The Weekly Banjo #10: “I Don’t Like Dark Beer.”

Boy, do I hear this one often.  “I don’t like dark beers.  They’re too _____”, with the blank most often filled with the words, “bitter”, “smoky”, or, “overwhelming”.

This is not an intimidation tactic, nor is this intimidating.

Besides the tradtional Czech lager and its descendants in America and Germany, there is no greater or more palatable beer than a delicious stout or porter–especially during the cold seasons.  Most people attribute the strength of taste in a stout-style beer to its name: “It’s stout, right, it’s strong because it says so!”

Wrong.  And you are suffering as a drinker for it.  Most stouts are an ace more sophisticated than an average American Lager, that is true. Dark malts and specialty grains do that to a beer.  Sophistication, however, is not the same as effusiveness, which admittedly does turn a lot of drinkers off.  Here’s a rule of thumb for you when you are looking to branch out from your tested favorite:  avoid the word, “Imperial”.  Imperial stouts have a regal name, and are brewed to be a royal challenge to a drinker.  Seasoned beer athletes will regularly challenge themselves to face down these mighty beasts, and successful drinkers will often prove their mettle by facing down these gargantuans.

Although it is one of the most ubiquitous beers in the world, Guinness Dry Irish Stout may be your best bet for cracking into a new style.  It is light (sic), cheerful, and delicious with a small snack–say, buttered bread.  Pairings and your setting help quite a bit in making your beer drinking escapades more enjoyable and successful, so consider it your daily gift, and let us re-convene after this weekend to talk more about the Mise and how it can help you enjoy beer even more.

Unapologetically awesome.

Drink successfully.


2 responses to “The Weekly Banjo #10: “I Don’t Like Dark Beer.”

  1. I’m so with you both the a) misperception of dark beers, and b) the excessive aggressiveness of Imperials.

    I tell my employees that the reader should not have to work to read their reports. Likewise, a drinker shouldn’t have to struggle with the drink. While palettes are different, it seems to me that some beers exist for the same reason as the electoral college lives on: because they can.

    Does that make sense? Do I care?

    For me, there’s a (to adopt your phrase) successful drinker element here. You have to know what you like, but you also have to accept that you haven’t tasted it all. Most people don’t know their own palettes. For me, I believe my dream woman will a) love the outdoors, b) be sporting a well-worn Sub Pop Records t-shirt, and c) enjoy dark beers.

  2. Happy Bday, my friend!

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