An Ode to Craft Beer
Special beer is one of my great loves, and this is not meant as a joke. You might even call it a hobby. After a long day of studying, closing it out with a delicious cold beer is of course wonderful. However, if this is a special beer, you’ve conquered me. To me, it doesn’t matter what kind. An IPA, Blond or a Bock, to me it all tastes good.
These days, you can find special beer almost everywhere. In the supermarket, the bar around the corner, or that hipster place down the street. Tip from me: if you are also a special beer fanatic, go visit De Pintelier. Nice place, big assortment and nowadays, they sell interesting special beer packages.
Where was I? Oh right, every time you turn around, you will see a new place where they sell special beers. Preferably with a nonchalant name such as “Auntie Ann”. Why? To keep everything as normal as possible. Decadent behaviour does not go well with beer. Let’s leave that to the prestigious wine experts who rather spit everything out in a bucket. Such a waste if you ask me.
The story behind (craft) beer
But where does special beer come from? And why is it so popular? Legally, there is no term that defines what special beer is. Popularly, special beer is seen as beer that tastes different from a normal beer. It appears that beer was consumed in the early days. In the Middle Ages, they consumed beer as if it was water. This was simply because the water was filthy and contained many bacteria that caused people to get ill. Of course you prefer a beer rather than having to run to your source in the ground all the time. Beer was, and is, therefore a very popular beverage.
And that was the point that more beer had to be brewed. Because consumption was so high, pubs and breweries arose. They all gave their own twist to the brewing process of the beer. Only after the industrial revolution, the brewing process got such mechanised that there was room to experiment. Enter: Special beer.
Where normal beer could be seen as bit of a vulgar beverage, special beer has a little bit more charm. Not to offend anyone, but to give an example of the way that beer could be seen as something lowbrow, click here. Like I said, special beer on the other hand is hip. People love the craftiness and modern pubs and cafés where they sell them. Local beer breweries arise from the ground one by one. And that is good fortune for a special beer lover like me.
Keeping tabs on the tap
The reason why special beer became a hobby of mine, is because of the app Untappd. Now you must be wondering, what on earth are you doing with that? The app technically gives you the opportunity to capture a special beer that you have been drinking by taking a picture, setting the location and giving it a grade. Next to the fact that you can add your location, you can also tag your friends in your so-called “Check-in” and you can deliver criticism on the beer. Now it is starting to sound like a sort of Instagram for beer, and actually it is. But trust me when I tell you that it can be very addictive. I have reached the point that I have to stand at least half an hour in front of the beer shelves in the supermarket, looking for a special beer that I haven’t had yet. Yes, I am one of those people.
Now I must also show what exactly my favourite special beers are. If I may be so free, I offer you the top five of my most beloved special beers and the given grade.
- Maredsous Tripel: 4.75 / 5 (Abbaye de Maredsous)
- Elvis Juice: 4.50 / 5 (BrewDog)
- Doerak: 4.50 / 5 (Van Moll)
- Blurred Lines: 4.50 / 5 (Jopen)
- Grand Prestige 4.25 / 5 (Hertog Jan)
And the least attractive beer in my opinion? Everything that does not contain alcohol. Not only is it almost just as expensive as special beer with alcohol, for some kind of reason it always tastes like Shandy. Therefore, do not touch it. To sum up, I breathe, drink and admire special beer. I recommend you download Untappd and also give my profile a visit!