Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Comebacks, Selections, & Gimmicks

Here I am, two years later, and all it took was for everybody I know to leave town (and a few urges from lmop). I wish I could say that I've become a beer expert over these past years, but I still struggle with the indiscernible palate I had when I was in college. Know that I am reaching if I ever describe the notes in a beer's flavor. However, I have tasted a significant number of beers since my last post and, although I neglected to write about them, I have developed a point of reference. So, over the next week or two I will be reviewing a selection of beers that I picked up earlier today. In the meantime...(Please, read on)

Picking a 6-pack for the night can be a daunting task when immersed in the sprawling beer section of a liquor store. Imported, microbrew, limited release, lager, ale, stout, cider, etc. If you have ever read The Alco-log, there's a good chance that we're friends and either get random recommendations from me, or are and avid beer drinker anyway. However, if you randomly stumble upon this blog and are of low confidence when while in the beer section, I hope The Alco-log helps make finding the right beer a much more manageable task.

Unfortunately, until I get enough readers that breweries send me beers to review, I must also select from the masses. So what do I do? I go with my gut. I start with domestics and almost always with the new/limited releases. There are some beers that I have all the time, but I mostly like to try new ones. If I find a brewery I like, I will always try their new/limited releases. It's the staples of these breweries that I check out next, picking out a variety of theirs that I haven't had yet. I tend to go for the IPAs, Stouts, and most Ales (especially Brown, Pale, and White). I'll stay away from the beers that say Amber. Fuck PILSNERS. Next, I will look for the types of beer I like from breweries that I haven't had. This is where I become a sucker for marketing. I'm highly influenced by names and packaging when it comes to this part of my search. If I'm stuck between two beers, the more badass name/image will always win. Dragon's Milk, Skullcrusher, and Hobgoblin will beat Hoppin' to Heaven every time. Lastly, I will check out the imports. I'm hesitant to pick a random import because I haven't liked most of the ones I've tried and I don't want to be stuck with the Bud Light of Lithuania. So, if I've already found one I like from a beer tasting, I might throw it into my cart. Done.

My method is time consuming, but it allows me to regularly try new beers based on ones that I already like. It also keeps me away from the American Pilsner: the antithesis of The Alco-log and the subject of my next section.

I like marketing but I must shake my head at gimmicks. Gimmicks are the only things that separate one watery American Pilsner from another. A case of Coors Light has the following: Frost-Brew Liner, Wide Mouth Can, Vent (for God knows what), Cold Activated Can, and a Cold Activation Window (which is really just a big hole in the box so that you can see the Cold Activated Can). These things don't make Coors Light a good beer; they distract the buyer so long that by the time he's drinking it, it's too big of a hassle to get something else. Although Coors seems to be the worst perpetrator of this, Budweiser and Miller contribute their fair share. Miller's Vortex bottle is a mystery to me. Does it make the beer pour faster? taste better? Maybe the Miller Brewery just had some extra glass that they needed to use, so they jammed it into the necks of all their bottles. I'm waiting for one of these companies to release the Shotgun Can: a can with two pop-tops that makes pregaming just a little easier. At least that gimmick would have some purpose. If you get anything out of reading The Alco-log, I hope that it is a desire to try something new and not get sucked in by the lame gimmicks the American Pilsners use to differentiate themselves. It's a sad time when the Champagne of Beers tastes like pee.

P.S. American Pilsners are GREAT for beer pong.

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