Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Give the Gift of a Beer Epiphany

Hmm what's this? Tastes funny. I like it!

For any of you who whipped out your iDevices to look up what epiphany means, let me save you some time. An epiphany according to dictionary.com is "a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience." I can't think of a more simple, homely, or commonplace occorence than drinking beer.

Unlike refined beverages like wine, spirits, or Kopi Luwak (look that one up, it's funny,) beer is the beverage of choice for Vikings, Australians, and Dwarves, who are some of the most proudly unrefined people/fantasy creatures in the world. The latter only applying to Australians and Dwarves, of course. These facts are totally uncorraborated, and I would have included pirates, except they like rum. Anyway...

During Gene and my interview with the beer wench we were asked an interesting question: "What was your first craft beer epiphany? Recall as many details about it as you can."

You can read my answer in full detail over at her blog, but this excerpt should summarize it:
This [my group of friends getting into finer things], by natural extension started to make us question the quality of the beer we were drinking. I ran into a website called BeerPal.com, which I still consider a great review resource and we started our own Quest for the Holy Ale. We printed out the top ten beers and tried to find them at various shops. What really stood out was #3 at the time, “St. Bernardus Abt 12.” We all split one, and it had the same miraculous effect. We instantly became beer snobs; my personal affinity being for Belgian Abbey Ales.
For those of you who enjoy this blog but aren't really into beer, I urge you to try and have a beer epiphany. It can really open up your horizons about this unusually complex beverage. Ninety nine percent of what you'll find out there are the major brands and nothing special, but try and explore the back aisles. Review sites are a great place to start, and although we have our fair share right here on ATOTB we are by no means a complete resource.

If you've already achieved beer Nirvana, nevermind (ok, that's a bad 90's joke.) Seriously, try and give a beer epiphany to some of your friends. I gave Gene a St. Bernardus as a Christmas present and look what happened. He answered the question:
My current brewing aspirations do stem back to my first real craft beer. It started around Christmas in 2005. I went and visited Nick at Lehigh and we exchanged gifts. I got him some little disco ball, and he got me a bottle of St. Bernardus ABT 12. I was surprised, thinking “he got me beer as a gift???” But then I tasted it, and here’s where I am today. I’m totally obsessed with the world of craft beers. I suppose Nick can take all the credit for this obsession.
Being a beer snob opens up an entire new realm of conversation. You'd be surprised by how many beer afficianados are lurking around out there for you to stumble across in your awkward social ramblings. If you're looking for a new way to break the ice, bring up Trappist ales (unless you're literally playing "Don't Break the Ice," in which case you should use one of those little red plastic hammers.)

I hope you'll take my advice in 2011: if the movement gets enough momentum maybe in 2025 craft beers will be the norm.

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