It’s that time again. The monthly beer blog-up known as The Session. The topic for this month’s session is “Framing Beer” and it comes to us from Andy Couch over at I’ll Have a Beer. Andy wants us to “Imagine persuasively describing craft beer to someone who has until now entirely missed out…“ I think I can handle that.
Of course no Session article could be written without actually drinking a beer, so Andy also asks that we “… drink a beer. Ideally drink something that you don’t think you will like. Try to pick out what it is about that brew that other people enjoy… ”
So I went to the well for this one and rummaged around in the back of the refrigerator. It was an arduous search, but I managed to produce a bottle of Rogue Imperial Stout from 2008. A formidable beer indeed.
Weighing in at 11% ABV and robed in a ceramic bottle Darth Vader would be proud of, it’s certainly not approachable.
It’s also not a style that I’ve really enjoyed, but I’m coming around. As I’ve mentioned numerous times – if I can’t drink 5 or 6 pints, then it’s generally not for me. But lately I’ve been learning to appreciate the subtleties of a style like this one.
This isn’t a beer that just anyone could appreciate though. Beer – like it or not – is an acquired taste. It takes time to learn to enjoy one like this. Your average Joe 24-pack isn’t going to pick up on the vanilla and berry in the aroma. The firm but not harsh bitterness. The way this beer deceptively hides it’s strength.
But we can find these qualities in other places can’t we? Certainly someone who enjoys a fine coffee could recognize the roasted flavors and identify the vanilla and fruit. A whiskey drinker might find an oak character and note the smoothness of the alcohol.
So maybe the way to re-frame beer isn’t necessarily to dumb it down – but to equate it to a similarly enjoyable experience. Of course not everyone is going to “get it” and maybe that’s okay.