ABC’s of Women And Beer: Letter G

G is a favorite letter of mine. When it comes to beer, it’s also the starter letter of one of my favorite things to talk about with Beer: Glassware.

Glassware matters

Glassware for beer is as important as dishes are for food. Would you serve soup on a plate and expect the same experience as if it were served in a bowl? Would you offer a slice of roast beef in a measuring cup? Would these differences matter?

Of course they would. Ultimately, it’s your beverage and food – do as you wish.

If you really want the full benefit of everything the beer and food can offer, then it’s time to get smart about glassware and dishes. Full enjoyment and sensory encounters necessitate the use of glassware that will help you smell, examine, and taste everything beer has to offer.

Glassware is an excellent beer tool to experiment with too. Let me expound:

  1. Get an assortment of glasses of different shapes, volumes, and sizes together. Pour one kind of beer into between 3 and 6 of these glasses. Proceed to smell them all, clearing your nose after each one, to see how aromas are different from glass to glass.
  2. Next taste them from the different glasses. If taste is 90% based in our smelling, then the previous step of this exercise will be noticeable.
  3. After you’ve tasted them, set a timer and let them sit for 5 minutes. Revisit the aromas and flavors when the timer rings and see what a difference glassware makes in the longer term as well as the short-term.
  4. Repeat.

Time for the tapered pint to take a break

Glassware for beer is often the least optimum: the tapered shaker pint. For establishments it’s long been an issue of economy. It’s one of the most inexpensive glasses. And sometimes the lowest quality as well.

I’d challenge the establishments with this query then: If they believe the beer to be high quality, if they want the customer to have an optimum experience, if they want that customer to come back and bring friends over and over, then it’s high time to invest in better glassware. Small budget? Fine – at least start buying one box at a time. Replace as you can.

Brewers buy high quality ingredients. Establishments invest much in atmosphere and fixtures. Glassware needs to be regarded as an equally essential component in respecting and enjoying beer. Do your part if you’re a consumer and ask for it – ne – demand the beer you love is served in an appropriately helpful glass.

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ABC’s of Women and Beer: Letter F

Fresh. Just saying the word connotes a certain welcome. ffffffrrrrresssshhhhhhhh

Fresh beer and fresh food is what we’re told is best. And what precisely does fresh mean then towards the end of beer and food?

Brewmaster Larry Chase of Standing Stone Brewing Company tells us that fresh in relation to beer means “clean flavor, height of flavor, the best the flavor will ever be; vibrant flavor.” Plus, he adds, “fresh beer is better for you.”

I’d agree about the better for you part as well since nutrition degrades with time once something is made or processed.

There are a number of resources online to review for yourself. Here are two I found on a quick search:

  1. The FDA is loaded – here’s a starting point.
  2. MillerCoors offers up some info.

Notice date codes on beer, ask the beertender how long the keg has been tapped, how to read bottle and can date codes, contact packaging breweries to make sure they include a code of date packaged, and ask the beertender how often the taplines are clean (should be 9 – 14 day cycle). These all relate to the fresh experience.

Talk to the produce folks and growers – they’ll be a wealth of information and can also point you down more educational avenues.

However you choose to enjoy fresh beer and fresh food, the key is being educated, exercising moderation and an active lifestyle. Fresh only helps when you take full responsibility to start with.

There is no such thing as a beer belly. It’s a belly from neglect of care, thoughtfulness, putting down the fork, and moving your body.

Take charge and enjoy!

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ABC’s of Women And Beer: Letter E

Q: How much energy does it take to make that glass of beer?

A: Depends.

A. Too much.

A. It can be less.

Featuring the letter E today, we’ll talk a bit about energy required in beer making.

Cheers to smart energy use and reduction

First of all, is it something you think very much about? If you said yes, good for you. If you said “hmmm…no, not really” you’re in good company.

Having done some specific research in the area of water this year, it’s apparently something many still need to think about: energy in their beer and the resources that accompany the energy.

Energy use in beer can be calculated by electricity (coal? hydro? wind?), water use (making beer, adding to beer, cleaning), resources (staff, materials, ingredients – which are all energy users as well), and so on….where does it end?

Well, really, it doesn’t. Even when we’ve consumed the beer, where is the energy needed to process it (our bodies) and then what happens to it once the energy of the beer is primarily used (a visit to the restroom renews the cycle).

Energy is a big component in any manufacturing and beer is a manufacturing process. Commercially available beers, of all size breweries, as well as homebrew requires energy.

We’ve come a long way in America and many other countries from only burning wood to fuel our pursuits. No matter how you fuel the energy beast in beer making and consuming, be cognizant and thoughtful. Reduce is always first (think New Belgium for one example), reduce is next (do you really need that XYZ, how about returnable bottles) and only then recycle (heat recovery like SSBC).

Energy moves the world. Let’s be careful and always be thinking of and trying new ways to reduce its use, while still enjoying our beer.

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