibock at Lancaster Brewing in Lancaster PA is one that comes to mind.  Buried in a flight of good, it was great.   I think homebrewing makes one appreciate the great ones, because we all know the recipe, technique and ingredients do not always add up to greatness. 

Offline Brewmex41

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Re: I think I'm becoming a beer snob!
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2014, 11:22:24 PM »
I do the same thing. I find that by the time I have made up my mind on my thoughts on a beer, I only have a couple sips left to enjoy. I have to have at least 2 so i can dissect the first one and enjoy the second one.
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Offline drb1215

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Re: I think I'm becoming a beer snob!
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2014, 07:56:38 AM »
The title of your article makes me laugh, since my neighbor (whom I brew with) and I are always saying..."I think we are becoming beer snobs!"  Mostly because commercial beers these days just don't taste as good as what you can make at home:)

I find myself much more critical of a beer that I might order at a bar/restaurant than I ever was prior to brewing, and I can't even remember the last time I went to the store to buy beer (unless it is a request for a BBQ).

-Dan

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: I think I'm becoming a beer snob!
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2014, 09:06:45 AM »
I still keep MGD on hand for one particular friend.  He'll try my beer.  He'll ask to try something new each time he visits, but he always has just the one and then goes back to the MGD.  He and I make wine together.  He has a lot of fruit trees on his property, so his palate isn't as unsophisticated as you would think.  He just says he's been drinking watered down beer since his days in Vietnam, and he's use to it.

I use his MGD when I make beer butt chicken or when needing beer for my liquid pan in my smoker.
Kegs:
 Red IPA
 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

Scott Ickes
https://creativebrewing.wordpress.com

Offline jomebrew

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Re: I think I'm becoming a beer snob!
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2014, 09:31:40 AM »
As an armature beer maker, I am intimately aware of the ingredients, process, flavors and potential.  I have sampled a couple thousand different beers.  It is now my nature to seek beers from a class I will potentially enjoy.  I will also be critical of them.  I know the potential the systems can have and am educated in the flavors and know the failures from the successes.   While every pale ale from a different brewer is another pale ale, it has the potential to be great, unique mediocre or nasty.  This is different than commodity lagers from global conglomerates.  They are all the same.  They are always the same.   It is like ordering water with lemon from the restaurant.  It is always the same.

It is not snobbish for me not to order the salmon when I don't like salmon.  It isn't snobby to skip beer when the choices are undesirable to me.  It may be snobbish when I proclaim my finely crafted IPA is better than "this swill" :)

Offline all grain

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Re: I think I'm becoming a beer snob!
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2014, 03:35:01 PM »
I still keep MGD on hand for one particular friend.  He'll try my beer.  He'll ask to try something new each time he visits, but he always has just the one and then goes back to the MGD.  He and I make wine together.  He has a lot of fruit trees on his property, so his palate isn't as unsophisticated as you would think.  He just says he's been drinking watered down beer since his days in Vietnam, and he's use to it.

I use his MGD when I make beer butt chicken or when needing beer for my liquid pan in my smoker.

I have a friend as well he only drinks Milwaukee's best ice, I wounder if that would make good beer butt chicken LOL.
brewing is an art form not just a science ,dude where's my beer!

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: I think I'm becoming a beer snob!
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2014, 03:38:07 PM »
I don't think it's possible to make bad beer butt chicken.  I had a party a few years back and made eight of them at once.  The chicken was gone.  No leftovers.
Kegs:
 Red IPA
 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

Scott Ickes
https://creativebrewing.wordpress.com

 

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