Thursday, November 02, 2006

And Away We Go
The first thing I have to admit is that I have no idea what I'm doing.
It's not that I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to beer. I started raiding the mix-a-six microbrew aisle at the local liquor store at the same time that most of my college buddies were bragging about the merits of Busch Light. I've attended festivals and tasting sessions, home-brewed with my father and visited more brewpubs than I can count, all to grow my taste buds and appreciation for beer. I'm not a trained professional, but I feel confident that I can write a column about nature's greatest beverage.
What I have no idea about is how this blog thing works. I'm a newspaper reporter, and waking up and seeing my words in print the next morning is the only thing I know. I'm not quite sure how often you're supposed to blog or how I'm supposed to interact with the readers. Most of you who are reading this have read a lot more blogs than I have, I suppose.
So, let me propose this: If you're interested in beer, just come along with me, and we'll see if we can get a good conversation going.
I love beer in mostly all of its forms - dark, light, sour, stout, wheaty, hoppy (especially hoppy), Belgian, German, American. Just don't give me a Keystone or a Corona and everything's going to be all right.
I love talking about beer, getting recommendations on new brews to try and, as my wife and friends can tell you, giving my thoughts on what I try. I love hearing other people's thoughts and heading to out-of-the-way breweries and beer bars just to pick up something new. Combining your beer with an odd spice or aging oak barrell? My mug runneth over.
So let's talk beer . . .

For my first blog entry, I want to talk about New Belgium's Saison Harvest Ale.
Those of you who read my column in The Colorado Springs Gazette may remember that I took New Belgium Brewery to task this summer over its Skinny Dip beer (and caught a lot of grief about it from friends). My point was that Skinny Dip, despite advertisements that it was something more, was your standard bland summer creation and didn't match up to New Belgium's sterling inventory.
Saison is the beer that Skinny Dip wanted to be.
A farmhouse-style Belgian ale, Saison is both light and serious. It has the oomph of Belgian yeast combined with the light hopping of an ale. What the combination produces is a smooth mouthfeel with a slight citrus zing that leaves you with a strong floral aftertaste. It is the aftertaste, in fact, that seems to be Saison's signature. It lingers long and pleasantly and gives the wonderful cool that only a Belgian can give.
This, then, is the concoction Fort Collins' most famous brewery should have been marketing as something new and different this summer, the cooling, easily drinkable beer with something extra. Saison is a seasonal and, hence, is only likely to be around for another month or so. (It is the rare fall seasonal, after all, that does not have the taste of pumpkin in it.)
But for its classing brewing style - the brewery asserts that Beligan farmers used to serve it to workers at the end of the day - and innovative combination of tastes on you palate, I would recommend you grab this before the winter brews come out.
Thanks for reading.

I'd like to respond to your beer-with-your-turkey column today:
I love good beer.
I love good wine.
And all I can say is... are you nuts?

I'll take a nice red with my turkey over a stout every time.
Woooohoooo! Welcome to the wonderful world of CyberSpace, Ed! Been reading your column for a while now and never miss it! Sounds like you and I are like minded, although you know WAAAAAY more about the technical aspects of micros then I do. But I too am a beer snob. If it ain't micro, it ain't beer! ;)

Loved your recent column about micro's on Turkey Day. Gonna try some of those pairings this year. Thanks for the insight!
oops, forgot to mention... I actually liked Skinny Dip. not my fave mind you, but still decent enough to drink. If Saison is better, I'm ALL over it. Funny that, I was in my folks liquor store up here on the north side of town and saw that on the rack. Almost snagged it, but then saw the Sam Adam's Winter Classics 12-pack and grabbed that instead. LOVE Sam Adams' stuff.
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