Party Tip: “Beer Advocacy” Station

In recent weeks I’ve had a couple of shindigs and decided that instead of trying to do a proper tasting in the midst of a party I would set up a self service Beer Advocacy Station. I don’t know enough myself to sit and lecture people on brewing to style, original gravity, or other such subjects, but I do want to get people drinking better beer.

I put out a handful of bottles in bowls of ice, put up a sign with descriptions that I culled either from BeerAdvocate or the brewers’ sites, and an array of small sampling glasses. I opened one bottle to start with that I poured out for myself and let the curiosity of my guests do the rest. It was very interesting to see what bottles emptied and what ones wouldn’t budge, all with very little input from me.

It only took an extra half hour in the overall scheme of party prep. For me this wasn’t too hard because I already had all of the beers I put out down in my cellar. If you do something like this and need to buy the day of keep the bottle count to 6 to 8 bottles – a mix of bombers and 12oz. That should keep the cost to somewhere between $30-$50 depending on how fancy you want to get. If you go with a “locals only” feel you could probably get away under $30. In the end given the amount of halfway decent beer leftover in my fridge from the guests it ends up in a break even situation.

Night #1 Offerings:
Nøgne Ø Brown Ale
Kasteel Tripel
Tröegs Tröegenator Double Bock
Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
Saint Botolph’s Town
Wittekerke
Stone Vertical Epic 08.08.08

Night #2 Offerings:
Mayflower Porter
Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence
Saint Botolph’s Town
Stone Vertical Epic 08.08.08
La Fin Du Monde
Ephemere
Wittekerke
Southampton Abbot 12

Biggest Hits:
Kasteel Tripel– Everybody commented on its champagne-like quality.
Saint Botolph’s Town– Liked the mild sweet earthiness.
Stone 12th Anniv.– Much love for the richness & earthy cocoa.
Mayflower Porter– One guy called it the perfect beer.

This was a fun little experiment that allowed for some interesting conversation from people who were already beer converts and for those who drink Sam Adams when they want something good, but generally don’t think much about beer and didn’t expect something like chocolate in beer.

If you’ve got the time and the beer give this a shot at your next party and see what happens.

Cheers! -John

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Belgian Beer In A Can? That’s Unpossible!

Wittekerke Wit Biere (5% ABV can)- Witbier- Brouwerij Bavik, BEL
Grade: B

Cantastic!

Cantastic!

The aluminum can unfortunately suffers from guilt by association given it’s long and less than glorious relationship with mass-produced beers. Luckily, solid craft beer offerings are appearing more frequently in cans helping to clean up the image of the much maligned metallic vessel. Wittekerke, a Belgian wit, is a good place to start an exploration of good beer in a can.

Wittekerke from the first pour looks like a wit should: a sunny yellow, hazy with yeast, and topped with a pillowy white head. It’s so inviting it almost glows -though that could just be the fluorescent lights. The only minus is the occasional chunk of sediment that floats by, but with wheat beers that comes with the territory.

The scent is light with some sour wheat and a bit of citrus peaking out. But generally there’s not a whole lot to speak of in the nose. The taste sticks with the subtlety, but the citrus that was hinted at really comes out here. It’s a sweet/sour tangerine that is far more prominent than you find in most other wits. While pronounced it’s not artificial which keeps Wittekerke light tasting. Add in a some zippy carbonation and a dry easy finish and you’ve got a refreshing little beer.

Wittekerke is nice, nothing over the top, just a simple citrusy brew. I envision this as a sunny afternoon porch sipping beer or even -dare I say it- a brunch beer. If you are a wit fan, give it a try. If you’ve had Bruexelles Blanche, Wittekerke is very similar and a bit of a bargain with a 6-pack of Wittekerke cans running about the same as a 4-pack of Bruexelles bottles.

Cheers!
-John