New Belgium Dig

I fished around the house for something to drink tonight while I was writing and reading, but I didn’t want an Imperial ale or anything thick. I was also limited by what I currently had in the tiny beer fridge (the fridge is tiny, not the beer) so there wasn’t much to choose from. I’ve slowly been dipping in to the beers I have yet to review because I simply can’t resist. So far I have tried to stay away from a beer until I have the opportunity to review it as I taste it for the first time. I’ve been taking notes and pictures to post reviews later of beers I don’t take the time to write about yet. Dig is different because it drove me to write this tonight. I simply clicked “New Post” and started typing as I sipped. Here it is, disorganized and sincere, complete with a picture from my iPhone at the kitchen table:

Hoppy on the nose, awesome head retention. First sip: I am genuinely smiling. I’m a huge Ranger fan, but I can’t drink it every day for the sake of my palate. This has that clean hoppiness (hoppyness?) that I love about the Ranger IPA, but such a subtle finish that makes it damn refreshing (and palatable every day). If I swirl a bit I can taste a strong floral hop flavor, and not much malt. Something is toasted. Dig is related to Fat Tire in the mash tun.

Keep in mind that I don’t read any reviews or much description about a beer before I review it.

Such a perfect pale ale! At my table tonight I wish I had an overly warm spring day to complement this experience. It is such a joy to drink this beer. I think it would be a great idea to review this again on-camera. I can talk about this for twenty minutes. And no, New Belgium has not offered me anything for this glowing review. Not that I’d refuse a free glass, hat, shirt, or a parking space at the Asheville facility.

Clear skies, bright sun, light breeze. The time of year where the sun is warm but the air is still cool. The part of spring that’s perfect because the gnats have yet to make their appearance. Sitting on the deck out back, watching the kids play in the sprinklers. Hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. Friends and neighbors over, and all is well. This is the beer for that day. And that evening. At 5.6 ABV Dig is appropriate for multiple servings at social occasions.

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Dig is a seasonal spring ale, and soon it will be gone. Somersault is out by now, which tells me that I should have tried Dig before today. I was reluctant to get a 12-pack and waited until I found it in a sampler with Fat Tire, Ranger, and 1554. Let me tell you – it’s worth the 12-pack.

I don’t even know what to close with. It’s bedtime and I want another one. I want spring to stay. I want everything to remain bright and new, and everyone joyful and just out of the winter’s dim mood. I can dig that.

 

Beer Wars

I know I’m late to the game, but I just recently had the opportunity to watch Beer Wars, a documentary on how craft brewing is having such a hard time against the big three. One thing I learned watching the film was that I should do a blind taste test myself to determine the difference among Coors, Budweiser, and Miller. The folks in the documentary were 100% confused about what they were drinking, and I figure I need to have that little experience on my belt to explain to the public how shitty the corn/rice beer is.

Craft brewers produce something that is admittedly for a select market, but that doesn’t mean everyone else should go and piss off. We’re connoisseurs, not snobs. However, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a variety of beers where I live. When I go to a package store, I find it annoying that I don’t see much that I haven’t already had. My location severely limits my selection of craft beer and that bothers me most of the time.

The fact that mainstream media has a stronghold in the Southeast doesn’t help my case at all. Quite a few people believe what they hear other people say in front of them in the checkout line at Wal-Mart, and the major cable news stations are gospel. So when it comes to deciding on beer, that 64-calorie bullshit seems cool on the commercial…

If anyone had the chance and the desire to learn about the history of beer, they would certainly and quickly find out that until the 1800’s in the United States, beer wasn’t so light on color and taste. It was dark at times, murky, nutritious, and necessary for survival. The push to sell more and beat the competition led to the unfortunate majority of beer we have on the market today.

Still, the United States has the most diverse beer market in the world. With a reported 1,938 craft breweries in this country operating in 2011 (including brewpubs), we have a nearly endless selection across this land. I share my favorites with my readers all the time, and I get new favorites every month. I just discovered the Clown Shoes series of beers by Mercury Brewing Company, and the Muffin Top – a “Belgian Style Tripel India Pale Ale” – is exactly what it says. To me, anyway.

Back to my point, which is really just a call-t0-action: Learn about beer. The history, how it’s made, and the immeasurable variety of it that we have to choose from. Vote with your dollar. Craft beer is good for the economy, and I’m not going to elaborate on that point. To know your beer is to enjoy it. If you have any questions or need some pointers on where to begin your craft beer journey, just ask me.

Oh, and one last thing (I’m going to make this a point at the end of every podcast): enjoy your craft beer responsibly.

Cheers!