How to Spot A Beer Snob

 - According to recent statistics, an increasing number of people in the United States have been diagnosed with a condition known as “Beer Snobbism”. Those identified as having this condition often complain that the flavor of common American brewed beers is like the taste of water – or worse. The unfortunate victims of this condition must obtain greater degrees of beer flavor and enjoyment from small craft breweries or other countries – often at greater cost.

Dear reader, does this describe you? If so, you may be a Beer Snob.  The symptoms below will help to you identify the warning signs.

Symptom 1 – When you hear Sarah Palin speak of “Joe Six Pack”, you only want to know to which brand of beer she refers.
Symptom 2 – When describing a beer drinking experience, you’ve actually uttered the word “mouthfeel”.
Symptom 3 – You roll your eyes and get frustrated if someone cannot name the basic ingredients of beer from memory.
Symptom 4 – You know what mead is and, furthermore, you’ve consumed it more than once.
Symptom 5 – The extent of your knowledge of the German language is limited to one word – “Reinheitsgebot“.
Symptom 6 – “Zymurgy” is the only word that comes to your mind when you try and list words that starts with the letter “Z”.
Symptom 7 – You don’t note the passing of the seasons with a calendar or the weather, but by the seasonal specialty beers that are available from the Boston Beer Company, makers of Samuel Adams beers.
Symptom 8 – You cannot even imagine drinking a beer from a bottle much less – horror or horrors – a can.
Symptom 9 – You actually get a little hot under the collar if someone calls a beer a “brewskie”.

Dear friend, if you have exhibited one or more of the traits described above, I’m very sorry to tell you – you are indeed a Beer Snob. Do not despair. All is not lost.  Help and hope is available. See our tips and warnings below for assistance.

Tips & Warnings

  • 4 out of 5 beer drinking professionals agree that this condition is nearly impossible to reverse.
  • Seek support and treatment from a Beer of the Month Club, a local brew pub or a home brewing association.
  • As always, drink responsibly. Beer snobs know that good beer drinking is about quality, not quantity.
  • “Friends” may try to “help” treat your condition by offering you remedies that go by the street names “MGD”, “Pabst”, “Bud” and the particularly hideous “Black Label”. Do not succumb to such pressure. Your condition will only worsen.
  • If you are not a beer snob, be sensitive to those that are. A more politically correct description for victims of this condition is “Beer Connoisseur”.

Sam Adams Latitude 48 Deconstructed and Sierra Nevada Beer Camp

I was just telling a friend the other day how much fun it is to be a craft beer drinker these days.   Craft brewers are not only making awesome beers all over these United States, they are having fun doing it.  Case in point:  over the course of the last month, I have had the privilege of trying two “fun” 12 packs made available by The Boston Beer Company and Sierra Nevada Brewery. I happened upon both of them on the same day while wandering the aisles of my local Total Wine store.  Once confronted with these choices, I had to make a tough decision: Sierra Nevada Beer Camp or Samuel Adams Latitude 48 Deconstructed? I choose the former first, and was not disappointed.

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp is a collection of 4 winning beers born out of an annual Beer Camp home brewer event held by  Sierra Nevada.  The 4 styles contained therein were:  Double IPA , WeizenbockJuniper Black Ale and another called California Common.  Of the 4, I enjoyed the Double IPA the most.  What can I say?  I’m a hops kinda guy! I liked the California Common the least.  Honestly though, none of the beers in the box  were slackers.  They could go toe-to-toe with many a modern craft beer and hold their own.   Your tastes may vary.

After polishing off the Beer Camp 12 pack (no, not on the same day!), I headed back over to Total Wine to grab that Latitude 48 Deconstructed that I had left behind.  While Sam Adams Boston Lager still holds a special place in my heart, I’ve also come to appreciate their Latitude 48 offering of late.  This beer, if you haven’t tried it, is an IPA made with 5 different kinds of hops – Hallertau Mittelfruh, East Kent Goldings, Ahtanum, Simcoe and Zeus.

Samuel Adams Latitude 48 Deconstructed

Samuel Adams Latitude 48 Deconstructed

The “Deconstructed” 12 pack, on the other hand, consists of 5 different takes on Latitude 48, each version made with only 1 of the hops varieties mentioned above.  They also threw in 2 of the “normal” Latitude 48 bottles as a bonus (it was probably easier than making a 10 pack).  Each was good in their own way, but in my book the Simcoe version took home the blue ribbon. Again, it’s the hops…

Have you tried either of these recent 12 pack offerings?  If so, what did you think?

Sierra 30 – Celebrating Sierra Nevada’s 30 Year Anniversary

Sierra 30

The folks at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company are celebrating their 30th Anniversary. To commemorate this event they are brewing four special beers this year with the help of some of the key players in the history of craft brewing in America, including Charlie Papazian, Fritz Maytag (founder, Anchor Brewing Company) and Ken Grossman (founder, Sierra Nevada). The first beer, Fritz and Ken’s Ale, has been produced and will be available in mid-March of 2010. They’ve also created a special web site that is worth checking out. You can find it here.

Overview from the Sierra 30 site:

“Sierra Nevada’s 30th anniversary is a celebration, a way to give back, and a thank you to those that helped us along the way. These four unique beers were brewed with the founders of the craft-brewing movement, the pioneers that transformed America into the most exciting brewing nation in the world. A portion of proceeds from this special project will help ensure that excitement for the future.”

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Stone Levitation Ale

Stone Levitation Ale - Stone Brewing Company

Stone Levitation Ale

Searching for a great beer tasting beer with low alcohol?  Look no further than Stone Levitation Ale produced by The Stone Brewing Company.  This is a beer with an odd name and big flavor.  After trying this one out, the name starts to make sense.  This beer truly “rises above” many others.


As I poured this ale into my glass, I observed – besides the creepy, semi-naked male gargoyle on the bottle staring back at me – this beer’s attractive chestnut brown color and medium, foamy head. Once poured, I breathed in and enjoyed this beer’s very distinct fragrance, which I would describe as hoppy and like the scent of apricots.

The first taste was incredible.  This beer had more flavor than I expected.  Somewhat bitter, very hoppy, a good bitter finish and a bit flowery.  This beer also has a somewhat watery mouthfeel, but that did not detract from the overall experience.  In fact, made it seem very light.  I also appreciated that this Ale has a compartively low alcohol content of only 4.4%.

That’s my review folks – short and sweet.  I really enjoyed Stone’s Levitation Ale.  It’s a great beer and I recommend it highly to you.  Happy Valentine’s Day.      BBB Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars.

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

How can you not be predisposed to like any beer that comes from a brewery named Dogfish Head, right? But I digress…

Palo Santo Marron

After reading some great reviews about their Palo Santo Marron beer, I wanted to give it a try.  Earlier this week I purchased a single bottle to enjoy after another fun day at work.  I was not disappointed for having done so.  The first thing I noticed was that this beer had a scent reminiscent of raisins.  It also reminded me of something else, but I still can’t put my finger on it. Don’t you hate that? Another tasting may help me get a handle on this dilemma.

Anyway, the beer itself is also a bit raisin-like in color as well as flavor.  Upon visual inspection, this beer draws you in with its deep, rich and dark color.  The foamy head had a nice carmelly (is that a word?), light, brown color which also exhibited some beautiful lacing as I imbibed.  The flavor had a pleasant, and somewhat smoky aspect in addition to a very nice and subtle raisiny sweetness.  This beer was not at all bitter – which I generally like in a beer – but I didn’t miss or crave that in this one.    In sum, this amateur beer blogger enjoyed Dogfish Head’s Palo Santo Marron and recommends it highly to all 3 of my readers. Go out and try a Palo Santo Marron soon.

Note of caution: I recommend that you responsibly enjoy this one with a meal, since this ain’t your average brew. The alcohol content is 12%. (For those of you who are wondering, the average by volume for a regular beer is around 5%.

BBB Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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Beer Wars DVD Release

Beer Wars DVD

Interested to learn how some of your favorite independent beer brewers compete against the big name breweries? If so, you may be interested in the soon-to-be-released DVD documentary “Beer Wars” from director Anat Baron. This DVD will be released on Tuesday, February 2, 2010. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this one for a while. It’s now at the top of my Netflix queue.

This film features Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head), Rhonda Kallman (co-founder of Boston Beer Company), Greg Koch (Stone Brewing Company), the legendary Charlie Papazian, author of “The Complete Joy of Home Brewing“.  Would love to get your thoughts on this DVD.