Saturday, June 03, 2006

Beer Means Everything to Almost Everyone, Everywhere

Beer is possibly the greatest sociological commodity in the history of civilization. Wow, did I just say that? It is actually pretty difficult to write a sentence that contains the words "greatest" and "history of civilization" while being truthful. What is not so difficult is providing, the factual information that will persuade everyone else that my declaration is correct.

Beer knows no bounds, socially or economically. Beer drinkers can range from red-necks drinking Bud to high-brows sipping Sam Adams' Utopia. A low-end six pack of beer can cost someone around three dollars, while at the same time it is also not hard to find a 12oz bottle of beer that costs over ten dollars. Every country in the world, from the good old USA to Thailand, and everywhere else in between has beer and more importantly beer drinkers.

Beer has been around since primitive times ( at least 50,000 years) and has survived Ancient Egypt, Medieval times, the Spanish Inquisition, Crossing Oceans, World War I and even Prohibition. Beer, as was most early edibles and drinkables, was found by accident. Some grain was left in a container. The container was rained on. The grain became wet. Wild yeast attacked the watery bowl of grain, causing a bubbling fermentation. Some brave soul stumbled upon the liquid concoction and Lord knows why, decided to drink it. Luckily, the person did not die, but instead became drunk. The feeling was well appreciated and beer was born.

Beer over the years has been used as a social lubricant. A glass or two of beer has gotten many a party started. Beer has been used to inspire. The relaxed feeing from the malted, fermented barley has produced many priceless artworks, music and novels. Art of the deal? Over time, a mug of beer has sat at plenty of financial tables. Beer has even been used medicinally. In Ireland, a pint of stout was involved in countless cures for all sorts of bodily aliments. Beer has even been used to procreate the human race. A couple of beers can result in some freaky, old fashion lovin. Isn't that what Jimmie Buffet sings?

When you raise your next pint glass or mug of beer, think about all that has happened and gone before. The long history of beer. I am sure before you have finished your glass, you too, will say, "beer is the greatest sociological commodity in the history of civilization." Maybe it will take three glasses.

The Beers

Allagash White: Summers here. And while thoughts may turn to baseball, the beach and barbecues, my thoughts turn to wheat beer! Nothing, to me, is more refreshing on a hot summer day, than a cold glass of wheat beer. I look forward to it so much, that once summer is over I refrain from having wheat beer to build the anticipation for the next summer season. This year, I tried an offering new to me. Always a fan of Belgium Wheat or White beers and also a huge fan of Allagash Brewing, it was a beautiful day, when my beer store finally stocked Allagash White. I never had an Allagash White before, so I was very excited to get this bottle home. No disappointment for me. Allagash White was true to the Belgium Wheat style. The beer gave off the tried and true smell of cloves. Not overpowering, but just enough to get the mouth to water. A beautiful amber color, with a bright white head. The clovey, citrus taste was just what the doctor ordered. Allagash White was superbly light, crisp and refreshing. The town of Hoegarden would be proud. I like this beer so much, that it has earned a spot in my house tap system. In addition to bottles, Allagash White also comes in 1/6 kegs for your beermeisters.

Dogfish Head Immort Ale: I enjoy a high alcohol beer. High alcohol beers make a great night cap or a terrific after dinner drink. Immort Ale was no exception. At 11% alcohol, this ale smelled a bit like toasted oak. The first taste was not what I expected. The taste of the beer had hints of maple and vanilla, but what really set the beer apart was the smokey oak taste. As the beer went down, the smokey oak flavor was very pleasant. Once that first sip goes down then the warming sensation hits. It hits you with a smattering of vanilla. This was a very well crafted beer and should be enjoyed slowly. At 11%, you have to be carefull. I purchased extra bottles for my beer cellar.