Truly Drinking Local

This article, sent to me by my Dad (hi, Dad!) is something that really excites me about what could happen in the next few years of craft brewing. Standard not-a-Luddite disclaimer first just in case people think I’m against using ingredients from far off places: I am not a Luddite.

That said: I think that it’s an interesting experiment to see if or how the flavor of a beer is impacted by locally sourced ingredients. The world has given us the opportunity to homogenize so much, or to simply blend so that distinctive qualities, both good and bad, are blunted and I sometimes wonder what’s being lost in translation.

For me it comes down to this: I like to go to new places and see what’s interesting about them. One of the draws of travel is getting to taste the local food and I have often felt like there is frequently less distinction than there used to be. Can sushi  really be a special treat if you can eat it in Muncie, Indianna? Wouldn’t a beer made from ingredients that are as exclusively local to Muncie as you can get be more interesting than one made just using the exact same stuff they use for Guinness?

So when people come along and say: I’m going to make things with the stuff we have here, that gets my attention because there might be something remarkably different about it. This may not always be good…but at least it won’t be the same.


So as I prepared to head out for the evening, I had this very short conversation with myself.

“OK: are you ready to go out and see someplace new?”

“I’m tired and I hate people.”

Now I realize that I have obligations to my readers. I do take this seriously, however I believe that taking this seriously also means that when I go to a joint, I give it a fair shake. Pubs are social places so I don’t want to go into them hating people. I also would like to make a decent first impression. I’m the new kid! Why go in grumpy? When you are five, people will cut you some slack. When you are forty, it’s just considered a dick move.

Which means that I’m staying home and drinking sake. I’ll have it together next week.

Glass Experiment: Ft. George 1811

In some ways, I’m really glad I had this experience. I just want to say that up front.

Because neither of us liked this beer.

The schooner had a better nose than the mug, which was a  surprise, given previous beers. I got a hint of something lemony. But the mug: nope. Just bitterness at the end. Difference is in the feel of the glass. The beers don’t change much, but the schooner is more comfy in hand.

Because what it’s boiling down to is simple: the Ft George 1811 lager is too bitter. It’s overwhelming. The girlfriend agrees.

Moving on to the next set: Pint keeps better head, and we notice more of a sulfurous funk. I got a touch of malt from the pint and later some corn in the nose but again, the bitterness is taking over the other flavors in this beer, and any other kind of finish is obliterated.

She doesn’t like the snifter because it doesn’t let her take a solid gulp. That glass is meant for sipping and lagers should have swigs taken from them. Snifter gives me more of a hint of corn on the nose but it dissipates too quickly to provide anything else.

Her; a cold mug (in Summer this might work), schooner, pint, snifter.
Me: schooner, mug-pint(tie) snifter.

So now we sit down and try to work it out. The truth is, we don’t like this beer much. Sulfur on the back end, funk in the nose, it smells like cheap beer from our youth, the stuff our fathers used to drink when they bought cheap crap. It tastes bad, its bitterness making it challenging to drink and frankly, I feel ripped off as these four cans cost me over nine bucks. It is not a product that justifies it’s high price tag.

Which is just so strange. I really want to try the stout. I’ve had Ft. George’s Vortex IPA and liked it quite a bit! But this lager is unpleasant to drink and costs too much. No glass is going to fix this problem.