Monday, June 20, 2011

Drinking Homebrew

From time to time I give away home-brew.  I always have to remember to tell people how to drink the beer.  Seems sort of like a weird thing to have to tell people, but if I don't educate, they might do it wrong.

Of course, the most important thing is:  
"Don't drink straight from the bottle."  
Usually, this surprises people enough to interrupt me and ask "Why not?"  At this point I try not to get annoyed about being interrupted.
"You want to pour it gently into a glass, trying to leave the sediment behind.  Use a glass big enough to hold the whole thing plus some head.  A pint glass is the right size."
It sort of surprises me that it surprises them when I tell them not to drink from the bottle.  Of course, when I show them the sediment, they understand, but you really shouldn't drink commercial craft beer straight from the bottle either.  I suppose the surprise comes from a society that still drinks mostly light, flavorless Bud / Miller / Coors.  You might as well drink those straight from the bottle or can.  Any flavorful craft beer, however, is better when you pour it into a glass.  

When you pour your beer into a glass, you allow the aromatics of the brew to come out of the beer.  A huge part of tasting actually comes from what you can smell, and you will miss out of most of the aromatics when they are trapped inside a bottle.  Plus, when you pour your beer, a beautiful, creamy, visually pleasing head is released (at least it should be).  If you are going to take the time to drink a beer, you should let yourself enjoy it with all your senses, shouldn't you?  Sometimes, I'll even put my ear up next to the beer and listen to the carbonation being released (I don't usually do this in public, though.  People might think that is weird).

Some will insist that you need the right kind of glassware for different types of beer (see  The Right Beer Glass) .  Personally, I don't own all the different types of glassware, so always drink my beer from a pint-sized beer mug (or a liter-sized beer mug if I'm drinking one of my larger bottles).  That is just what we own.  I would love to own different types of glassware, but so far it has not been a priority to purchase any more.  Our cupboards are too full to find room for a couple each of a dozen different glass types, so I guess I'll have to live with what we already have for now.

Actually, I do now own a New Belgium globe glass that I got for free when the Beer Model and I visited breweries in Ft. Collins. So far, I have only had my TommyHawk APA in the globe glass. I don't think it increased my beer-drinking enjoyment. I did think it helped with head-retention, but TommyHawk has fine head-retention in my beer mugs as well. Regardless, it is sort of fun to drink out of something different.

And now that I keg SheppyBrew, I also have some 10 or 12oz pilsner glasses that I use when I want to grab a littler size beer from the keggerator. I never used them for SheppyBrews because they are not quite big enough for a whole bottle of beer.

One of my home-brewing "friends" (friends in quotes because I've never met most of the people I know who home-brew) puts this on all his bottles:
The yeast at the bottom is living proof that this is a homebrewed, hand-crafted, bottle conditioned beer.  Conditioning in the bottle gives the beer a lush, velvety smooth texture that you won’t find in force carbonated beers.  The bubbles are smaller giving your taste buds more surface area to grab onto.  It’s fantastic!  To serve, chill to about 45-50 degrees.  Pour gently into a glass leaving the yeast in the bottle.  Don’t be afraid to pour with a nice foamy head.  It releases CO2 & makes the beer less filling.  Cheers & always drink responsibly.
He was nice enough to send me a digital picture of what he prints out to put on his bottles.  For me, that is a little over the top to add to all my home-brew bottles, but I think I might put instructions for drinking on the Sheppy Brew web site somewhere, and have his text as part of the instructions.

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