Wednesday, February 2, 2011

See You Sooner, I Hope.

It's not easy, but I'm trying to be a well-rounded beer drinker. Not just one who bangs on about sessionability or disses the latest beer rankings from "dangerous extremophiles." Maybe someone has to fight those battles--and Martyn Cornell is the man I'd pick--but I'm not sure there's any sport in it. Fish, meet barrel.

Also, "dangerous" is a strong word. We know the extreme beer lovers. We've seen them around. (Really, do they look dangerous to you?) They are among us. Sometimes, and let's try to be honest here, they are us.

Wouldn't it be boring to be the same sort of person all the time? Wouldn't it be boring to be the same sort of drinker?

Even we session-beer types need to remember that there are different drinks for different times and places. There are strong, special ones that we don't kick out of bed. Sometimes they wait for a good long while for that moment to be popped and divided into snifters among friends. Sometimes they are smuggled out of Missouri in a suitcase and brought to the tropics, for example. Hypothetically speaking.

Sometimes they are a cedar-aged Doppelbock of 9.5% strength, which even without actual spices tastes more like Christmas than any spiced ale you've ever known. Easily tasty, and what's the point in wishing it were lower in alcohol? I certainly wouldn't wish it had less flavor.

I wasn't taking notes. I was just hanging out. But if I was scoring, its number would be high. Funny how that happens. Might explain a few things.


  1. I believe session beer fans know how to appreciate a well brewed extreme beer than the other way round. But this might be my troll self speaking...

  2. I like a good 9%-plus abv beer to end the evening on, personally, provided I'm not too bladdered to enjoy and appreciate it by then. But don't tell anybody from Ratebeer, they won't believe you …

  3. To be a bit more literal, I think expensive, special-occasion beers tend to be rated more highly. So do big-flavored beers. So do black beers with thick heads--probably a reaction to decades of drinking thin yellow lager. But rather than make the Ratebeer rankings totally useless, I think those factors tell an interesting story.

  4. 9.5% is a quaffable sessioner next to some of the stuff on that list. It's below average strength, anyway - apparently the mean a.b.v. of the top 100 is 10.2%!