Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Guest Post: The first beer of an aspiring Beer Baron

Apologies, acolytes. After 12 nights of holiday merry making I made the ill-fated New Years resolution to quit beer for the month of January (and JUST the month of January) as a compromise to my jolly but overworked liver. Needless to say I made it to Friday. Now I'm back on (off?) the posting wagon, and delighted to be back. Which itself is...well forget it.

Today we have our first ever guest post (!!), courtesy of Pat the Beer Baron, who I'm sure is quite the bowler. He writes of that delightful experience we can all relate to: trying our first ever nasty-a** brew, nearly puking, and from there beginning a wonderful, lifelong friendship. Engage!

Ode to Canned Beer: A Guest Blog

Since this is my first Brew Hops guest post, it only seems right to start with my first beer. For most people, their first beer is typically served unceremoniously in a can and something in the depressing variety of Natural Light, Bud Light, or some other watery taste-free substance that your young palette could tolerate while you got on with the business of getting drunk for the first time.

Well, that wasn't me. In fact, I'm quite proud of my first beer: A can of Genny Cream Ale. I stole two cans from my parents' fridge, joined a friend in his backyard and we cracked them open. At that point in my life, it was easily the worst thing I had ever tasted. Bitter, sour, sickly ... I knew beer wouldn't taste good at first, but I wasn't expecting something that bad.

That's what we come to expect from canned beer. Either something tasteless or something foul. But lately, a handful of canned beers have been breaking the stereotype and actually delivering craft beer quality suds that you buy for taste, rather than the hipster status symbol that PBR has become. What follows is a list of my 5 favorite canned beers:

5) Funaguchi Kikusui Ichiban Shibori (Canned Sake)

Ok, it's not a beer. I really only have 4 favorites, but lists have to come in multiples of 5. I thought to myself, Sapporo is a solid canned always comes in an enormous size...the can is built like it contains nuclear secrets...but then I realized I was just looking for an excuse to mention Funaguchi Kikusui Ichiban Shibori sake, which is absolutely delicious. And affordable. And in a can!

4) Moo Thunder

This stout from Butternuts Beer & Ale is a solid stalwart. My first sanctioned beer with my parents was a Guinness, so I've always been fond of stouts, plus Moo Thunder captures some of the thick coffee flavor of the old Guinness Extra Stout bottles. (Incidentally, Butternuts website deserves a visit of its own. When a canned beer website chooses John Williams' Olympic anthem "Summon the Heroes" as its theme song, you have to tip your cap.)

3) Old Chub

A drunk Scot in a can. This Scottish Ale from Oskar Blues in Lyons, Colorado, which credits itself with starting the canned craft brew craze back in 2002, is a signature achievement, capturing all the carmelized notes and every percent of alcohol content famous to the Scotsmen's second favorite alcoholic beverage. Dale's Pale Ale, their signature brew, is probably more recognizable, but Old Chub is my favorite.

2) Porkslap

A meaty farmhouse ale (again from Butternuts Beer & Ale), this is the beer that first opened my eyes up to how good canned beer can be. It's gotten to the point where I will often go to a bar and choose a can of Porkslap at $3-4/can over the options on tap.

1) Genny Cream Ale

Notwithstanding the above, I went to college upstate where shotgunning Genny Cream Ales was a rite of passage and a feat of strength, much like tribes in the Phillipines that drink turpentine as a display of manhood. So it's probably three parts nostalgia to one part taste informing my choice here, but what can I say, I genuinely love the taste of Genny Cream Ale, two decades after my first, horrifying sip.

Besides, there's just something about a man who chooses to drink Genny Cream Ale for pleasure. That's not a man to be taken lightly.

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