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New Beer Rule #10: Beer is food

Need I add more?

OK. Beer is food for thought. Beer is food for the soul.

But I’d rather keep NEW BEER RULE #10 that simple: Beer is food.

(Full disclosure: The idea for this rule was inspired by Alan McLeod’s question — “Why Does That Word ‘Pairing’ Make My Temples Ache?” — in response to Mark Dredge writing about the oft-mentioned topic of food and beer pairings. Excellent reading.)


New Beer Rule #8: More beer, less analysis

NEW BEER RULE #8: Always take beer more seriously than yourself.

This needs little explanation.

But to be clear, this is a beer rule. Not a life or work rule. The alternative version goes like this: Ask yourself if it’s the beer you are taking too seriously or yourself.

The rule popped into my mind not long after I hurriedly posted my Thursday morning musing, so here are those links again and one to a discussion that followed.

Over Analysis Syndrome (from brewer Matt Van Wyk)
Armchair Brewer Syndrome (from brewvana)
Drinking the same beer way too long (from The Beer Mapping Project)
Rating Beer Raters? (Rate Beer discussion – Matt must still be amazed what he wandered into)

You connect the dots.

New Beer Rule #7: Beer is not the new wine

Beer For LunchLast night we ate leftover smoked meat and drank Southern Tier Choklat. One, then the other. No pairing involved. Sometimes you just want a beer, maybe even a strong one.

Choklat, an 11% abv imperial stout infused with dark Belgian chocolate, qualifies on both counts. It’s one of the beers I’ll be writing around 85 words about in the next All About Beer magazine Beer Talk.

You’ll notice these days that more often than not Beer Talk panelists suggest a food pairing for the beer they are describing. I tend to be the slacker. I know that Charles Finkel, who tastes the same beers as I, will have terrific suggestions and I try to use the small space alloted to squeeze in something different.

I’m keener than most about the notion beer belongs at the table, but these days the movement hardly seems to need my help. For instance, the Brewers Association yesterday revealed new details about “SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience,” including something called educational salons. These are presentations by “savvy cross drinkers.”

I guarantee you that the words “Beer is the new wine” will be bandied about.

What does that mean? I really don’t know. The phrase doesn’t seem to serve beer or wine well. Wine is the new wine. Beer is the new beer. (And the old beer, which is equally important.)

Beer “styles” have always evolved, with various riffs sometimes turning evolution into revolution. This is nothing new. In the 1930s it was the monks at Westmalle refining the “tripel” style. These days it might be two brothers in a former hardware store in Warren, Mich., inventing something new or an ex-English major in San Diego blending mead, strong ale and sour beer to create Veritas (Latin for truth).

Truth is it’s still beer.

NEW BEER RULE #7: Beer is still beer.

New Beer Rule #6: Ode to the empty glass

Empty beer glassNEW BEER RULE #6: The best beer was in the empty glass.

This rule came from a conversation with Matt Trevisan of Paso Robles winery Linne Calodo for an upcoming story, and he was explaining how he blends wines.

“I start with five glasses and I pick the emptiest one,” he said. “In the end you want the blend that you keeping going back to.”

Trevisan sat in on the blending session last year when Paso Robles winemakers helped the brewers at Firestone Walker assemble the highly acclaimed Firestone 10.

“I told them they didn’t have to sit there and pick it apart to find the best one,” Trevisan said, offering advice that works for wine or beer. “You didn’t necessarily want the one you had the most to say about. Ultimately it’s a beverage to enjoy.”

How you use this rule is up to you. But I think it is a pretty good excuse to haul a treasured beer out of the cellar even though you know you’ll never be able to replace it, or a reason to spend a little bit more for a bottle.

All the New Beer Rules.

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