Friday, April 10, 2009

Dispelling Beer Myths ~ Out of the Cooler and Into Your Home

It wasn’t all that long ago when I too was a suckered victim of purposely marketed misinformation within the wide world of beer. With the help of unfettered and informed beer individuals, I learned that the true was anything but. I had been duped, just as millions before me and millions to come. Was I always such a gullible cog incapable of free thought? I don’t believe so, but it takes time, patience, and perseverance to dispel perpetuated myths, fallacies, and calculated fraud.

That, my fellow beer friends, is what I am here to do today. If only one person at a time, one beer myth at a time, I will try to open your eyes to what is real and what is not.

Besides being a beer aficionado and self-proclaimed ambassador, I am also a professional in the retail field of beer and spirits. I see day in and day out the perpetuated lie that if one takes refrigerated beer and doesn’t keep it refrigerated said beer will spoil. Or, even worse, should one take refrigerated beer, let it stand at room temperature, refrigerate it, then repeat another one or two times more, said beer will spoil.

About 1/10th of that myth is based in truth.

I always make sure to take a deep breath before attempting to calmly educate my fellow beer patron as to what is myth and what are the real facts. More often than not, I see the light bulb of understanding turn ON and they leave beer in hand, a little bit less of a willing victim of calculated mass-marketing. I also hope that as they embrace their newfound enlightenment, they also strive to educate their equally misinformed friends.

Domestic room temperature = 50 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit

Let me say this: if the beer you are buying is of such inferior quality that a simple change in temperature from cooler to your house (I keep mine at 70 and I know I’m not the only one) will destroy your beer, you are better off not drinking that crappy swill in the first place. Yes, crappy swill. I am not going to pander to your sheepish sensitivities or appeal to your lack of taste. Cheap crap is cheap crap, no matter how you might dress it or what pretty name you may give it or fancy jingle you sing to sell it.

Real beer is made from the best quality ingredients by caring brewmasters with longevity and durability in mind. I am sure that the English Government wasn’t all too concerned about the travelling conditions of their India Pale Ale when they shipped it to their businessmen and troops overseas in India. After all, that was why they had brewed up this brand new beer that was tasty, hearty, and made to handle the worst that mother-nature and man could throw at it, much less a shot trip car ride home.

Now that is what I call real beer with real flavor, real taste, and real diversity.

So what about that 1/10th and how does that factor in? Cheap beer made cheaply by the trillions with cheap adjuncts and lesser quality ingredients will always result in a beer that is fragile at its best and sometimes already spoiled before it even makes it to your liquor store’s shelves. At that point, a wee bit of a temperature change or two won’t matter one bit. If it hasn’t skunked before it makes it to your fridge, then good for you and good for them. It still won’t kill the beer to have it go from cooler to home before going into your fridge, whenever that may be. Also, you better drink that mass produced lager super cold because that is the only way cheap beer tastes halfway decent. Frozen tastebuds incapable of performing their natural visceral duty means the consumer only has to worry about the scantily clad woman selling it. A quality beer also benefits from marketing in that their quality, taste, diversity, and longevity is successfully passed on to their discerning market.

But I am digressing.

I want the beer buyer to understand that extremes of anything are never good for any beer, craft or import, and especially cheap macro products. If you leave your beer sitting out in the summer sun for the day, especially here in Florida, I wouldn’t drink it even if you made me. At that point, the extreme heat and deadly sun’s rays have started to deconstruct and destroy the beer inside the bottle or can. These are extremes we are talking about, after all. A little trip home from the grocery store or liquor store with your beer in tow isn’t going to do anything to your beer. Even after you get home, if you don’t put it in your fridge right away, the beer will be fine. I would advise against leaving it in your car all day, though.

Minor temperature changes = OK
Extreme temperature changes = BAD
Good bottle color = Brown
Bad bottle colors = all others

If you’re not refrigerating your beer right away, just put it somewhere where it isn’t hot, muggy, and exposed to direct sunlight. That’s it. That is all one needs to do to ensure the longevity and health of their quality beer, and if you can age it, even better. Quality, not quantity. Like it all you may, it still doesn’t change the stark reality that the mass-produced American Standard Lagers are of a much lesser quality because that which slakes your thirst keeps the massive cogs of the marketing machine oiled so that the corporate giants can keep filling their pockets with your hard-earned money.

Water is a great thirst quencher.

Even the best craft and import beer will succumb to the elements without long-term proper care, and if there is a Best-By Date on them, observe it. In the meantime, what I want to hopefully express clearly, maybe with a little well-deserved bias, is that your beer will be OK with minor temperature changes. Fret not and don’t pass on that 6pack or 12pack just because it’s in the cooler and you’re not going home right away. And if you are really that worried about your beer going bad with even that minor a temperature change, maybe it is time to reflect on the beer you are drinking and whether it is worthy of your time, enjoyment, and hard-earned money.

I’m just saying.

Life is short. Drink good beer.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

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