Do you remember when drinking beer used to be easy? You were a young adult…okay, let’s be truthful here. You were maybe, just a wee bit, underage. Your idea of a “good beer” was one that was cheap and would give you a fast buzz. The whole idea was to get “trashed.” Such escapades made for great stories! The party at the old grist mill in the woods…the time you lay on your bed with one foot on the floor, trying to stop the room from spinning…or the day you laid down in the shower, sobering up, in an attempt to make it to your parents’ 25th Anniversary Party.
Michael Jackson’s The New World Guide to Beer published in 1988, documented that there were ”fewer than 40 brewing companies on the eve of the 1980s.” Thanks to Jackson and his dedication to the United States beer community, that number has increased to nearly 1,500 today. His impact throughout the world has been enormous as well, infusing new life into the Belgian brewing market and raising interest in other distinctive world styles through his books, films, and countless articles in mainstream and trade publications.
With thousands of beers currently available to the average consumer, beer drinking is no longer simple. It can be as intimidating to the average jock as it is to a woman who may want to impress her date. Beer was always the “drink of the people,” but it seems to have moved into a larger league. Without a dedication to education in brewing, how is a busy person to catch up with the explosion of delight that has occurred? You don’t want to appear stupid, but want to get a handle on this fast moving machine in your own way.
Do it the easy way!
The Beer Journal, designed and written by Chris Wright of Monument, Colorado, USA, has been engineered as a well-thought-out tool for your streamlined journey into this new world of craft beer. With the blessing of the Beer Judge Certification Program, he has printed the BJCP 2004 Style Guidelines in a concise format for easy reference while you are enjoying each beer style. He discusses glassware, pouring, festivals, cellaring, serving temperatures, brewery tours, and beer & food pairings in elementary terms, while providing pages for your own “captain’s log” along the way. More than 80 pages are provided for beer entries. He also provides organized pages for chronicles of your knowledge sources (websites and books that YOU find are personally helpful), festivals attended, and tours at breweries throughout the country or the world. When you are ready to create your own personal beer cellar, you can use the log provided to keep track of your vintage beers, as well as the differences in flavor as you uncork them over the years. Cigar aficionados and wine enthusiasts no longer possess sole ownership of the market when it comes to controlled-aging.
With the Great American Beer Festival on the horizon (October 11-13, 2007), The Beer Journal is the one to grab in time for the festival. Time is running short, so you may not get your copy in time. However, if attending the festival opens your eyes to the wonders of beer, The Beer Journal will supplement your excitement. When you read your entries even two weeks later, you will be amazed at your own insightful comments. Anyone who is used to the joys of gourmet spices while cooking will find echoes of these aromatic flavors in the beer they drink. It is fun to discover your own ability to analyze beer, while enjoying the moment. Remember to describe that moment and the associated surroundings - the subdued lighting in the bar, his after-shave mixing with your impression, the memories of your dad at the ball field. It all adds to the aura.
You will grow to understand that beer can have flavors of apricots, grapefruit, cotton candy, oatmeal, ash, barnyard, raspberries, orange, coriander, juniper and more. Even aromas of “leather” may become erotically pleasant as you grow into these styles.
Remember that some beers are easy to drink, while others are more complex. Those that are easy to drink may be one-dimensional, and you may tire of them quickly. Compare it to the art of making love. As your experience expands and your dedication becomes more committed, you continue to explore every nuance that increases the pleasure. Some experiences will fall flat, while others will become legendary. With The Beer Journal, you will have a documented log of those that titillate, those that infuriate, and those that seem unfamiliar. As your experience increases, you may revisit the ones you have spurned, finding them to be more satisfying as your own personal growth expands.
Chris Wright hit it “on the mark” with this little gem. His own love of beer was ignited in Germany in 1995, as he served in the U.S. Army and supplemented his life as a bartender at Shannon’s Irish Pub. In 1998, he received a homebrew kit as a gift from his wife, Judi. He is now an award-winning all-grain brewer who realized there was nothing on the market that would help the average-Joe keep track of what he has experienced in the world of beer. The Beer Journal is the insightful result of this realization – a supportive tool that will educate you easily and serve as a highly personal document as you broaden your horizons in the world of beer.
The Beer Journal is available in three bindings: spiral, perfect binding, or hard cover case wrap. For more information: The Beer Journal