Beer’s Secret BFFs

In some parts of the world, beer is drowning in cliches. You’ve probably heard many of them: beer should always be drunk ice cold; beer should never taste bitter; beer should invariably be served with pizza. Aside from being inaccurate, these platitudes harm beer’s image, forcing it into a 24-pack that’s way too small for it. So, to help beer ditch this cardboard prison, I’ve compiled a short list of its lesser known accomplices.

Glass
You should always drink beer from a glass, unless a glass is absolutely unavailable and you’re jonesing for that ale something’ fierce. Pouring a beer into a glass highlights its colors and aromas in ways that a can or bottle cannot. Some even believe that sipping from a glass instead of a can reduces the risk of metal turbidity. Best of all, glassware makes foam possible — which brings me to the next wonderful item on my list.

Head
Stop giggling. And I don’t care what the bartender at Applebee’s told you; a head of foam is a good thing. When served in a glass, beer should have at least a half-inch of head. Foam releases aromatic compounds and enhances the mouthfeel by lending extra creaminess, effervescence, etc., depending on the style. Finally, head just makes beer look better. First impressions matter, especially with stuff you’re about to put in your mouth.

The Stir
Although stirring is an activity usually associated with wine, your beer (now hopefully residing in a glass) will welcome it. How else are you supposed to keep that head going after the pour-foam has dissipated? To stir a beer, place your fingers at the base of the glass and, without lifting it from the table, move it gently in a circular motion. This will rile things up a bit and refresh the beer’s aromas. Just remember to do this sparingly, or you might use up all that lovely carbonation.

Water
“Water? I ain’t got bladder-room for that when beer’s on the menu!” A sound argument, but water may be beer’s bestest friend of all. First, beer is water, mostly. Water is a major component in brewing. When it comes to drinkin’ the beer, water impedes intoxication and replenishes the essential liquids that any diuretic (such as beer) saps from you. As if that weren’t enough, water also provides a perfect palate cleanser.

Dessert
No self-respecting beer lover would think to pair Coors Light with a slice of choco-chunk cake, but many brews will make your favorite desserts taste better by enhancing (or contrasting) the sweetness in chocolate, caramel, and fruit. Stouts in particular go well with chocolate-based desserts, but numerous other styles, including barleywines or porters, will also complement your meal’s end-game.

Runner Up: LONELINESS
Beer is often considered a social drink. How many times have you heard, “I’m gonna have a few beers with the boys”? But parties and other gatherings need not be beer’s only venue. You can enjoy a glass alone while dinner digests or share a sip with just your spouse. But remember to moderate your one-on-one time with beer (or any alcoholic beverage), or you might really end up lonely!

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  1. Ben says:

    this article cuts me to the core. i have drunk direct from can 3 days in a row. while bypassing the need for water. and not eating dessert. and, while it was usually amongst friends, it was without a special someone. i hate you, mr. miller.

    given all of that, i agree with everything you’ve said here.

    • Scott says:

      Haha, wow. It’s like I peeked into your life for inspiration without a care for who got hurt in the process!

      Rest assured, the items on my list don’t preclude all that other stuff. Not every beer should have a dessert escort, and I love drinking a few with friends. All is not lost, Ben.

  2. This was a great article. I laughed at the Applebees part. During Monday’s band practice Joel made us drink all our beers out of glass for the reasons you mentioned here. I need to start doing that on my own but laziness will ensue and I’ll probably just keep drinking out of the bottle.

    By the way, Dogfish Head 120 minute…UGH.

  3. fil says:

    And if that’s not enough, now this: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,579800,00.html
    “Study: Beer-Drinking May Reduce Risk of Prostate Cancer”

  4. Ben says:

    oh, good, because all these prostate medication commercials keep making me think i have prostate cancer. but now, finally, my alcoholism shall set me free!

    scott, the wing competition i enter is sponsored by sudwerk. have you ever tried their brews? if not, email me your address; i’ll see if i can get some of the guys i know to send you something.

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