Craft beers are all the rage these days, with every major city in the country having at least a small army of craft brewers and their accompanying bars. That being said, finding the best craft beer can be somewhat of a tiring and thirst-inducing challenge.
The problem for beer drinkers is twofold: price and personal taste. But adventurous drinkers willing to set aside preconceived notions can actually find some very good brews. Just remember that craft beer, by definition, isn’t made in big factories pumping out millions of gallons per day.
Money Should Be No Object
The price issue with craft beer is intimidating to a lot of people. More often than not our attitude is one of, “Why spend $10 on a single pint when you can get the all-you-can-drink special? I’ll pay five bucks for a plastic cup and the privilege of standing in line for a generic light beer with all the flavor of stale rice cakes.”
If that’s your attitude, forget about finding quality craft beers. Quality costs money. That’s just the way it is.
Beer Sessions Magazine sums it up nicely by explaining that the quest for the best craft beer requires drinkers to open their minds to understand the craft brewing process. Not well enough to brew your own, of course; they don’t need the competition. But when you understand all that goes into craft brewing, you’re supposedly more willing to pay a higher price for your beverage of choice.
Learn to Pair Your Beer
We’ve heard of pairing your wine based on the type of food you’re eating, but pairing your beer? Yes, indeed. Apparently there is an entire science devoted to marrying craft beers and different types of food based on the flavors both present. Hopefully, these marriages last longer than Britney Spears and Jason Alexander who, amazingly enough, lasted a mere 55 hours.
The Brewers Association has gone so far as to provide a public service to craft brew drinkers by publishing a pairing chart. http://www.craftbeer.com/beer-and-food/pairing-tips/pairing-chart We kid you not. Apparently, a good Porter goes well with barbecued meats and chocolate peanut butter cookies. Who knew?
With this knowledge in hand, it seems a bit unfair to judge a craft beer solely on its own merits. Even if you cleanse your palate with some snooty-sounding French sorbet, you never really know the depth of a craft brew until you eat something along with it.
Does anyone know what goes well with Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies?
Get an App
In this day and age, the best tip we can give you for finding great craft beers is to get an app first. Yes, you can get an app for your Android, Windows, or iPhone. And if your phone is running Windows 8, get an app as quickly as you can. You need to start drinking right away.
According to TechCrunch, one of the better craft beer apps of 2012 is known as Taplister. This app, which has a companion website, lets beer drinkers search local bars to find out who is serving what. You can even search for a specific beer by name, in order to locate local bars serving it.
Beer Cloud is another good app, according to tech blog Cool Material. This app takes things one step further by including beer and food pairings along with searchable beer and bar menus. It’s like they combined Taplister and the Brewers Association pairing chart in one display of malted beverage brilliance.
Did someone say brilliant? Brilliant!
Be Like Lewis & Clark
If you want to find the best craft beers around, you need to be willing to act like Lewis & Clark. No, not Lois & Clark of Metropolis, Lewis & Clark of of the famous expedition that sent them all the way to the Pacific Coast. We hope they found a great craft beer when they got there; otherwise, it was an awfully long journey just to see Oregon.
The point is, finding the best craft beers requires a spirit of adventure and exploration. Be willing to go to new places and try new things. Be willing to drink beers with strange names like Dogfish Head Snowblower Ale, Arrogant Bastard, and Most Drool. These are all real brews, by the way.
If Lewis & Clark were able to lead an expedition from Missouri to Oregon with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and some native guides, surely you can schlep your way around city streets with a group of your best friends and a smart phone. To quote Nike, “just do it.”
So there you have it. Beer drinkers content with corporate brews and plastic cups probably stopped reading this article way back in the first paragraph. But if you’re still with us, you probably appreciate a fine craft beer. So put on your big boy pants, grab your credit card, and go get yourself some right now. Your local craft brewer will appreciate your business.