With the New Year approaching, you might be thinking about making resolutions. While many of us usually resolve to cut back on the things we love, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest pursuing them. I really like beer. Why would I give it up? Instead, I am resolving to go on a mission to further my knowledge about it! It starts with trying new beers, reading more books about beer, and dabbling with a little homebrewing. And, of course, it ends with drinking my home brews! Here are some New Year’s resolutions other beer lovers might want to think about.
A great way to learn about beer is to brew it! Splurge on a homebrewer starter kit. It will have everything you need to brew your first batch. I recommend starting with something on the easier side like an American Pale Ale, known for its crisp citrusy hop notes and balancing malt character. Not only will you be more likely to succeed on your first attempt, but you’ll also be less likely to quit the hobby out of frustration.
Visit a new brewery
According to the Brewer’s Association, there are approximately 6,000 craft breweries in the United States. Think of all that delicious, untapped beer! Even if you only visited one brewery a month, just imagine how much craft beer could excite your palate. Some of my favorite local craft breweries include Adirondack Brewery, Brown’s Brewing, Druthers Brewing, Artisanal Brew Works, Mad Jack Brewing, Davidson Brothers, and R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery. For more craft breweries in New York State, visit newyorkcraftbeer.com
and start touring!
Cross another style off your list
I am a huge fan of sour beers. My personal favorite is the Gose (pronounced GOH-zeh). However, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. This year, step out of your comfort zone and try something new… like a Brut IPA or Scottish Ale, for instance. I happen to know a couple great examples if you’re interested: Ommegang Brut IPA
and Adirondack Fat Scotsman Ale
. Be brave! It’s time to expand your horizons and your palate.
Pick up some light reading
Whether you want to open your own brewery one day or just want to know what food to pair with an IPA, there’s a book for that. Seriously. I highly recommend picking up Randy Mosher’s Tasting Beer
. It’s one of the most informative and enjoyable beer books. It also helped me pass the Certified Cicerone exam. Other great craft beer authors include Garett Oliver, Ray Daniels, Joshua Bernstein and Sam Calagione. Go on, get nerdy with it!
Become an expert at food and beer pairings
When it comes to food and beer pairings I always refer to the 3 C’s: cut, contrast or complement. Cutting is essentially cleansing the palate. Something high in carbonation, like an American Light Lager, would cleanse your palate after eating greasy chicken wings. Finding contrasting flavors can be extremely satisfying, like pairing a sweet American Brown Ale with a spicy Indian dish. Complementing, which happens to be my favorite, means choosing a beer with a similar profile as the dish. Think Chocolate Stout and chocolate cake.
I hope this article has inspired you to reinvent your thinking. Instead of setting those non-spirited New Year’s resolutions (What fun is that?), let’s focus on being the best beer drinkers we can be in 2019. Cheers to another year filled with more delicious beer!