Your Guide to Craft Beer

Your Guide to Craft Beer Clubs

The popularity of craft beer clubs has exploded in the past decade and more and more people are skipping the big brands in favor of unique craft beers.  Craft beers like those sold by the Beer of the Month Club are made in smaller batches, usually made locally and they put together some high quality ingredients to make some rich tasting brews.  It is like beer makers have returned to their roots and play with recipes until it is perfect.  It is this search for a good tasting beer that makes craft beer appealing to so many people.

If you have been drinking Coors or Budweiser most of your life you may not know where to start when it comes to craft beer.  Some of the flavors may sound a bit weird too, do you really want to try a beer that tastes like Hawaiian Pizza…um no.  Craft beer doesn’t have to be like that, in most cases it is just a local brewery trying to make great tasting beer.  Let us help you get started into the world of craft beer, you never know you might like it more than you think.

Try Something You’re Familiar With

It sounds simple but if you have been drinking the same brand for years you may not really understand what you like.  Do you prefer beer, ale or IPA?  Start by selecting a craft beer brewed in the manner you prefer or that you are at least familiar with.  After that you can worry about flavors.  Here is the difference between beer, ale and IPA.

Check out a Taproom or Brewery

Most breweries offer tours, they love showing the public what the brewing process looks like and getting your to try their wares.  This is how they get new customers and get you to connect their beer with a great experience.  Take advantage of that, you can learn about the process and try new beer at the same time.

Check Out a Specialty Store or Section

Depending on how beer is sold in your state, you may be able to head to a specialty store that specializes in microbrews.  You can get recommendations from the staff or try a smaller quantity to see if you like it.  The staff here tend to be really knowledgeable about the brews and will help you find one that you like.

Craft beers as we know them are simply an old fashioned method of brewing beer that has come back in style.  High quality ingredients used to make smaller and more unique batches of beer.  It doesn’t have to have an “exotic flavor”.  Give it a try, you may be surprised at how much you like it.

Understanding the Characteristics of Wine

Understanding the Characteristics of Wine

Have you ever listened to someone describe a glass or vintage of wine and wondered what they meant by terms like “dry” or “full bodied”?  Understanding the characteristics of wine will help you to find not only a type of wine that you love but a vintage too.  So the next time you’re meeting friends for drinks at the local wine bar you will be able to understand more than just “white or red”.  You can impress them with your wine knowledge and perhaps even discover a vintage or two that you love.

Wine Characteristics

Sweetness:  When someone describes wine as dry, they are usually referring to the level of sweetness.  Your start to taste food and drink right at the tip of your tongue and that is where you detect sweet.  If the tip of your tongue tingles it indicates the level of sweetness, generally dry wines are less sweet.

Tannin:  This is one of the most misunderstood characteristics of wine and it is the hardest to explain.  Tannin gets confused with “dryness” because tannin dries in your mouth.  When there is phenolic compounds in wine it adds a degree of bitterness, phenolic compounds are found in the seeds and skins of the grape.  Sometimes they can also be added through the aging process.  Tannins can make wine taste almost herbal, it makes your wine more complex and it helps preserve the wine.

Acidity:  Don’t confuse acidity with a higher alcohol content it is something completely different.  Wines that grow in cooler regions of the world tend to have more acidity.  These vintages of wine feel  lighter almost like a spritzer, these types of wines aren’t as rich as those with less acid.  If your glass of wine leaves your mouth feeling gravelly or like you bit into a tart piece of fruit then that wine has a lot of acidity.

Fruity Flavored:  Wine has fruity flavors aside from the grapes.  In some wines you can taste strawberry and others will taste more like blackberries.  How fruity they are and what type of fruit they taste like indicate the region the wine is from.  Fruit is sometimes added to wine to enhance the flavor and dark fruit go with reds while lighter colored fruits work with white.

Body:  The body of a wine encompasses a number of different things such as age, vintage, where the grapes grew, alcohol content and how it was made.

There you have it, the most common characteristics of wine, now you can impress your friend with your knowledge of wine.