99 bottles

dear beer,

don't ever change.


from the gnarly 6-packs of swill i bought for $3.99 from CVS in my college days to luscious belgian brews in cozy philly pubs, i love me some beers. there is a beer for all budgets, for all seasons, for all occasions. there are beers that taste like a hug, and beers that taste like a punch in the face. there are beers in pretty cans, and unassuming growlers. so much to explore!

while local beer nerd-dom has risen steadily (see here, here, here and here), i've been happy to just keep on sampling and sipping. i don't keep a little notebook handy to track my tasting notes, i don't actively seek out "cult" brews on tap, and i sure as shit won't frown at a frosty coor's light from time to time. as i've mentioned in the past, this level of commitment and, well, zeal, just ain't my style. i like what i like (which honestly, is most things i try), and i don't like snobbery.

however, i did check out this epic tome from the library recently, and i must say - it's been enlightening.

garrett oliver is the brewmaster of the beloved brooklyn brewery, a world traveler and a serious beer expert. this book is part auto-biography, part beer style-by-style history lesson, and part beer and food pairing guide. i read a chapter every morning while i eat breakfast, and i'm learning some fun stuff. overall, the text is pretty well written, and it's cool to see how beer has played a role throughout all of history (think about it...from egyptian pharaohs' tombs to the 2008 election), and how different world events have effected how and what kinds of beers are brewed. most of the beer and food pairings revolve around meat, which is disappointing, but maybe i should come to expect this by now.

two less expected outcomes of reading this book: a serious urge to travel internationally, and a burgeoning curiosity about homebrewing. maybe a new hobby to pass the winter months? and hell, if the homebrew is good, i could save some cash at the bar for my travel fund! in olde england, as the book explains, most women were expected to know how to homebrew as part of the domestic arts. sometimes, men even referred to their wives as "alewives." perhaps i can be an alewife for the new millennium...

anyway, a more attainable goal for the time being is to sample the oktoberfests that most quality breweries are rolling out in the coming weeks. brooklyn brewery's especially - go get 'em, garrett!


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