A Brief Guide to Enjoying Beer

Anyone can drink a beer and enjoy it. It takes a special person to do it at a high-level. High-level you say? Yes. A black belt level. I might not be able to drink 20 beers or know the difference between every hops variety and yeast strain, but I can enjoy it just as much as any Master Cicerone and so can you. Here’s how.

Glass with Short on Beer etched

A Brief Guide to Enjoying Beer

Step 1: Go to store and pick up beer.

Pick one you know you like or one you haven’t tried. Don’t grab the front 6-pack if possible. Get one from the back – it is better protected from light.

Step 2: Store the beer.

If you’re not drinking it immediately put it somewhere out of direct light and that has a stable temperature like a pantry or cabinet not a garage or out on the kitchen counter.

Step 3: Chill the beer.

Put the beer in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours. If it should be served at a warmer temperature, i.e. Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, chill for less time or let the bottle warm back up on the counter to its proper serving temperature. I let most of my beer rest outside of the fridge for a few minutes so I’m drinking around 45-50 degrees instead of 35-40 degrees which you’ll get when you pull them right out. Do some research. Here’s a serving temperature guide from RateBeer.

Step 4: Find a friend.

This step is optional but my favorite. Beer is meant to be shared. It’s in our blood. Humans have gathering around the fire to share drinks, talk and have fun for thousands of years. Fire is optional as well.

Step 5: Select a glass.

Find the proper glass for your beer. You can use your standard false pint glass if you want but please, pour it into a glass unless otherwise noted, e.g. Heady Topper. It’s hard to appreciate something you can’t see and last I tried it’s pretty difficult to see my beer behind a giant label and brown glass. It’s easier to smell a beer from a glass rather than a bottle or can too.

Step 6: Rinse glass under cold water.

Make sure your glass is beer clean then give it a quick rinse under cold water. Dry the outside of the glass with a clean towel. There’s no dire need dry the inside. Beer is 90%+ water anyway. Give it a couple aggressive shakes into the sink to rid the excess water. Just don’t smash your glass on the countertop. I haven’t done that yet but one day I’m sure I will. Check out page 4 of the Cicerone Certified Beer Server Exam Syllabus for more information on beer clean glassware.

Hey, have you checked out my study guides for the Cicerone Certified Beer Server Exam?

Step 7: Open bottle with your favorite opener.

You must use your favorite opener. This is important. It’s good for morale. I bet there’s a story behind why it’s your favorite too.

My favorite opener

My favorite opener

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TWIB – Wine Bars and The Container Store

Parallel Wine Bistro

After a grueling workweek that included a 15+ hour post production marathon on Thursday, there was nothing more I wanted to do than unwind on Friday night. Mrs. Short On Beer and I met some friends up at Parallel Wine Bistro for dinner and drinks. Parallel has a large and regularly rotating craft beer bottle list despite being a wine bar. The beer prices mostly range from $6-8 and most are $2 off during their Happy Hour from 4:00-7:00PM.

One of the perks of knowing the bartender is getting the handwritten list of new beers not listed on the menu that even the servers didn’t know about (thanks, Liz!). The first beer I had was off this secret menu — Great Divide Rumble. Rumble is an oak-aged IPA. The oakiness took out most of the bitterness from the hops. This was quite interesting for an IPA. It was a good choice to go with the Brie and Manchego cheese plate.

I went back to the basics for my next beer with a Stone Pale Ale while I enjoyed my bistro burger and duck fat fries.

Seeing “duck” on the menu made me crave a Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout. Parallel does have it but I had a couple still stashed at home so I went with a Port City Porter since it had been awhile since I had had any Port City beers. They make some amazing beers…Optimal Wit, Monumental IPA, Downright Pilsner to name a few. Their porter doesn’t disappoint either. It’s perfect for dessert and gets better as it warms.

The last thing about Friday night I want to mention — here’s a shout out to CJ, our server, who will hopefully be a new Short On Beer reader.

The Container Store

The start of 2014 has me trying to organize everything. It’s not like it wasn’t organized before but I feel like it could be done better. So in the past week I’ve been to the Container Store more times than you probably have been your entire life. I’ll admit it, I kinda like the store. It’s way better than navigating through a crowded Bed Bath and Beyond or a HomeGoods. Don’t tell my wife.

Pre-reorganization had my beers on the floor of the pantry shoved all the way in the back on top of flattened empty 6-pack holders. I just can’t seem to throw away those holders just yet. A few beers would regularly get lost or forgotten about. On the plus side I found a Hardywood Bourbon Sidamo that I’ve been accidently aging for 5+ months. But as I reorganize I want the beers off the floor and in ideal grabbing placement. I am also without a dedicated beer fridge. Go ahead and subtract 3 beer blogger points from my score. So I’m constantly fighting for room in the main fridge for my beers.

I seem to keep 8+ beers at all times in the fridge even though I won’t go through them all that quickly. I need a variety… a couple stouts for after dinner, a couple IPAs for weekends, an ale for guests, a couple Belgians for dinner, and a couple randoms I didn’t like (right now it’s New Belgium Giddy Up) and I can’t seem to get rid of and don’t want to drink.

New Pantry Beer Storage Space

New Pantry Beer Storage Space

Give me some advice. How is your beer storage system setup? How much room do you take up in the main fridge? How many of what do you keep in there? Leave your advice in the comments section below.

That’s it for this week’s This Week in Beer. Make sure to sign up to receive email updates for new posts by entering your email address at the bottom of the page so you never miss anything!