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While reviewing a copy of a new book I was sent called The Beer Trials, I noticed that they scored their beers from 1 to 10.  If it wasn’t obvious, 1 is the lowest score a beer could get and 10 is the highest.

Grading systems like this can certainly have their advantages and disadvantages, one thing it certainly provides is an easy to understand system of whether they think a beer is good or bad.  The most interesting thing about the ratings in the Beer Trials is that there isn’t a single grade below 3 or above 9.

I’m not going to dwell on the low end of the scale as we’ve all certainly had beers that could be rated with negative numbers.  Instead I was fascinated by the fact there wasn’t a single perfect beer out of 250 reviews.

Part of this is because they had multiple people provide reviews of a single beer at one time.  So, even if one person give the beer a 10, another people could just give it an 8 and now we’re left with an average of 9.  But it’s still quite interesting to see that a perfect beer didn’t exist within the book.

Maybe the other part of the problem is that part of having a perfect beer is often the experience.  It’s amazing to think how much environment and company can provide to having what can amount to “beer utopia.”  I refuse to think there doesn’t exist a perfect 10.

What are some of your perfect 10 beers?

beer-1087_1280x960.jpgLet’s face it, we’re doing really well in the St. Louis area right now.  We probably have more choices of beer than we’ve ever had.  As consumers, this is an awesome time to be drinking beer.

But are we reaching a point where it’s just too much?  Can we as a craft beer drinking community sustain this level of product choice?  My guess is no.

At last count over 900 different beers are available in the St. Louis area and as newer and for some people, more exciting, things become available sometimes the old favorites get moved to the side. Retailers, bars and restaurants only have so much space.

So what happens then?  What will we begin to disappear from our shelves?  What do you find yourself drinking less of and what wouldn’t you miss?

IMG_8891I received two press releases this week from breweries that announced that in the near future we would no longer be seeing their beers with twist off bottlecaps and would be moving to a pry off bottlecap.

It got me to thinking, does it really matter that much?  I mean, the obvious benefit of the pry off is that they can be reused for homebrewing.  There is even talk that pry off caps provide more of a barrier against oxygen.

But according to Steve Harrison, vice president of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, in the tests they’ve done “they found a slight difference, but not enough to have a significant effect on the beer.”

One of the other big benefits for pry offs is that the equipment is cheaper for craft brewers to purchase, and with the price of beer nowadays, cheaper equipment is always better for the overall cost of beer.

Ask a group of beer nerds for a bottle opener and I’m sure they’re going to produce three or four openers so fast it’ll make your head spin.  But what if you forgot your opener that day?  How then do you open your bottle?

Then there are twist off caps.  Their biggest benefit is that they can be opened at any time without an opener.  But do twist off caps hurt the image for a craft beer?

What are your thoughts?

beer 1338_1280x960.jpgI’ll be attending the Great Taste of the Midwest this weekend, which got me to thinking, what are some of your favorite beer festivals?

I can easily say that Great Taste is my favorite beer festival (of all the festivals I’ve been to) but I’ve also sang the praises of two local festivals as well.  For St. Louis beer festivals, I don’t think you can beat the Augusta Bottoms Beer Festival and Schlafly’s Hop in the City.

I think my enjoyment of those two festivals stems from the fact they’re both held in late summer when the temperatures have begun to drop a bit and you don’t feel like you’re going to die being in the sun all day drinking beer.

So, what are your favorite festivals?

beerpresidentWell, you’ve gone and done it.  You drunkenly tripped, fell and knocked over a police officer who also happened to be the President’s brother.  You said some things, he said some things and now it’s turned into a national scandal.

In the spirit of hope and a good photo op, the President has invited you to the White House to share a beer and work things out.  Now the press in your face, wondering what beer you want to drink.  What do you pick?

You have two routes you can go down.  One, the beer snob route, is to pick something that’s just awesome.  Washington DC has some awesome beers available that aren’t distributed here in St. Louis.  You could go for some Brooklyn, Russian River, Smuttynose, Stone, or some Southhampton.

Think about cracking open a Russian River Supplication as you explain that the whole problem was merely a sitcom-esque misunderstanding.

Or, the other route you could go is to walk into the Oval Office with two cases of Stag under both arms and then proceed to shotgun beers with the most powerful man in the world.  You could then crank call some world leaders!  But just be certain to stay away from any red buttons.

So, what do you want to drink with the Prez?

itap.jpgHow does it pay to read STL Hops?  I’ll tell you, how, by receiving a 15% discount at the International Tap House every Saturday between 11AM-5PM.  Beginning this Saturday, July 18th, iTAP will begin holding open forums for true beer enthusiasts to not only quaff some some their favorite beers, but to have an open discussion about all things beer.

iTAP bartender Ashleigh Arnold (beerwench on the STL Hops Forums) promises that there will be lively discussions every Saturday with topics including pairing, comparisons and even brewing tips.  Sounds like not only a place to quench your thirst for beer, but also your thirst for knowledge.

Maybe this is a self-serving discussion, but hey, it’s my blog!  After what went down yesterday, I’ve had a few people suggest that I should break into the beer business.

The question is how and where? I’ve had a ton of people inquiring about how to work at one of the local breweries and my suggestion is, that you need to be persistent (but not annoying.)  You need to keep talking to the brewers, owners, managers, etc.  Let them know that you’re interested.

But what if you’re interested in beer, but not interested in being a brewer?  While the local craft beer business is big to us, it’s really a drop in the bucket compared to the beer business as a whole.  There aren’t a ton of opportunities that are just jumping out at people.

So, I’m thowing this question out to the local pros.  What would you suggest for the beer enthusiast to do to break into the biz?