Thursday, August 13, 2009

Axiom #1

Beer is at the same time, as complicated, as sophisticated,
and a better product in general than wine.

This is, I know, a bold statement to make. But hear me out. First of all, I want to admit that I am slightly biased. Three years moving cases of beer for a living gives you a lot to think about. There are so many styles and brands, names and pictures, walls upon walls to look upon and dream. Every case a new world, every bottle story. but hey, that's just me.

Beer begins at the boil. You take the grains you want and you, in essence, make tea. Grains range from very light to very dark (dark grains make dark beer.) You can, if you wanted, make a beer dark in color with less flavor than Coors Light (so please give dark beer a break, it just looks scary.) Malt is the primary flavor of the beer. It gives it its main body and mouth feel and makes the beer sweet. The hops are added to balance the sweet with bitterness and give the beer its flowery aroma. You can also add spices to the boil or during fermentation to change the flavor.
As you can see, the beer process is more complicated than that for wine and the combinations are more vast. Have you ever heard of a coffee or a chili pepper wine? These are very real and very tasty beer flavors. Beer has so many different grains to chose from, sure you have many varieties of grapes, but there are so many more types of grain and any number of varieties for these types.
The original beer was lumpy, bitter, and cheap. Its no wonder that it took second chair to wine in history. That does not make the beverage worthless, though. Mesopotamian culture had a god for beer. Industrial England built itself on the backs of workers who drank beer primarily. Even our president, poor taste aside, chose beer over wine.
It's no mistake that, "He who invented beer was a wise man", was a true Socrates quote. This beverage has survived throughout the course of man, built cities, and has only gotten better. With micro-breweries growing, we find ourselves in a beer revolution. Beer is gathering power and we are very good at making it. Don't kid yourself that the stuff of frat parties is an indication of the industry on whole. Would a wine drinker curse his beverage because Franzia exists? There is a world out there waiting to be discovered. Go down to your local bar with even a half decent selection and order yourself a bottle of human history. Tell them Geoff sent you.

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