THE SESSION #131 — BEER BLOGGING FRIDAY The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry.
Question No. 1
For our first question of the new year, what one word, or phrase, do you think should be used to describe beer that you’d like to drink. Craft beer seems to be the most agreed upon currently used term, but many people think it’s losing its usefulness or accuracy in describing it. What should we call it, do you think?
Honestly, I don't think much about "craft beer" or "independent brewing" monikers too much. I do most often navigate away from beers I know are owned by macro-breweries in favor of the artisinal made or local beers when all things are equal. BIG BUT — I still seek out Bourbon County Stout and other beers of distinction because they simply are so good and I love to drink them. I do have to say, with the more beer I drink, I have become increasingly particular to two factors. One, have I had this beer before (seeking new beer because it is in some part of my mind about the experience), and two, do I think this is a beer I believe will be excellent. Excellent is based on whether it is from a favored brewery and a favored beer style. So, to pick a single word or phrase, I'd have to choose...
Excellent Beer... Whatever the source
Question No. 2
For our second question of the new year, what two breweries do you think are very underrated? Name any two places that don’t get much attention but are quietly brewing great beer day in and day out. And not just one shining example, but everything they brew should be spot on. And ideally, they have a great tap room, good food, or other stellar amenities of some kind. But for whatever reason, they’ve been mostly overlooked. Maybe 2018 should be the year they hit it big. Who are they?
Brewery Ommegang - I choose this brewery because whatever they add to my local bottle shop shelves, I buy, and thus far have been pleasantly surprised — beyond my expectations. I recently wrote about my journey to learn to love sour beer. Those from Ommegang have certainly helped move me in that direction. Even though I've never been to the brewery, it is on the bucket list.
Burley Oak - I needed to highlight a local brewery and I think Burley Oak has been brewing some "excellent beer" (see question #1). While their sours have become their surprise signature beers — think Sorry Chicky — it's their IPAs that have really surprised me this year. Both the Citralaxy and the Denalaxy have been great, and that's not just my opinion. Other local breweries I could have mentioned would include RAR, Evolution and Monument City.
Question No. 3
For our third question of the new year, name three kinds of beer you’d like to see more of. It’s clear hoppy beers, IPAs and all of the other hop-forward beers they’ve spawned, are here to say. There seems to be a few other styles that are popular, too, like saisons, barrel-aged beers, anything imperial and also sour beers of all kinds. But lots of other previously popular beers seem sidelined these days. What three types of beer do you think deserve more attention or at least should be more available for you to enjoy? They can be anything except IPAs, or the other extreme beers. I mean, they could be, I suppose, but I’m hoping for beers that we don’t hear much about or that fewer and fewer breweries are making. What styles should return, re-emerge or be resurrected in 2018?
Oud bruin — Simply, it's a great beer style and one of my favorites. I love everything about it and need to have more. I did share my opinion of this style and the shortage of local contributions.
Quads — IPAs are all the rage but I think "excellent beer" drinkers are searching for more variety. Quads are a favorite style that I seek out when I see something new. I've experienced most of the classic Trappist beers and most of the best domestics. But there is always room for more when done right.
Barrel-Aged - While there is an increasing number of bourbon barrel-aged beers coming to the market each year, I'm enjoying the varieties of other barrel-aged beers. Whether an IPA on a bourbon barrel, some style stored in rum barrel or a wine barrel. I am enjoying the complexities these spirits and the wood bring to the flavors of the beer. The more of these I have tasted, the more I am really interested in those aged in new oak barrels. It's those I find most subtle and intriguing. I find myself slowing down, thinking more, working to pull out and notice the nuances the wood — not just the previous contents — are applying and influencing the flavor of the beer.
I have found these questions probing and causing me to think about my place in beer. It's good to look up from your beer glass every now and again to see what's around you. I still think beer is a thinking man's drink. And should cause a drinking man to think. I don't know, is there a tee shirt in there? Cheers!
Look for other writings on this theme here.