Beer and Glassware at the Iowa Expo

Beer and glassware. They’re so important together and so intrinsically entwined.

Which is exactly why I choose the topic at the HyVee sponsored Expo last weekend in Des Moines Iowa. The fine folks at Doll Distributing brought me in to help edutain the crowd – and a great audience it was!

Fun audiences at the HyVee Beer, Wine & Food Expo last week

They were attentive, fun, caught on quick to making ‘crowd sounds’ and even added their own enthusiastic and totally appropriate hand gestures.

I walked them through different kinds and styles of glassware, how they differ in the delivery of aroma and flavors, and why it’s fun to experiment. The volunteers in the audience who helped me by responding to questions went home with a fun WEB logos glass as well. We love giving away goodies!

A special thanks as well to the Tom Korder of Goose Island who was sitting in on the session for his help in demonstrating a hop rub.  Tom and his colleagues were great sports and it’s always fun to employ the talents of other ‘beer people.’

Herein lies the lesson today:

  1. Glassware is important to the sensory experience of your beer.
  2. Experiment often in creative ways – beer styles, glass styles, temperatures, and so on.
  3. Throw a beer & glassware potluck, invite friends to try different beers in different glasses and compare notes.
  4. Be a geek, never a snob.

Beer’s fun and meant to be that way and enjoyed in moderation. Please take these marching orders and go at it.

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Cooking With Beer And Iowa Girl Eats

It was a distinct pleasure to take the stage last week in Des Moines Iowa for the Iowa’s Premier Beer, Wine & Food Expo presented by HyVee. Having lived in central Iowa for a while, it was also great fun to ‘be back’ and reconnect in person with friends and colleagues.

Kristin & Ginger at the Beer Expo - Cheers!

One of the highlights was to take the Royal Flooring Stage with Kristin Porter, Iowa Girl Eats. Kristin is a delight to collaborate with and super easy to work with, good sense of humor and very knowledgeable on food preparation. Her tag line says a mouthful: “Eat well. Run often. Travel Far.”

We co-presented on cooking with beer, Kristin leading the recipe charge and cooking, me emceeing and keeping the guests with mouths watering entertained between the techniques and food creation. I happily featured delicious and diverse beers from the Doll portfolio with tasty success.

Cooking with beer with Kristin, IGE

Beer is an excellent cooking ingredient and if you’ve yet to use it as such, DO SO! It’s flexible, full of flavors and easy to manipulate. Plus you can use flat beer that you simply won’t drink or is left over from time to time. freezing beer in ice cube trays is an easy and simply way to ‘store’ it until you want it.

Results? Mouth watering guests who did indeed get to taste (some came back for seconds!) Kristin’s flavorful recipes – of course made with beer. I choose Summit’s Winter Ale for the beer that cooked with Kale, bacon and browned butter. Seriously delicious.

Hope to work with Kristin again – with a name like that, it’s a good sign for beer!

Tomorrow: Review of the Beer & Glassware session I gave at the Expo

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Are You An Open or Closed Minded Beer Taster?

Are you an open-minded beer thinker? Do you truly not adopt the snob stance and embrace equanimity and diplomacy?

Ginger & Kelle of Doll Distributing at the Show

I’ve found that while many people truly think and extol that they are indeed open-minded yet they are beer racists or snobs or simply closed-minded to trying beers they’ve not sampled before.

Beer should be an easy sell. It’s chock full of flavor and many people like to try new flavors. If you talk about beer as a flavorful experience you can get farther.

So what do you do with those who say “I’m not really a beer drinker” or “I don’t like dark/light/whatever beers”?

Having just been at the Iowa’s Premier Beer, Wine & Food show in Des Moines Iowa I was reminded of how important it is to be diplomatic and offer a new perspective to those reticent on what beer can give them. Here are a few tips:

1. Ask people what kinds of overall flavors they like – ask about flavors such as coffee, chocolate, banana, grapefruit, bread. Commonly identifiable ideas will help open the mind.

2. Remind them that “dark” and “light” aren’t flavors – they’re colors. And colors can tell you some things about your beer yet there is no universal anything for what a beer will really taste like until you give it to your taste buds.

3. If they say they’re a wine drinker – great! Ask what kind of wine – if they like deep robust reds, suggest a porter or other similar beer that can have cross flavors and characteristics. If they say white wine, find out what they like in white wine and see what you can do to match a similar flavor profile of a beer.

4. I ask a lot of people to humor me and let me pour them one finger’s worth of beer. If they don’t like it I’ll pour it out, rinse their glass and give them something else.  A small amount of “don’t be a snob” pressure when done right can be very effective for all concerned.

Help communicate that beer tasting is low commitment, high reward

It’s a tasting, for goodness sake. Big deal. If they don’t like it keep helping them discover and sample other beers. If they shut you off, then let them go. If people want to selectively miss out on the wonderful world of beer, it’s ultimately their choice.

You simply have to be sure that you truly tried to engage them. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve convinced to simply try it with the above suggestions and tips (plus lots more in my arsenal).

Don’t take no for the first 3 answers. People are only open-minded if they are willing to listen and try.

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