Confessions of a Beer Novice

March 6, 2008 at 1:59 am (Beer) ()

I am not much of a beer drinker. If you’ve come into the store, and I’ve helped you pick out a beer, it was probably with borrowed knowledge. Trust me – you wouldn’t want my first hand opinion. It would go something like this: “This tastes like beer…with a little bit of caramel” or “This tastes like beer…a super bitter beer” or “This tastes like beer…with a lemon squeezed in it.” Not very

When I was working last week, Sally from Glunz came in to do a beer tasting. Beer, I thought, bummer. Sally, I love you, but why can’t you be pouring wine?

She laid the four beers out: Dogfish Head India Pale Ale, the new Dogfish Head Palo Santo, Unibroue’s Don de Dieu, and Lindeman’s Cassis lambic beer. Well, at least I’d like one. Lindeman’s lambics are quite tasty, and the Cassis may be my favorite. Mouth-puckering black currants balanced with acidity and a hint of
sweetness. I could drink it all day. But, let’s be honest, it hardly counts as beer.

The other three stood ominously on the counter, mocking me and my wine-centric palate.
“Okay Sally, I’ll take a little bit of the first one,” I said, trying to artfully linger on the word “little.” The DH Palo Santo. Dread. I brought the glass to my lips, expecting a deluge of bitter beeriness (which, by the way, is a real word according to my Microsoft spell checker), AND…hold up. Wait. I don’t hate this. In fact…maybe I even like it a little? It can’t be! Mellow, a little bit smoky and sweet, smooth, not at all bitter. It was good. Not just passable, not just choke-downable (not a word, sadly), but just plain good. Look at me, I like beer!
The rest of the tasting went similarly, to my utter astonishment. The India Pale Ale was set to be my least favorite, as it is a hoppier style (hops are a preservative that the British would use when transporting beer to India in the 18th century – thanks Sally). But, I actually didn’t mind it. It was really well balanced, and the hops didn’t overwhelm the flavor or body. And I LOVED the Don de Dieu. It is a triple wheat ale from Canada, made with aromatic hops rather than bitter hops. Slighty sweet with malty vanilla notes, citrus, and a subtle but pervasive spiciness. Refreshing, drinkable, and interesting. And named after Samuel de Champlain’s boat (again, citation due to Sally). Just lovely.
Alright, this is a start. Now, YOU have to hold me accountable for continuing my beer education and appreciation. I plan to make this a biweekly post. This way, I will have to try a few new beers every week. Let me know if you have any suggestions. And get on my case if the posting goes conspicuously missing…

Posted by Jane


  1. clay said,

    one of the best beers i have ever had…
    Schneider & Son Brewery’s Aventinus… delicious. there is a lot going on with it, i hope you like. PS – i LOVE beer and am not a big fan of the overly hopped beers either 🙂

  2. Jane said,

    Thanks, Clay. We actually carry the Aventinus so I will definitely take it home soon. Cheers, j.

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