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Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Pied Piper of Beer

The Pied Piper, so the story goes, played his pipe in the town of Hamelin, collecting all of the mice as he marched through the streets. As he played his merry tune, the rodents followed the Piper out of town. The sad part of the story is that when the Piper was not paid for his services, he stole 130 children. You don't really hear much about that part of the story. Actually, the piper was blamed for the missing children, but was never proven guilty. It seems during the 1200's, parents gave their children up to the crusade movement, their guilt forced them to blame the Piper.

Okay, I went off track a bit there. The Pied Piper had the ability to start a movement. With his merry tune, one mouse started to follow him down the street, which led to two, then three, four, five, and so on, until hundreds and hundreds of mice followed the Piper out of town. Every single mouse in the town was completely on board with the Piper. The same thing is happening with good beer, the only difference is that we have many Pied Pipers. Is Samuel Adams a Pied Piper of beer? Sure is. Boston Beer Company's Beer had taste and also had the advertising campaign that started the Pied Piper ball rolling. Once people tried the beer and liked it, word of mouth took over and more and more people made the switch to good beer.

This happens with all of the microbrews. Flying Dog, Smuttynose, Allagash, Heavyweight, Dogfish head, Riverhorse, Victory and Flying Fish too name a few, are all Pied Pipers of Brewing. In the small world of microbrewing, these breweries do not have the budget of Samuel Adams to spend money on national print and television ads. So maybe they rely on catchy phrases or the stylish artwork on their cardboard six pack cartons to grab our attention. Once our attention is grabbed, hopefully we will buy the beer and enjoy it. We then tell a friend and maybe even our local tavern. Word spreads and more and more people are drinking good beer.

The only way to keep good, quality beer in the forefront of consumers is for us to drink good quality beer. I know this is a tough mission. Not many are up for the task. But you and I are the chosen few. It is our responsibility to try different beers, to speak up to our beer store managers. Let them know which beers we like and which beers we are willing to purchase. If Microbreweries are the Pied Pipers, we are the legion of beer followers that will ensure quality beer of many different styles, finds its way into our lives.


The Beer

Sierra Nevada, Celebration Ale. The innovators of hoppy beer in America, Sierra Nevada pioneered the hoppy style of beer in the beginning of the microbrew movement. Celebration Ale doesn't disappoint. The brewers from Chico, California have made a seasonal ale that is as hoppy as an IPA. A terrific brew.

Pinkus Organic Original Munster Ale. This German Alt beer poured a hazy golden color with a thin head. At 5.1% alcohol, the beer had a refreshing wheat beer taste. Slight cloves with a surprisingly dry after bite finish. Coupled with the sweet smell, this beer was very enjoyable.

JU JU Ginger. Ale brewed with ginger from the Left Hand Brewing Co., Colorado. This was a very light beer in taste and in alcohol as it came in at less than 4%. Hazy, orange color with a citrus taste. Just a hint of ginger. I would have liked more. This beer was very refreshing and would make an excellent beach beer.

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