Beer Styles and Beer Plans

Taking a little time from writing about writing (I’m always thinking about it), let’s talk about beer styles.  Now remember, the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) held competitions in 84 separate categories in 2013 and the Beer Judge Certification Program lists 80 different beer styles not counting mead or cider.  There are a lot of styles to choose from.

I plan on writing more about beer this coming year and I have been trying to think of what beer style I like the most.  Certainly, the style I’ve drank the most is the pale ale mostly of the American variety.  Every brewer, particularly every American craft brewer has a pale ale.  The India Pale Ale (IPA) variety has become the workhorse and flag bearer of the American craft beer movement.  This year alone the IPA category had 252 entrants in the GABF competition.

Yes, I like pale ales and IPAs in particular, but I don’t know if it’s my favorite.

Now, my favorite individual beer for a few years has been (was?) Sweet Josie Brown Ale from Lonerider Brewing Company in Raleigh.  I have also drunk a vat of Duck-Rabbit Brown Ale from Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery in Farmville, NC.  Those are both great beers and you I would have made the argument a couple of years ago that brown ales were my favorite style.  I’m not so sure.

Over the past two years I could have made the case for rye ales, porters, stouts, tripel, dubbel, abbey ales, Saison, beire de garde, and Scotch ale.  Currently, I’m in a big barley wine phase.

This is why I love beer.  The possibilities.  Some of those beer styles are similar and some of them have tastes that have very little in common.

So, here’s the thing.  I don’t want to have a favorite style.  Here is what I can do.  I can pick a style a month, and drink primarily beers from that style.  Try to explore the different ranges of expression in each brewer’s interpretation and find one that I really like.

Looking in my refrigerator right now, I have a 22 oz. quadrupel, a 22 oz. imperial stout, a marzen, an ESB (extra special bitter), a porter, a brown ale, and two IPAs.  All but the quad were brewed in North Carolina.  So, today I think I will go to my locally owned and operated beer establishment (Dragonfly Wine Market) and buy a six-pack of one style.  I’ll decide once I get there what style I’ll choose.

I’ve never been one to sit down at the end of the year and review my life and then set a plan for the following year.  Until now.  This beer writing is part of a larger plan of writing that will hopefully take me to the next phase of my life.  Be that in Cleveland County or elsewhere.  There are things I want to do and “there is a long way to go and short time to get there.”

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