Monday, September 28, 2009

Palette cleansing

I haven't been posting for a bit, because I really haven't been trying a lot of different brew lately. Once in awhile, I need to stop drinking a lot of beer. I need to step back, and let my palette get refreshed, and approach it again with maybe a better, more enlightened palette.
What I do is go to my back up booze, gin. I love gin. Gin, to me, is the holy grail of liquors. Now everytime I go to my favourite bar, I get a shot of Gin with a back of Hamm's. Not only do I enjoy the Gin, and let's be honest: the effects, but I actually apreciate the Hamm's a little, and find it not as disgusting as I once did.
So, what I would recommend to anyone that is a beer nerd, snob, or connoisseur, is to step back for a bit, and refresh your mouth. I have a few ideas, and would be interested to hear more.

Switch styles: Are you the one that orders IPA every time you go out? Get a mix and match IPA sixer every time you go to a bottle shop? For the love of god, there are other styles!! Try not having a single IPA for a bit (more than a day). Order a Pale the next time, or get ready for the cold weather by ordering Stouts more often. You may not like, or down right hate the first exploration into a new style, but not only will you approach IPA differently when you start back up, you may even find more beer that you like. Belgians, Bocks, Lagers, they are all out there.

Switch Boozes: The world is full of other ways to get lit and forget about your troubles, or cause new ones. My other vice is Gin, but it's not for everyone. Go visit a local distillery, and get free samples of other styles before investing money in a bottle. Most liquor stores have tastings sponsored by distilleries, and you can go in and try a few for free. Now, liquor is more expensive, but you can get those little bottles pretty cheap. One tip though, never go bottom shelf unless your mixing. You will thank me the next morning.
Cider is another overlooked beverage. For my money, Belmont Station has the best selection in town. Cider is not as popular here as it is in the UK, and the cider here is different. Some made here are bad imitations, often made from concentrate, and added color and flavorings. But good cider can be found, Aspall is a good Brit way to start. Wandering Aengus makes good dry, fairly traditional UK cider, while Blue Mountain is more sweet, and suited to most Americans. Another tip, Hornsby's is not cider, it's apple flavored crap. Look at it this way: Hornsby's=Busch light, Spire = Coors, Wandering Aengus = Bridgeport, Aspal = Hair of the Dog.
Wine is a good way to go too. Avoid the valley, and hit the Gorge to beat the crowds, and save on tasting fees.

Stop Drinking: Yeah, I know, I'm not doing it either. But, if you can this is probably a good way to refresh your palette. I can not speak from experience though. But, if I was to do it, I would try drinking a lot of fruit juices, and eating foods that contain flavors found it certain styles of beer. Then, when I went back an hour later to drinking, I could better taste the flavors that are listed in the tasting notes, instead of simply saying I do to look smart. Try eating a grapefruit, then drink IPA, eat some chocolate with coffee, then have a stout, etc.

I will drink beer again soon enough, trust me. But for now, it's Gin and Hamm's at my absolute favorite bar of all time. I know when I do, after my adventures through Juniper Berries and Minnesota funk, I will look at that first Vortex IPA or Fred a little different.

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