The following first appeared at the original Stephen Beaumont’s World of Beer site in April of 2004. I’ve decided to go back into my old files and find some of the stuff most suitable for reprint to present here. There is plenty more to come…
1. Don’t compromise. If you want a purely refreshing beer, for example, there are many available brews superior to those generally grouped under the heading of ‘lawnmower beers.’
2. Use a glass, because aroma and colour do count. What’s more…
3. Use a suitable glass. Just as fine wine is nicely complemented by Reidel stemware, so will a Westmalle Tripel taste better when enjoyed from a chalice or even a wide rimmed wine glass instead of from a juice glass or mason jar. And while we’re at it…
4. Keep your glassware (and beer) out of the freezer. Cold kills taste. And if the bartender thinks that she is doing you a favour by serving you a frosted mug, politely decline and ask for one from the shelf instead.
5. Don’t be an ale snob. Yes, practically all the mainstream beer in the world is lager, but that doesn’t mean that all lagers suck.
6. Smell your beer. Not only is aroma integral to the flavour of a beer, but sitting at the bar and sniffing your pint is a great way to start up a conversation.
7. Be open to new things. Intense bitterness, surprising sourness or fruit flavours may not be what you think you want in your beer, but you might just find yourself liking it if you give it an honest try.
8. Make it a general rule to not drink the same beer twice in a row. Variety counts, and no matter how many notes you’ve recorded on ratebeer.com or beeradvocate.com, there are still thousands more beers left in this world to try. But…
9. Don’t get obsessive about your beer. If there is only one beer you feel is worth drinking, and you’re at a bar with friends or family enjoying yourselves, then have a couple of a few pints of the same brew.
10. Refuse to patronize bars that serve only flavour-free beers (unless you’re with friends who absolutely refuse to change locales, or there’s a really good band playing, in which case drink whisky neat or gin and tonic or bourbon with a rock or two or even a glass of good wine).
11. Fear not the beer cocktail. Remember, beers have been blended with other beers, or with spirits or fortified wine, for centuries. And you never know, by mixing together two or three or four brews, you might actually be creating a new style.
12. Leave the low carb diet at home. You want fewer carbohydrates in your beer? Drink less beer!
13. Ditto calorie-counting.
14. When dining, think about the flavours in your beer and in your food and try to make them work together. A suitable beer really can make a dish taste better, and vice versa, so why would you not want to make the effort?
15. Ignore the critics around you. A comment like ‘What’s the matter? You too good to drink mainstream beer?’ should be countered with a simple ‘As a matter of fact, I am.’
16. Make no assumptions: Dark beer is not necessarily rich and filling; strong beer won’t put you over the edge if you sip it slowly; hops are neither necessarily good or evil things; ales are not always stronger or more caloric than lagers; and fruit beers are not just ‘chick beers.’ On that last point, for the guys…
17. Don’t ever, ever think that the lady in your life, or the lady who you would like in your life, is going to prefer a lighter, paler or fruitier beer than the one you have in your glass. One definite truism I’ve culled from my years of observing the beer market is that women are frequently much more experimental when it comes to beer than are men.
18. Finally, drink for flavour, not alcohol.