Thursday, June 23, 2011

MAXED OUT: Are you the key master?

We know it's almost July but do you have an umbrella handy? 'Cause Max is about to rain down some cold hard beer knowledge. Max?

Hello my key masters, I am the Gate Keeper, how the heck are you? So
today is the day that your fateful Gate Keeper reveals some of the
“Gateway Beers” that you non-beer-drinkers should give a try. I know
several of you are avid beer drinkers, but maybe you know someone who
isn’t. With this handy dandy guide you’ll be able to impart wisdom on
your “I HATE BEER” friends and see if you can’t get them to come to
the dark side, one sudsy brew at a time. Yup, here we go!

So, as some of you may remember from my first post, I wasn’t always
the beer-o-phile that I am now. I started my trip down Hoppy Lane
with Bud Light. That’s right, Bud Light. But on my twenty-first
birthday I went to lovely Las Vegas, Nevada with my Mom and a few
friends. While most normal human beings get to Vegas for their first
time and go straight to the black jack tables and grab their first
Long Island, I found myself drawn to a brew pub. I told the bartender
that it was my 21st birthday and that I was extremely interested in
the brewing process and in craft beer but wasn’t sure how to go about
getting into it. He gave me a sly smile (not creepy, I swear) and
poured me a…

...Hefeweizen is the best style of beer to get an anti-beer drinker to
say “Oh, that’s not terrible” to. Hefs are light, crisp, a little
sweet and pretty fruity. DO NOT PUT FRUIT IN BEER! If you MUST,
squeeze a lemon wedge in the beer and set the rind to the side. NO
ORANGES for the love of God! A little tiny bit of orange juice will
do absolutely nothing for the beer, I promise you. If it really makes
the beer drinker feel that much better about themselves or the beer
that they are drinking then go ahead but I can promise you that it
does nothing other than make the beer more acidic and will end up
tasting terribly half way through the beer. I’ve told you a few to
try before but as a reminder Franziskaner is a tried and true delight
straight from Germany. Nice banana flavor with a lovely, light yellow
color that is just beautiful in the light. German Hefs are also great
upgrades for your friends that only drink the swill that is Blue Moon
are the devil!

Pilsners are another good start for some people however you have to
find the right Pilsner. You can’t just throw out some crappy, bitter
Pils, you have to find something with a little sweetness because most
people just getting into beer are used to wine or sweeter cocktails.
Pilsner Urquell is a nice, easily obtainable beer originally from the
Czech Republic and is now brewed in Berkeley. Pilsner Urquell is a
nice dry, crisp and refreshing beer with a slightly sweet body. It is
also a good replacement for your Stella Artois fans out there, who
should be ashamed of themselves (just kidding Mom, I love you!)

Belgian Whites are another style of beer that are softer on the
pallet and offer a great break into the beer world. Avery’s White
Rascal is a beautiful example although you may have to hit up a BevMo
to find this tasty brew. Brewed out of Boulder, Colorado ‘Rascal’ is
nice and creamy with a slightly citrus body to it and a nice banana
nose. I’m not huge on the mouth feel towards the finish but overall a
very Gateway type beer.

Ciders are an obvious choice as they tend to be sweeter and most
people don’t really consider them beers. In fact, yes, they are a
style of beer. Not my personal favorite but pretty damn good on a hot
summer’s day. So if you must start with a cider try Julian Cider. It
is a bitterly sweet treat made with fresh Julian apples and at 7% gets
the job done, if ya know what I’m sayin’.

Delirium Tremmens, yes one of my top 10 favorites, is another beer
that surprises a lot of beer haters out there. It is technically a
Belgian Strong Pale Ale although, like I’ve said before, I think that
it is a perfect example of a Belgian Tripel. Call it what you will,
the beautiful notes of spices on the nose and finish, as well as the
sweetness of the body make this a beer that anyone and everyone can
enjoy. Sarah B, this is the beer that I want you drink when you take
me up on that beer challenge with the salmon dinner. But keep this
one cold, don’t pull it out of the fridge like I said before. This
isn’t that type of beer.

I’m also gonna throw stouts on the list. That’s right, the darkest
most chocolaty stout that you can find. If there are any red wine
drinkers out there, this is the style for you. Try Alesmith’s
Speedway Stout and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It has a
very strong coffee/chocolate flavor, and at 12.6% has relatively the
same alcohol content as most wines out there. You must be a fan of
chocolate, but if you are this is probably the beer for you. Me likey
this beer muy mucho!

Do any of my fellow beer nerds out there have any other suggestions?
Do any of my haters out there have any questions? Is there anyone
that needs more suggestions or advice for a step up for some of your
friends that are stuck on some crappy beer? You have a friend that
only drinks Newcastle and you want him/her to step it up? A
significant other that only drinks MGD and you want them to change
their stupid, stupid ways? You know what to do. Hit me up on
Facebook, comments below, or at Thanks
for reading guys... love you all like my children. Or like my distant
cousin, Ralph. Yeah, more like him.

Until next time my beer loving brethren, have a beer for me.

(ed. note: He speaks the truth. For those of you that do enjoy beer but may be intimidated by San Diego and California's calling card, the West Coast-style IPA (India Pale Ale) may we suggest the training wheels of Bear Republic's XP Pale Ale
or Green Flash's 30th Street Pale Ale.


SarahB said...

I will definitely hit BevMo for a Delirium Tremmens the next time on on the West side of town. I appreciate the very specific list since my 3 and 4 year old rarely let me meander and hem & haw in any kind of store, let alone one where all the contents are breakable!

Maxed Out said...

Ha! Glad I could be of service. Please let me know what you think of the good ole Tremmens. Just a heads up, it's an off-white bottle with blue foil and pink elephants. Should be in the Belgian section. Enjoy!

mike atkinson said...

I'm delirious for Delirium!

SarahB said...

Pink elephants, it...which is good since the stoners working the register at my BevMo only stare and drool.

Maxed Out said...

No, you're just delirious Mr. Atkinson ;-) Don't let them touch that bottle with their patchouli smellin', grubby lil fingers Sarah!

Mutnodjmet said...

Just to give you a heads-up: Ghostbusters III will be out next summer!

Road Dawg said...

I had a shocktop with an orange and enjoyed with a steak. I agree Blue Moon is common swill, but I enjoyed the shock top and like the orange slice with the heff's. I usually eat it on the side with very little squeezed in the suds.

B-Daddy said...

Max, unbelievable. Everything you said about Hefe's are exactly what I have practiced with Mrs. Daddy, down to the no oranges and keep the lemon rind out of the beer. Great minds thinking alike indeed.
Mrs. Daddy has also graduated to her first ale, even if a light one, Ballast Point Yellowtail Pale Ale. She also likes Shiner Blonde, which is my favorite Pilsner, surpassing Urquel, IMHO. I got her to try some Mirror Pond Pale Ale at the Offshore on Morena, and that also got a favorable review.

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