Editor: Anyone truly passionate about beer runs into those people whose misconceptions about brew are painfully annoying. In the RateBeer spirit of lists Owen Ogletree, organizer of Georgia's <a hrefhttp://www.negia.net/~brew/ target=_blank>Classic City Brew Fest, offers his top ten list of the most assinine ideas about beer.
10.) The idea that all dark beer is really strong.
Not true - a delicious, roasty Dry Stout has less alcohol than a standard American Lager. The Stout also has more complex carbohydrates and tannin-like compounds that are good for your heart. Don't be afraid of the "dark."
9.) People who will eat rich spicy foods, but say they don't like flavorful beer.
What's up with this? If you enjoy flavorful foods, why not drink flavorful beers? Drinking nothing but light American beer is like condemning yourself to eating nothing but fast food hamburgers the rest of your life. Experiment with different beer styles and try to find new favorites with flavor and personality. Live a little! If after years of sampling and trying different beers you still find that you can only stomach light beers, this means that you probably don't like beer!
8.) States that mandate alcohol limits on beer.
Some of the world's most flavorful, gourmet beer styles have over six percent alcohol. In Georgia, for example, an adult can go into almost any convenience store and buy a jug of horrible, high alcohol, fortified wine, but wonderful Trappist Ales, Belgian Tripels, Scotch Ales, and Barley Wine Ales can't be sold.
7.) The idea that Bock beer is from the dregs at the bottom of the barrel.
Arrrgh! How many times have I heard this misconception?! Bock is a wonderful, malty lager beer from Germany. It is sweet, clean, clear, and probably one of the world's most flavorful beer styles. "Bock" is the German word for goat, and since most Bock beers have a higher alcohol content than most people are used to, these beers can have a "kick" like a goat.
6.) Beer that is served at temperatures close to freezing in mugs frosted over like an iceberg.
Cold numbs the tongue. Ice cold beer is beer without flavor. The English have the correct practice of serving their flavorful ales at cool cellar temperatures (50-55 degrees F) that allow the palate to actually experience the flavors of the beer. Take time to warm up a frigid beer with your hands before you drink it -- you'll be able to taste how pleasant (or unpleasant) your favorite beer really is.
5.) Brewpubs and beer bars that are full of smoke.
A huge part of enjoying a wonderful beer is being able to smell that wonderful beer. Swirl and sniff your beer before and after each sip to really appreciate the flavor. Cigarette smoke destroys your ability to enjoy the aroma of beer.
4.) Beer in clear or green bottles.
That beer in the green or clear bottle could very well be a marvelous, well-made beer, but those bottles provide no protection against light that can give the hops a skunky smell and taste. If you buy beer in green or clear bottles, make sure it has NEVER seen the light of day.
3.) Wine lovers who look down on beer as an inferior beverage.
There are more styles of beer in the world than wine. Beer has its own history, depth of character, and charm. Some Belgian beers taste just as complex and robust as many wines, and there are food and beer pairings that work better than wine. Open yourself up to the incredible world of beer styles from around the world -- you will be impressed and amazed!
2.) People who associate beer with wild drunkenness.
Beer is a very poor choice for someone who wants to become intoxicated as quickly as possible. Beer has the LEAST amount of alcohol of any alcoholic drink, and beer has an extremely high water content. I am upset to see a few people each year at beer festivals who are not there to taste the different styles of beer, but rather to drink as much as possible and be loud and obnoxious. Beer is an impressive beverage, full of history, diversity, and flavor that offers great benefits in moderate consumption. Consume beer wisely and appreciate it for the fine beverage it is.
1.) People who order a bottled light beer in a brewpub.
Don't get me wrong -- American Lagers are respected beers that are quite difficult to produce well. But going into a beautiful brewpub that prides itself on the careful and thoughtful production of its own food and beer and ordering a bottled light beer is like going to one of Napa Valley's best winery tasting rooms and asking if they have any wine in a box. Next time you sit down at a brewpub, order a sampler tray of all the fresh beers made at the location -- chances are you will enjoy the experience and find a delicious beer.