I will always remember my first beer experience. I was in college at my friend’s apartment. My friends were all drinking beer and offered me one. And as they paired off, I suddenly found myself as the fifth wheel. So there I was, awkwardly sipping my first can of watered-down, tasteless beer. Instead of watching my friends make out with their boyfriends, I tried to kill time watching TV in my friend’s bedroom. It took me two hours to finish that can of beer. By that time, it was warm and every forced sip was immediately followed with a grimace. Needless to say, it made for a very anti-climatic first experience.
But I didn’t let that discourage me from trying beer again. I knew that beer is an acquired taste and I soon discovered that I enjoyed beer more when it had more flavor and wasn’t watered down. Craft beers peaked my interest because of their bold flavors and thus began my newfound appreciation for well-brewed beer.
By no means am I an expert with beers. I’m quite the opposite. I just really enjoy trying new craft beers, but I admit that I know very little about them. It’s been a long time dream of mine to start a blog about beer and wine as a way to actually start learning more about them and how to pair them with different recipes and meals that we share here on 1-2 Simple Cooking. So, if you’re in the same boat with me, where you don’t know much about them but want to learn, join me on my journey through this blog and we’ll learn together!
Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to encourage irresponsible drinking behavior. The purpose of this journey is to build an appreciation for beer, wine, and other libations through the exploration of the craft of brewing beer, winemaking, and distilling. The beers, wines, and liquors I’ll be exploring aren’t drinks to chug at some house party, but rather they’re meant to be responsibly enjoyed and appreciated, especially while in the company of good friends and good food.
So where to start?
I have a good friend, Ryan, who’s worked in the beer industry since we graduated from college. One of my favorite stories that he's told me about is the origins of the India Pale Ale, or IPA. The India Pale Ale, formerly known as “Pale Ale prepared for India,” was formulated to survive the long voyages from England to India. The beer brewers discovered that adding more hops to pale ales not only gave it more flavor, but it also helped keep the beer from spoiling.
Most of my friends, especially girl friends, aren’t fans of IPAs because they tend to be bitter and “too hoppy” for them. I think for me, once I got over the “bitterness,” it’s really about the boldness and strong flavors in the IPA that compliment the “bitterness” to create its unique taste. Watered down light beer is boring to me. But IPAs? Man, IPAs are definitely not boring.
My favorite IPA? Thus far, it’s been Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute Imperial IPA. I’ve yet to try their 120-minute IPA (it’s so hard to find!), but I think their 90-minute IPA is one of the smoothest, best tasting IPAs and it’s actually not as bitter as you would expect it to be. There is a slight sweetness in the beer that I think makes it such an enjoyable experience for the tastebuds.
The “90-minute” refers to the length of their continuous hopping process. For 90 minutes, they continuously add hops to the brew while it’s brewing. You can watch their short video about this beer here: http://youtu.be/a0lXC8m3tnA.
It’s a pretty potent beer with an alcohol content of 9.0% ABV (Alcohol By Volume). A quick Google search says that on average beer in the United States usually ranges between 4.2% to 5% ABV, so one pint of the 90-minute IPA is definitely enough for me.
Ooo! The the Dogfish Head website even displays interesting notes and tips about the beer: http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/year-round-brews/90-minute-ipa.htm
The brewery’s food pairing recommendations for this 90-minute IPA? Pork chops, beef, grilled fish, frites, focaccia, split pea soup, Stilton cheese & escargot. Nice! I will need to try this with our pan-seared steak recipe!
What are some of your favorite IPAs and what is your favorite food pairing with that beer?