The Firkin for February 2012

This month, I want to implore the craft beer masses (Which aren’t massive yet, but maybe soon) to use the month of March to sample a variety of beers from a style that they usually eschew.

It is easy to hop from hoppy IPA to the next and revel in the extremes that craft brewers in the US (and increasingly, everywhere) take our palates. But I think we all should re-educate ourselves with classic styles that we might be under appreciating. And I lump myself in that group too.

I have recently taken to buying more alts and stickes and dopples in an effort to re-acquaint myself with styles that are not my usual go-to’s. Rather than complaining about and buying yet another off kilter BIPA or Cascadian or whatever it is being called this week.

So far, I have had Hopworks Secret Alt, the Sultan quad from 8 Wired and I have a Mediator from Heater-Allen awaiting me as well. And if I find one on tap, I will grab a pint of Cismontane’s Dopplesticke too.

Now why am I doing this? Drinking beers that I would normally look over? Because I think it is important to keep a wide angle on the beer world. Just like I firmly believe that travel, even if it is just one county or town over is vitally important to keeping your worldview open. I believe that I cannot truly appreciate the sublime taste of a Nelson Sauvin saison without comparing it to the latest brett sensation or an English mild.

But I also believe that we cannot just leap from trendy beer to trendy beer in some mad dash towards the next “it” beer. There are reasons why kolsch is still around. There are good reasons why there are such a following and passion surrounding simple session beers and there are really great reasons to have a well crafted pilsner. Because, damn if it doesn’t work so well with a pizza. If you don’t believe me head to Ken’s Artisan Pizza in Portland and have an Upright Pilsner.

So pick the polar opposite to what you currently have in your fridge. Give two or three different beers a whirl. Pick up an Old Peculiar or a German hefe because the goal is to have as MUCH CHOICE as possible. Others have had none and we should not take for granted the great craft beer times that we live in.